Eggs and Heart Health

I don’t think there’s any more controversial food than eggs. By and large, the reason we have been told to avoid eating eggs is because they contain cholesterol, and indeed that’s true. A typical egg may contain as much as 200 mg of cholesterol. But does that mean we shouldn’t eat eggs?

To answer this question, researchers in Finland conducted an extensive study in which they evaluated two parameters. First they looked at whether or not individuals developed coronary artery disease. In addition, they looked at a parameter called carotid intimal thickening. Basically this is a study, using ultrasound, that looks at the thickness of the lining of the carotid artery. The reason this is used is because it is a strong indicator of coronary artery disease if in fact there is thickening.

The research, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, followed 1,302 men, ages 42 to 60, for approximately 21 years. The results demonstrated that there was no correlation whatsoever between the consumption of eggs and risk for coronary artery disease. Further, there was no association between egg consumption and thickening of the carotid artery.

In their discussion, the researchers described how eggs are a rich source of such compounds as lutein and zeaxanthin, as well as various bioactive phospholipids. These act to reduce inflammation as well as free radical mediated damage to fats. Coronary artery disease is, in fact, a situation in which there is excess inflammation that leads to increased free radical damage of the fat cells lining the arteries.

In addition, egg consumption is associated with increase in size of both LDL and HDL particles, and this has been associated with decreased risk for coronary artery disease as well.

Finally, egg consumption has also been associated with better glucose metabolism which will obviously have a favorable effect not only on the coronary arteries, but also on the brain.

So I hope you’ll take a look at this report, published in a very well-respected nutritional journal. I believe you will find this information interesting and compelling, especially around breakfast time.

And finally, if anyone can help me identify the tree in the video, that would be great!

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  • Lynn Dell

    We purchase free range and/or organic eggs. More expensive but more humane and hopefully more healthful. Thanks for sharing!

  • Robin Jones Enochs

    When you mentioned choline and cancer risk I was hoping you might delve into the studies implicating an increased prostate cancer risk with eating eggs.

  • TechnoTriticale

    Eggs, even pastured organic, are also sometimes warned about due to having an unfavorable Omega6:Omega3 ratio (which they do), but they contain so little of it that it doesn’t matter (and that’s consistent with the report here).

    Now chicken meat, on the other hand, might need to be limited if you are trying to limit your exposure to excess Omega 6 Linoleic Acid.

  • J

    Loved your talk on the food revolution summit ! I continue to stay on the other side of the egg debate and rather stick to plants. But appreciate your input anyways.

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  • mep

    I’m so glad my new, functionally trained doctor tested my omega 6:omega 3 ratio. I take high-quality fish oil, freshly ground organic golden flax seed and am eating raw, organic walnuts daily. This has me at nearly a 1:1 ratio, even though I regularly consume organic eggs and organically raised (though grain fed) chicken. Rather than stress, have your doctor test or I think Life Extension has a test that will give you this information.

    • GemmaStar

      I don’t know what the ratio should be. Could you please let us know, mep?

  • Doug

    Dr Perlmutter- would you please consider keeping your personal food journal and publishing same on a daily or weekly basis?

  • twistedgenes

    I believe that tree is a jacaranda

    • David Perlmutter

      So glad to finally know! Thank you!

      • Heather

        Actually it is not a jacaranda (which often grows in drier regions), though that also has purple flowers. I’m pretty sure that is what is commonly called an orchid tree which grows in wetter climes. I saw both when I lived on Maui for a year, but the orchid trees grew on the wet side and the jacarandas (which also grow in parts of south Texas and Mexico) are much taller and grew on the dry side. A closer view of the flowers would help definitely identify it. 🙂

  • Jillian

    Thanks for the great information!
    The tree looks to me like a Paulownia tomentosa, also known as the Empress Tree. It was difficult to see the flowers in the video. Hope this helps! : )

  • David Haddon

    I appreciate your showing us that beautiful tree with its strikingly colored blossoms. Such beauty and the natural human response to it that you shared with us points us to something beyond the material realm. Indeed, beauty is one of the transcendentals (along with truth and goodness) that point us to God.

  • Rusty

    Just finished Dr Joel Fuhrman’s new book on heart disease. He’s definitely not big on eggs or any other animal based food.

  • Thank you Dr Perlmutter, I trust and rely on your knowledge and updates for us.
    what a beautiful place and both the trees behind you are gorgeous!!! ENJOY!

  • SandraIrina

    What about the higher risk for ovarian / prostate / breast cancer when consuming more than 5 eggs a week? I’m reading all kinds of controversial results on pubmed, it’s hard to choose who to believe …

  • Charmaine and Linda

    Thank you for taking the time to connect even while away!

    • David Perlmutter

      Glad to be able to speak with/to you all!

      • Michèle FERRER

        I Do Appreciate you a lot Dear Doctor David Perlmutter 😉 Thank you so much for your Fantastic book “Grain Brain”, in french “Ces glucides qui menacent notre cerveau” !! I learnt so many things !! I read it in a few hours ! Your book is Really Amazing !! You have the courage of your convictions and it’s pretty rare these days ! What a chance to have nowadays a Doctor as you ! You are a Great person who dares to tell the Truth and I Love that ! Congratulations Dr Perlmutter Really and Thank you So Much for All living beings in this World ! In France we are Lucky to have Doctor Joyeux who is Great too !! I like him very much ! So many things to tell you… I will allow to write to you a mail concerning food additives. I do not know if you will have the time to answer me. YES, Thank you to come here to inform people and very glad to see you in video. You seem to be a very generous person !! I feel very good with people like you. Yes, this tree is so Beautiful !! <3 Nature is the Most Beautiful thing in the world ! It would be so Great if people who are supposed to Love and Take Care of Animals (I especially mean veterinaries), if they should exist Really !! My family and I Love Animals since Always. Veterinaries do NOT help us for our family Animals unfortunately ! Unfortunetaly veterinaries especially Love money !! It’s very Sad for Animals and us who Love them so Much!! <3 Animals are So Extraordinary !! So Loving, So Intelligent with a lot of compassion, so Much !! I take care myself my family Animals and all days look for their good health. If you know a Doctor as you who takes care of Animals with Love and Passion, who knows How to take care of them naturally, for example a holistic medical doctor or very good book to take care of Animals, I will be very Happy to read your advices ! It would be so Great if you have the time to worry about Animal’s health… Well, I wrote a long message, hope it would not be too long but I am very passionate <3 Have a Wonderful day as well as your family !! 🙂
        Michèle (from Finistère, Bretagne, France)

      • ri

        Dr Perlmutter im confused ive been purchasing free range eggs but then I realized there are organic eggs so which ones are better?i cant afford to buy 8 dollar cartons of eggs free range is cheaper than organic but is it free from herbicides/antibiotics etc??

  • Pat Muccigrosso

    I love that you share your information so freely and make sometimes difficult topics easy to understand for every one. But what I really love is your enthusiasm and you joy! I listen to you just for the smile you bring to my face.

  • Louise Stenvers

    The tree in that video is a Tibouchina

  • Victor Archuleta

    My wife gave me this report because since suffering a stroke that paralyzed the left side of my body, I can only taste chocolate, eggs and pancakes. pumpkin and apple pie, and very few other foods. For several years I have been eating three eggs with three buttered pancakes topped with maple syrup every day. My wife and I use only natural remedies to maintain our health. She is a cancer survivor for that reason, and my doctor is learning how the remedies are keeping me away from “big pharma”.

    • Mort

      Hey Victor.
      I don’t know would I correlate “3 pancakes topped with maple syrup every day” with natural remedies. For some reason I’m thinking “sugar”. Best wishes to you and your good wife. Mort. P.s. I cannot get the login to login.

      • Victor Archuleta

        Hi Mort,
        My doctor can’e explain it either. My cholesterol is within normal limits. My wife is a ten year cancer survivor. She refused chemo, searched for natural remedies, and she is also in excellent health.

    • Steve

      loose the sugar…..and pancakes made from wheat

      • Victor Archuleta

        Hi Steve!
        I tried all sorts of food – but it’s difficult to eat food that tastes like water. I may be sharing too much, but I believe in an afterlife, and i believe I have accomplished all that is required for entrance there. The quality of my life, not the length of it , is the focus of my daily activity. Passing over is to be expected. As for the maple syrup (sugar), I have yet to be concerned. Have you noticed the recent commercials asking “are you pre-diabetic?” My doctor admitted that everyone one the planet is pre-diabetic. When you think about it, we are all in a condition that can be labeled “pre-dying”. Keep watch. Soon there will be another drug on the market, to control “pre-diabetis”.

  • karin

    Thank you for your lesson in such a beautiful surronding!

    I can only confirm that the intake of at least 4 eggs weekly did not harm me up to now and, on the contrary, support my well-being.
    Anyway, I should love to know if at my age (74) it is still so important to adjust myself to always new insights on treating my health. Wouldn’t any change take too long to benefit or to be harmful to my body?

  • joanna

    I also think the tree is a Jacaranda. We saw lots of them in South Africa and they are so pretty.

    I am totally with you on the eggs issue !

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  • Dr.Rao

    How many eggs can we eat a day?

  • Bonnie Madtson

    Question…. I have been taking Red Yeast Rice to lower my total cholesterol. In 2 years it has gone from 225 to 201..HDL 105, LDL 86. My question is should I stop taking the Red Yeast Rice? Your book Grain Brain indicates that low 200’s is not high cholesterol and is not a good indicator of corinary artery disease.

    • David Perlmutter

      I’m less likely to want to lower cholesterol, even naturally. However, you should consult with your physician with regard to your exact health and plan going forward.

    • Noel van der Mullen

      All this time that I hear about from my clients: 20 years ago the doctor wouldnot think about prescribing statines under a score of about 280 .
      Now I hear from my clients that even with a level of 160 they are pushed to swallow them. Well: I ask then: You must be feeling pretty depressed by now, aren’t you? and the answer I get then is affirmative. the reason: Our body NEEDS cholesterol: for hormones, cellwalls etc. etc. . The design and metabolism of our bodies hasNOT changed over the last decades; OH THanks God NO!!

  • Jane

    I’m so confused ! I’ve been happily eating an egg a day (for breakfast) and just read an article by Dr Fuhrman citing a study that ‘indicates that eggs may increase atherosclerotic plaque development in ways unrelated to elevating blood cholesterol’ and advises to limit egg consumption to 1 to 2 a week..
    I just don’t know what to eat anymore! – Jane

  • Francisco Villalba

    Hello Dr Perlmutter,

    I am a great fan of your research and videos. I am interested at your scientifc view concerning the studies published about eggs in the link below. I have been eating eggs at least 3 times a week but I’m a little concern how the nutrition scientific world have contrasting views about eggs. Your feedback is greatly appreciated

    http://www.pcrm.org/nbBlog/studies-link-eggs-to-stroke-diabetes-heart-disease-cancer

  • Meaghan Kennedy

    Looking to one study to base your observations and not considering other studies that look into other health factors is a little irresponsible. A few people have asked for your comment on other studies/opinions, yet you have avoided answering them. For example, Dr. Fuhrman’s book and Dr. Barnard’s blog http://www.pcrm.org/nbBlog/studies-link-eggs-to-stroke-diabetes-heart-disease-cancer. How about other inflammatory markers or the effect of animal protein itself? Up to how many eggs should we eat? I don’t see how this video “settles the controversy” and seems rather misleading.

  • Uğur ALPKAYA

    Greetings thank you so much I read your book I gave you a great weight and a few more people helped me and I thank you for passing my epilepsy thanks to your book I lost weight and I continue to lose about 8 kilos

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