Skip to main content

Vitamin D, Vitamin B12, and more: Egg nutrition, explained

Delicious and nutritious? Yes, please

Brown eggs in a carton
Nik / Unsplash

They say breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but your breakfast is only as good as the quality of foods you consume. Starting your day with a sugary breakfast like cereal can slow you down, causing brain fog and sluggishness. On the other hand, eggs are a wholesome breakfast food full of protein and nutrients that set you up to start the day right. There are dozens of ways to enjoy eggs, from egg Benedict recipes to hard-boiled eggs.

Each large egg contains six grams of protein, five grams of fat, and is jam-packed with nutrients such as Vitamin B12, Vitamin D, folate, and more. Sourced right from nature, an egg is considered “nature’s multi-vitamin” since one single egg contains so many essential nutrients for our health.

While this all sounds great, it’s important to understand what each of these nutrients really do within the body. Below, we’ll break down the important nutrients hidden in an egg and how each can benefit your health.

Hand holding cracked egg
ponce_photography / Pixabay

Eat the whole egg

Before diving into all the nutrients jam-packed within an egg, let’s start with the basics. An egg is made up of two parts: the egg white (outside) and the egg yolk (inside). Dietary advice in the 1960s once told people to consume only egg whites, avoiding the inner egg yolk due to its cholesterol content. However, this flawed advice ignores one crucial component — the yolk is the portion that houses all the amazing nutrients in an egg.

This dietary advice from the 1960s guided people for several decades, leading to an “egg white” craze. However, more research has since evolved, and scientists have learned something new. Consuming an egg yolk does not actually increase your blood cholesterol levels. Instead, your liver responds accordingly and produces less cholesterol when more dietary cholesterol is consumed.

What this means is that you don’t need to fear the egg yolk anymore. Instead of gravitating toward egg whites, eat the whole egg to get the maximum benefit from the protein, vitamins, and nutrients found within the egg. To take things even further, consuming more eggs might even be a “secret weapon” to support weight loss goals.

Scrambled eggs
Hamburger Helper / Flickr

Nutrients found in an egg

Now that you know how to consume the entire egg, we can dive into the amazing nutrients packed within a tiny yolk. According to the NIH, consuming just two eggs covers about 10 to 30% of your daily vitamin requirements. Here’s what nutrition you can find within an egg.

Vitamin D

The yolk of an egg is a great source of Vitamin D, containing about 37 IU within the average large egg. Experts suggest most adults get between 600 to 800 IU of Vitamin D daily, leaving many Americans deficient in this important vitamin. This important fat-soluble vitamin is responsible for many functions in the body, including the absorption of calcium for maintaining strong bones. In addition, getting enough Vitamin D also supports a healthy immune system.

In combination with other forms of Vitamin D such as supplementation and getting enough sunlight, consuming eggs can help you to achieve your daily Vitamin D requirements.

Folate

Folate is another important nutrient that is involved in protein metabolism and making DNA. In a large egg, there is about 22 mcg of folate, which equates to about 6% of the recommended daily value. This can help you to prevent a folate deficiency, which can lead to uncomfortable symptoms such as fatigue and weakness.

Vitamin B12

Vitamin B12 is used within the body to support healthy blood and nerve cells. In addition, it is used to support the production of DNA and support cell metabolism. With an estimated 6% of the population deficient in Vitamin B12, adding eggs to your breakfast can help you to prevent a Vitamin b12 deficiency. Each large egg contains about 0.6 µg of Vitamin B12 or about 25% of the recommended daily value.

Vitamin E

Eggs also contain a small amount of Vitamin E, a fat-soluble vitamin that acts as an antioxidant in the body. Vitamin E has tons of roles in the body, including supporting healthy eyes, blood, and brain and helping to prevent damage to cells. Getting enough Vitamin E is important to help fight damage from free radicals and help prevent blood clots from forming.

Choline

Our bodies rely on choline, a nutrient that helps support the brain and nervous system. Getting enough choline is important for your brain functions, such as memory and mood. Eggs are an amazing source of choline, containing about 54% of the daily recommended value of choline in a two-egg serving. Choline is also responsible for helping our muscles contract during use.

Vitamin B2

Vitamin B2, also called riboflavin, is also found within the yolk of an egg. Riboflavin helps support energy levels and cell growth, as well as support the breakdown of fats in the body. Adding eggs to your breakfast routine can help you prevent a B2 deficiency, as each medium egg contains about 0.25 mg of Vitamin B2.

basket of brown free-range eggs
Julian Schwarzenbach / Pexels

Adding eggs to your breakfast routine

The humble egg is clearly a nutrition bomb. Adding eggs to your breakfast routine can help you get a well-balanced dose of many essential vitamins and minerals to support health and wellness. Get creative and find new ways to add eggs to your breakfast meal without getting bored, changing it up from scrambled to deviled and everything in between.

Editors' Recommendations

Emily Caldwell
Emily is a full time freelance writer with a special focus on health, fitness, lifestyle, food, and nutrition topics. She…
These 14 foods will add essential vitamin K to your diet
Vitamin K is an important nutrient you could probably eat more of
Salad greens high in vitamin K

It's perhaps not the most talked-about or sexiest vitamin out there (we see you, vitamin C), but vitamin K is important nonetheless. You're probably already getting some through your regular diet but there's a good chance you could use a pinch more. But how? And why?

Because vitamin K serves the body well. The nutrient helps with coagulation when you're wounded, bone metabolism, and the vital functions of your heart and vessels. When you're not taking in enough of the stuff, bad things can happen, like bleeding disorders or cardiovascular issues.

Read more
Pistachios, mushrooms, eggs, and more: These foods high in melatonin may help you sleep better
Get a better sleep naturally with melatonin foods
Hands holding wine grapes

Getting a quality night's sleep becomes more and more of a challenge as we age. Some of us have tried blackout curtains, sleep masks, weighted blankets, or any number of supplements promising better rest. If you're looking for an all-natural solution, though, melatonin is the way to go. Melatonin is a hormone produced naturally in the pineal gland in the brain. Among several functions, melatonin plays a key role in regulating the body’s circadian rhythms, or sleep-wake cycles. Accordingly, the pineal gland produces more melatonin when the sun goes down, and levels dip at daybreak. Foods that are high in melatonin or even melatonin supplements are a popular way to increase the concentration of melatonin and possibly improve the quality and quantity of sleep.
Melatonin supplements are typically non-habit forming and safe for adults and children in doses of around 0.5 to 5 milligrams. However, melatonin supplements may cause drowsiness, nausea, and dizziness, and they can interfere with certain medications.

Foods for your grocery list to help with sleep
Fortunately, if you’re looking to support your body’s own natural melatonin levels but don’t want to rely on supplements, there are several sleep-aid foods that contain melatonin. Adding any of these foods high in melatonin to your dinner plate or bedtime snack routine may help regulate your sleep patterns over time and help you get more restful sleep. Though little nutritional data exists about the specific concentration of melatonin in different foods, the following foods are known to be particularly high in melatonin. Add these foods with melatonin to support your sleep schedule.

Read more
Romaine lettuce, iceberg lettuce, and more: Science says one is actually the healthiest choice
You can't really go wrong with any of them, to be honest
Man outside holding a cut head of lettuce

Embarking on a journey towards better health and weight loss often starts with the simplest advice: eat your greens. Yet, the world of lettuce is far from a uniform sea of foliage. It's a nuanced tapestry of nutritional variety, and not all lettuce varieties are created equal. 

Here, we'll decipher the science behind Romaine lettuce, Iceberg lettuce, and their leafy relatives, revealing the healthiest option. This article will help you make informed choices about your bowl of greens.

Read more