Eggs may raise heart risk via gut bacteria
New research from the Cleveland Clinic suggests that too many eggs in your diet may not be good for you. Scientists there found a connection between the interaction of gut bacteria and the compound lecithin–which is found in eggs–and an increased risk of heart attack and stroke.
Blood levels of the substance TMAO have been found to serve as an accurate predictor of the risk of heart attack, stroke and even death in people who may not otherwise be identified as being at high risk. TMAO is produced when gut bacteria digest the nutrient phosphatidylcholine, also known as lecithin.
This research involved two parts. The first was a 4,000 person study that had participants eat two hard-boiled eggs, then take a course of antibiotics to wipe out the gut bacteria. TMAO levels went down in this study. The second part of the study measured TMAO levels in 4,007 patients undergoing cardiac evaluations at the Cleveland Clinic and followed them for three years. Those with higher TMAO levels were more likely to have a heart attack or stroke, regardless of other risk factors and blood test results.
As more research comes out on how diet can affect heart disease risk, it appears that gut bacteria may play a very important role.