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Nutrients. 2018 Feb 24;10(2). pii: E258. doi: 10.3390/nu10020258.

Intake of 3 Eggs per Day When Compared to a Choline Bitartrate Supplement, Downregulates Cholesterol Synthesis without Changing the LDL/HDL Ratio.

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Department of Nutritional Sciences, University of Connecticut, Storrs, Mansfield, CT 06269, USA.
Departamento de Metodologia de Investigacion, Instituto Nacional de Pediatria, CD Mexico 04530, Mexico.
Department of Nutritional Sciences, University of Connecticut, Storrs, Mansfield, CT 06269, USA.
Department of Nutritional Sciences, University of Connecticut, Storrs, Mansfield, CT 06269, USA.


Cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk is associated with high concentrations of low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C). The impact of dietary cholesterol on plasma lipid concentrations still remains a concern. The effects of egg intake in comparison to choline bitartrate supplement was studied in a young, healthy population. Thirty participants were enrolled for a 13-week intervention. After a 2-week run-in period, subjects were randomized to consume either 3 eggs/day or a choline bitartrate supplement (~400 mg choline for both treatments) for 4-weeks each. After a 3-week washout period, they were allocated to the alternate treatment. Dietary records, plasma lipids, apolipoproteins (apo) concentrations, and peripheral blood mononuclear cell expression of regulatory genes for cholesterol homeostasis were assessed at the end of each intervention. Dietary intakes of saturated and monounsaturated fat were higher with the consumption of eggs compared to the choline period. In addition, higher plasma concentrations of total cholesterol (7.5%), high density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C) (5%) and LDL-C (8.1%) were observed with egg consumption (p < 0.01), while no change was seen in LDL-C/HDL-C ratio, a key marker of heart disease risk. Compared to choline supplementation, intake of eggs resulted in higher concentrations of plasma apoA-I (8%) and apoE (17%) with no changes in apoB. Sterol regulatory element-binding protein 2 and 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl-CoA reductase expression were lower with egg consumption by 18% and 31%, respectively (p < 0.05), suggesting a compensation to the increased dietary cholesterol load. Therefore, dietary cholesterol from eggs appears to regulate endogenous synthesis of cholesterol in such a way that the LDL-C/HDL-C ratio is maintained.


apolipoproteins; cardiovascular disease; cholesterol metabolism; choline bitartrate; dietary cholesterol; eggs; gene expression

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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Conflict of interest statement

M.L.F. and C.N.B. have been funded by the Egg Nutrition Center. B.S.L. and I.M.-V. declare no conflict of interest. The funding sponsors had no role in the design of the study; in the collection, analyses, or interpretation of data; in the writing of the manuscript, and in the decision to publish the results.

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