Egg phospholipids and cardiovascular health

Nutrients. 2015 Apr 13;7(4):2731-47. doi: 10.3390/nu7042731.


Eggs are a major source of phospholipids (PL) in the Western diet. Dietary PL have emerged as a potential source of bioactive lipids that may have widespread effects on pathways related to inflammation, cholesterol metabolism, and high-density lipoprotein (HDL) function. Based on pre-clinical studies, egg phosphatidylcholine (PC) and sphingomyelin appear to regulate cholesterol absorption and inflammation. In clinical studies, egg PL intake is associated with beneficial changes in biomarkers related to HDL reverse cholesterol transport. Recently, egg PC was shown to be a substrate for the generation of trimethylamine N-oxide (TMAO), a gut microbe-dependent metabolite associated with increased cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk. More research is warranted to examine potential serum TMAO responses with chronic egg ingestion and in different populations, such as diabetics. In this review, the recent basic science, clinical, and epidemiological findings examining egg PL intake and risk of CVD are summarized.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biomarkers / blood
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Cardiovascular System / metabolism*
  • Cholesterol, HDL / blood
  • Diet
  • Eggs / analysis*
  • Gastrointestinal Microbiome
  • Gastrointestinal Tract / microbiology
  • Humans
  • Lipid Metabolism
  • Methylamines / metabolism
  • Models, Animal
  • Phospholipids / administration & dosage*
  • Phospholipids / blood*
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic


  • Biomarkers
  • Cholesterol, HDL
  • Methylamines
  • Phospholipids
  • trimethyloxamine