Eggs have gotten a bad wrap from the worlds of cardiology and nutrition. With the anti-cholesterol movement still strong, the belief that egg’s cholesterol content is damaging to heart vessels still erroneously circulates. DiBella and others report “This study demonstrates that in a MetS (metabolic syndrome) population, intake of three eggs per day does not increase plasma LDL cholesterol, and has additional benefits on biomarkers of disease compared to a choline supplement, possibly due to the presence of other antioxidants in eggs.”
Decades ago, cardiologist began reporting that elevated cholesterol was a major risk factor for heart attacks and strokes. One cholesterol medicine after another debuted on the scene to save us from our American diets. Nutritionists rushed in to save the day with admonitions against fat intake, especially cholesterol. Even eggs took a beating as the population was advised to limit egg intake if they had high cholesterol.
Over time, we learned that the simple cholesterol fix was not as simple as we thought. More research indicated that trans-fats in processed fats was even worse for our vascular systems. Other researchers reported that inflammation served as a trigger and mechanism by which the walls of heart arteries would degrade and suddenly close off, leading to heart attacks. Now, sugar’s unappreciated role in triggering inflammation is beginning to garner some attention.
With that progress in science, Dibella and her team returned to the question of eggs. They would not claim this is a definitive study, but their findings cast doubt on the prior belief that eggs were bad for your cholesterol and your heart. By comparing 2 groups of test subjects over different 2 week time periods, one of which received a choline supplement and another which ate 3 eggs per day, they discovered several important things about eggs and choline.
Besides cholesterol and protein, eggs contain a lot of choline, a nutrient that our bodies can make but that we still need in our diet. During the increased choline intake from a supplement or from the egg intake, the inflammatory cytokine Interleukin 6 was lower. In those eating the eggs, C-reactive protein, insulin, and insulin resistance were also improved. And importantly, the 3 eggs per day did not raise so-called bad cholesterol over the 2 week test period.
Eggs apparently are worth another look for your upcoming breakfast menu even if you have metabolic syndrome, a condition with increased heart disease risk. Other articles further below provide further reading for those seeking scientific support. Helping others live healthier more abundant lives sometimes means overturning incorrect dogma perpetuated by those unable to admit past misunderstandings.
DiBella, Marissa et al. “Choline Intake as Supplement or as a Component of Eggs Increases Plasma Choline and Reduces Interleukin-6 without Modifying Plasma Cholesterol in Participants with Metabolic Syndrome.” Nutrients vol. 12,10 3120. 13 Oct. 2020, doi:10.3390/nu12103120
Sanctuary Functional Medicine, under the direction of Dr Eric Potter, IFMCP MD, provides functional medicine services to Nashville, Middle Tennessee and beyond. We frequently treat patients from Kentucky, Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia, Ohio, Indiana, and more... offering the hope of healthier more abundant lives to those with chronic illness.