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J Acad Nutr Diet. 2014 Oct;114(10):1594-600. doi: 10.1016/j.jand.2014.02.012. Epub 2014 Apr 13.

Egg n-3 fatty acid composition modulates biomarkers of choline metabolism in free-living lacto-ovo-vegetarian women of reproductive age.


The lacto-ovo-vegetarian (LOV) dietary regimen allows eggs, which are a rich source of choline. Consumption of eggs by LOV women may be especially important during pregnancy and lactation when demand for choline is high. The aim of this single blind, randomized, crossover-feeding study was to determine how near-daily egg consumption influenced biomarkers of choline metabolism in healthy LOV women of reproductive age (n=15). Because long-chain n-3 fatty acids could influence choline metabolism, the effect of n-3-enriched vs nonenriched eggs on choline metabolites was also investigated. Three 8-week dietary treatments consisting of six n-3-enriched eggs per week, six nonenriched eggs per week, and an egg-free control phase were separated by 4-week washout periods. Choline metabolites were quantified in fasted plasma collected before and after each treatment and differences in posttreatment choline metabolite concentrations were determined with linear mixed models. The n-3-enriched and nonenriched egg treatments produced different choline metabolite profiles compared with the egg-free control; however, response to the eggs did not differ (P>0.1). Consumption of the n-3-enriched egg treatment yielded higher plasma free choline (P=0.02) and betaine (P<0.01) (vs egg-free control) concentrations, whereas consumption of the nonenriched egg treatment yielded borderline higher (P=0.06) plasma phosphatidylcholine (vs egg-free control) levels. Neither egg treatment increased levels of plasma trimethylamine oxide, a gut-flora-dependent oxidative choline metabolite implicated as a possible risk factor for cardiovascular disease. Overall these data suggest that egg fatty-acid composition modulates the metabolic use of choline.


Choline; Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA); Egg; Phosphatidylethanolamine N-methyltransferase (PEMT); Trimethylamine oxide (TMAO)

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