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What are Omega-3 Eggs?

Hens that have flax in their diets produce eggs that are high in omega-3 fatty acids.
When eaten regularly, omega-3 eggs may offer some health benefits.
Fish oil supplements contain omega-3 fatty acids and can be great for those who do not enjoy eggs or seafood.
Omega-3 fatty acids are found in flax seed oil.
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  • Originally Written By: Sheri Cyprus
  • Revised By: G. Wiesen
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 30 October 2014
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Omega-3 eggs are produced by hens fed a diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which transfers into their eggs. Eating foods high in omega-3 fatty acids promotes overall good health and may help prevent cardiovascular disease. There is some controversy, however, over the effectiveness of these eggs, as they are still high in cholesterol, which may create more heart problems. They can be used in much the same way as any other egg, but they typically cost quite a bit more in stores.

How They Are Produced

Many farmers understand that the diet fed to hens has an impact on the nutritional content of their eggs. Hens that eat flax and similar plants high in omega-3 fatty acids lay eggs that have a higher content of those fatty acids within their yolks. This makes omega-3 eggs that have more nutritional value than regular eggs, though they are not necessarily entirely healthy.

Fatty Acid Contents

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Omega-3 eggs have three to six times the amount of omega-3 fatty acids as regular eggs. Yet, a serving of two such eggs still has less than half of the omega-3 fatty acids found in a 3 ounce (85 g) portion of salmon. For people who do not care for fish, or who choose not to eat it, omega-3 eggs offer an opportunity to get some fatty acids into their diet. Also, some people are allergic to fish and fish oils and cannot get omega-3 fatty acids into their bodies by ingesting these foods. Some liquid omega-3 egg products do contain fish oil to increase the amount of fatty acids in the product, which should be avoided by those with allergies.

Types of Fatty Acid

The type of omega-3 fatty acid found in many omega-3 eggs is Alpha Linolenic Acid (ALA), which is found in flax seeds and ends up in the egg yolks. Nuts and some oils such as canola, soybean and olive also contain ALA, while Eicosapentaenoic Acid (EPA) is the type of omega-3 fatty acid found in fish. There is some evidence to indicate that EPA may be more advantageous than ALA, making the higher content of it in fish more beneficial than that of eggs.

Rise in Popularity

Omega-3 eggs have become a popular product and helped revive the egg industry after the American Heart Association (AMA) found that eggs were high in cholesterol. Since omega-3 eggs are designed to help lower cholesterol, it provided a healthier option for egg lovers. They are often quite a bit more expensive than regular eggs, however, which may cause some people to avoid them.

Controversy

There is some debate over the health benefits of these eggs. The omega-3 within them is in the yolk, which is also the source of so much cholesterol within eggs. Even though they provide protein, a single egg has nearly an entire day's worth of cholesterol. While omega-3 eggs do offer some health benefits, they still have many of the same drawbacks as standard eggs. People on diets that restrict eggs or cholesterol should consult with a healthcare professional before altering their programs.

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Discuss this Article

anon960064
Post 10

The newest data show that saturated fat and dietary cholesterol are not bad for you. In fact, both are now considered good for you. The big boogey men now are carbohydrates. It's much better to consume saturated fat and cholesterol than to eat large amount of carbs. Most veg oils are also bad for you (too much omega 6 fatty acids which cause inflammation). Got to keep up with this stuff.

Eat eggs, eat meat, eat cheese, eat green leafy vegetables.

anon326254
Post 9

There are two types of cholesterol: HDL and LDL cholesterol. One is bad, the other is good. LDL is known as the 'bad cholesterol' while HDL is known as the 'good cholesterol'.

Look up G. Mutungi et al, 2008, "Dietary cholesterol from eggs increases plasma HDL cholesterol in overweight men consuming a carbohydrate-restricted diet." in the peer reviewed literature.

anon290947
Post 8

There is nothing wrong with cholesterol. Do some real research. You've been brainwashed to be afraid of fat and cholesterol. How is it that there is more obesity and diabetes than ever while people eat less fat and more carbs? The food pyramid is upside down!

Look into it. --Giorgio

toxophilite
Post 7

I understand omega 3 eggs lose the omega 3 benefit once the yolks are hardened; i.e., hard boiled eggs or overly fried eggs.

First: Can you confirm or dispute this statement?

Second: Are there any other limitations one needs to be aware of in order to maximize the benefits of omega 3 eggs?

anon131062
Post 6

@ anon63957: "counteract the amount of cholesterol and saturated fat in eggs.."

Read the recent scientific literature about saturated fats (and dietary cholesterol) and you will stop worrying about eggs, and start worrying about the lack of a scientific basis for warnings against them.

How bad has the advice been? Well, for example, substituting saturated fat for carbohydrates improves cardiovascular risk (!) -- the exact opposite of conventional wisdom. Look it up, pay attention to meta-analysis results (that is, studies of the cumulative results of other studies, with quality control).

anon119988
Post 5

Because the chickens eat an all vegetarian diet, consisting of feed containing: flax seed, wheat, corn and soybean meal, this modifies the fat in the yolk of the Born 3 Egg.

Yes, they are more expensive because the cost of production is higher. It's basically similar to buying just partially whole wheat bread for a few dollars or spending more money to buy the bread with the flax, whole grains, etc in it.

Since Omega-3 fatty acids help lower cholesterol it is an important part of your diet. That said, if you eat fish you are getting a higher source right there. But for people who are vegetarian, then this is a great way to get the important fatty acids in these eggs. Just some thoughts!

anon106069
Post 3

This fight between egg producers and the health of our nation is very confusing. Why are we trying to attack ourselves from within? Perhaps we should return to the farm life of yesterday and each family that can, should have their own garden and raise their own chickens.

Let's encourage those who have the opportunity, to go back to small farming, raising chickens, and planting corn.

Babalaas
Post 2

@ Anon63957- You make some really good points about the marketing of Omega-3 eggs. I don't buy those type of eggs, but then again, I don't buy eggs for their health benefits.

This does not mean that I am not fussy about my eggs. I buy my eggs from a farmers market so I can have fresh, free-range (real free-range) eggs. The eggs taste so much better when the farmer allows the chickens to eat all the bugs, seeds, and plants in his or her field.

For the health conscious, studies have shown that pasture raised chickens produce higher levels of omega-3, and vitamin E naturally. Buying eggs that come from pasture-raised chickens are about the healthiest type of egg you can get, but I simply buy them because they taste better. They are also a lot cheaper than the $4 a dozen omega-3 eggs.

anon63957
Post 1

There have been multiple complaints urging the FDA to crack down on various egg producers who market their eggs as "healthy" omega 3's. Among the complaints: quite often the eggs have been shown to have far less omega-3 than is advertised on the package (although even the advertised amount is extremely low.) Most of the added omega 3 content comes from feeding the chickens a flax diet. Omega 3 derived from flax is a different type of omega 3 (ALA) than that present in fish (EPA and DHA), and is regarded as being less beneficial. And in any case, the amount of omega 3 present is not nearly enough to counteract the amount of cholesterol and saturated fat in eggs.

Bottom line, "omega 3" eggs are basically regular eggs with a small amount of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) present. A consumer would get much better benefit for much less cost by simply taking flaxseed oil, (or alpha-linolenic acid, which is available in capsule form.) And certainly, no one on an egg-restricted diet should feel that they can increase their egg consumption because they're buying "healthy" omega 3 eggs.

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