Compared to an Oatmeal Breakfast, Two Eggs/Day Increased Plasma Carotenoids and Choline without Increasing Trimethyl Amine N-Oxide Concentrations

J Am Coll Nutr. 2018 Feb;37(2):140-148. doi: 10.1080/07315724.2017.1365026. Epub 2018 Jan 9.


Background: Habitual consumption of eggs has been hypothesized to positively modify biomarkers of cardiovascular disease risk through proposed antioxidant properties.

Objectives: To examine this relationship, 50 young, healthy men and women were enrolled into a randomized crossover clinical intervention.

Methods: Participants consumed either 2 eggs per day or one packet of oatmeal a day for 4 weeks, followed by a 3-week wash-out and crossed over to the alternate breakfast. Fasting blood samples and peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) were collected at the end of each intervention period.

Results: Increases in plasma large high-density lipoprotein (HDL) and large low-density lipoprotein (LDL) particle concentrations as measured by nuclear magnetic resonance were found following egg consumption (p < 0.001, p < 0.05), respectively, with increases in apolipoprotein concentration as well (p < 0.05). Though there was no difference in the intake of antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin, a significant increase in plasma concentrations of these carotenoids was observed (p < 0.001) after egg consumption. There was no change in lecithin-cholesterol acyl transferase, cholesteryl ester transfer protein, or paroxanase-1 arylesterase activities between breakfast interventions. Dietary and plasma choline were both higher following egg consumption compared to oatmeal consumption (p < 0.001); however, there was no change in plasma trimethylamine N-oxide (TMAO) concentrations. Two eggs per day had no impact on PBMC gene expression related to cholesterol metabolism, oxidation, or TMAO production.

Conclusions: These results suggest that compared to oatmeal, consumption of 2 eggs for breakfast provided increased plasma carotenoids and improved biomarkers of cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk while not affecting TMAO levels in this population.

Keywords: Choline; TMAO; eggs; lutein; oatmeal; zeaxanthin.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Antioxidants / administration & dosage
  • Avena*
  • Biomarkers / blood
  • Breakfast*
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / blood
  • Carotenoids / blood*
  • Cholesterol / genetics
  • Cholesterol, HDL / blood
  • Cholesterol, LDL / blood
  • Choline / administration & dosage
  • Choline / blood*
  • Cross-Over Studies
  • Diet
  • Eggs*
  • Female
  • Gene Expression
  • Humans
  • Leukocytes, Mononuclear / metabolism
  • Male
  • Methylamines / blood*
  • Risk Factors


  • Antioxidants
  • Biomarkers
  • Cholesterol, HDL
  • Cholesterol, LDL
  • Methylamines
  • Carotenoids
  • Cholesterol
  • trimethyloxamine
  • Choline