, Volume 52, Issue 3, pp 255–263 | Cite as

Intake of up to 3 Eggs/Day Increases HDL Cholesterol and Plasma Choline While Plasma Trimethylamine-N-oxide is Unchanged in a Healthy Population

  • Diana M. DiMarco
  • Amanda Missimer
  • Ana Gabriela Murillo
  • Bruno S. Lemos
  • Olga V. Malysheva
  • Marie A. Caudill
  • Christopher N. Blesso
  • Maria Luz FernandezEmail author
Original Article


Eggs are a source of cholesterol and choline and may impact plasma lipids and trimethylamine-N-oxide (TMAO) concentrations, which are biomarkers for cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk. Therefore, the effects of increasing egg intake (0, 1, 2, and 3 eggs/day) on these and other CVD risk biomarkers were evaluated in a young, healthy population. Thirty-eight subjects [19 men/19 women, 24.1 ± 2.2 years, body mass index (BMI) 24.3 ± 2.5 kg/m2] participated in this 14-week crossover intervention. Participants underwent a 2-week washout with no egg consumption, followed by intake of 1, 2, and 3 eggs/day for 4 weeks each. Anthropometric data, blood pressure (BP), dietary records, and plasma biomarkers (lipids, glucose, choline, and TMAO) were measured during each intervention phase. BMI, waist circumference, systolic BP, plasma glucose, and plasma triacylglycerol did not change throughout the intervention. Diastolic BP decreased with egg intake (P < 0.05). Compared to 0 eggs/day, intake of 1 egg/day increased HDL cholesterol (HDL-c) (P < 0.05), and decreased LDL cholesterol (LDL-c) (P < 0.05) and the LDL-c/HDL-c ratio (P < 0.01). With intake of 2–3 eggs/day, these changes were maintained. Plasma choline increased dose-dependently with egg intake (P < 0.0001) while fasting plasma TMAO was unchanged. These results indicate that in a healthy population, consuming up to 3 eggs/day results in an overall beneficial effect on biomarkers associated with CVD risk, as documented by increased HDL-c, a reduced LDL-c/HDL-c ratio, and increased plasma choline in combination with no change in plasma LDL-c or TMAO concentrations.


Eggs Cholesterol HDL LDL TMAO Choline 



Angiotensin-converting enzyme


Body mass index


Blood pressure


Cardiovascular disease


Flavin monooxygenase


HDL cholesterol


LDL cholesterol


Liquid chromatography with tandem mass spectrometry


Total cholesterol








Waist circumference



This work was supported by an award to MLF from the Esperance Family Foundation and a grant to DMD from the Egg Nutrition Center.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

DMD, AM, and MLF have received funding from the Egg Nutrition Center. All other authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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Copyright information

© AOCS 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Diana M. DiMarco
    • 1
  • Amanda Missimer
    • 1
  • Ana Gabriela Murillo
    • 1
  • Bruno S. Lemos
    • 1
  • Olga V. Malysheva
    • 2
  • Marie A. Caudill
    • 2
  • Christopher N. Blesso
    • 1
  • Maria Luz Fernandez
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Nutritional SciencesUniversity of ConnecticutStorrsUSA
  2. 2.Division of Nutritional SciencesCornell UniversityIthacaUSA

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