Cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk is associated with high concentrations of low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C). The impact of dietary cholesterol on plasma lipid concentrations still remains a concern. The effects of egg intake in comparison to choline bitartrate supplement was studied in a young, healthy population. Thirty participants were enrolled for a 13-week intervention. After a 2-week run-in period, subjects were randomized to consume either 3 eggs/day or a choline bitartrate supplement (~400 mg choline for both treatments) for 4-weeks each. After a 3-week washout period, they were allocated to the alternate treatment. Dietary records, plasma lipids, apolipoproteins (apo) concentrations, and peripheral blood mononuclear cell expression of regulatory genes for cholesterol homeostasis were assessed at the end of each intervention. Dietary intakes of saturated and monounsaturated fat were higher with the consumption of eggs compared to the choline period. In addition, higher plasma concentrations of total cholesterol (7.5%), high density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C) (5%) and LDL-C (8.1%) were observed with egg consumption (p
< 0.01), while no change was seen in LDL-C/HDL-C ratio, a key marker of heart disease risk. Compared to choline supplementation, intake of eggs resulted in higher concentrations of plasma apoA-I (8%) and apoE (17%) with no changes in apoB. Sterol regulatory element-binding protein 2 and 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl-CoA reductase expression were lower with egg consumption by 18% and 31%, respectively (p
< 0.05), suggesting a compensation to the increased dietary cholesterol load. Therefore, dietary cholesterol from eggs appears to regulate endogenous synthesis of cholesterol in such a way that the LDL-C/HDL-C ratio is maintained.
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