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What Meat and Eggs Do to Our Microbiome

As I’ve explored before, whether young or old, male or female, smoker or non-smoker, with high blood pressure or low blood pressure, high cholesterol or low, having high levels of a toxic compound called TMAO—trimethylamine oxide—in the bloodstream is associated with a significantly higher risk of having a heart attack, stroke, or dying over a three-year period. Where does TMAO come from? As I investigate in my video How to Develop a Healthy Gut Ecosystem, the choline in foods like eggs can be turned by gut bacteria into TMAO, which is then absorbed back into our system. And, the more eggs we eat, the higher the levels climb, as you can see at 0:41 in my video.

Given the similarity in structure between carnitine and choline, Cleveland Clinic researchers wondered if carnitine found in red meat, energy drinks, and supplements might also lead to TMAO production and put it to the test. As you can see at 1:00 in my video, if you feed omnivores, those who regularly eat meat, a steak, their TMAO levels shoot up. Those who eat strictly plant-based may start out with almost no TMAO in their system, presumably because they’re not eating any meat, eggs, or dairy. But, even if vegans eat a sirloin, still almost no TMAO is made. Why? Presumably, they don’t have steak-eating bacteria in their guts. Indeed, it was found that no TMAO is produced if you don’t have TMAO-producing bacteria in your gut. If you don’t regularly eat meat, then you’re not fostering the growth of the meat-eating microbes that produce TMAO.

This suggests that once we develop a plant-based gut ecosystem, our bacteria will not produce TMAO, even if we eat meat every once and awhile. However, we still don’t know how rapidly gut bacteria shift after a shift in our diet—but it does not appear to be all or nothing. If men eating the standard American diet are given two sausage, egg, and cheese biscuits before and after just five days of eating lots of similarly high-fat meals, their TMAO production boosts even higher, as you can see at 2:09 in my video. So, it’s not just whether we have the bad bugs or not. Apparently, we can breed more of them the more we feed them.

Meat-free diets, on the other hand, can also have been “demonstrated to have a profound influence on human metabolism.”Just by analyzing a urine sample, we can tell what kind of diet people eat, based on measurements like how low TMAO levels are in the urine of those eating egg-free vegetarian diets, as you can see at 2:26 in my video. At 2:43 in my video, you’ll see that we can even take the same people rotate them through three different diets, and determine who is on a high-meat diet, low-meat diet, or no-meat diet, based in part on the different compounds churned out by the different gut flora or different flora activity after just about two weeks on the different diets. It’s possible that some of the beneficial effects of whole plant foods may be mediated by the effects they have on our gut bacteria. At the same time, the standard American diet may increase the relative abundance of undesirables that produce toxic compounds including TMAO (as you can see at 3:07 in my video).

Strictly plant-based diets have gained acceptance as a dietary strategy for preventing and managing disease. Perhaps, in part, this is because of their rather unique gut flora, with less of the disease-causing bacteria and more of the protective species. So, all along, we thought the reason those eating plant-based had lower heart disease rates was because they were eating less saturated fat and cholesterol, but maybe their lower TMAO levels may also be contributing to their benefits, thanks to their reduced ingestion of carnitine and choline.

I talked about the egg industry response to the choline revelation in Egg Industry Response to Choline and TMAO. How has the carnitine supplement industry reacted? In response to the research implicating carnitine in TMAO production, the former vice president of AdvoCare—a multilevel marketing company that sells carnitine supplements like AdvoCare Slam while getting slammed with lawsuits finding them guilty of being “engaged in false, misleading or deceptive acts or practices” and forced to pay more than a million dollars—questioned whether there was a secret vegan conspiracy at the Cleveland Clinic. Restricting our intake of meat or carnitine supplements to prevent our gut bacteria from making TMAO, he argued, is like trying to prevent car accidents by restricting the sale of fuel.

Okay…but there are benefits to transportation. We’re talking about TMAO, which may be fueling our epidemic of heart disease, the number-one killer of men and women in this country. As far as I’m concerned, the more we can cut the fuel for that, the better.


For more background on TMAO, see Carnitine, Choline, Cancer, and Cholesterol: The TMAO Connection, then find out How to Reduce Your TMAO Levels.

Our gut flora are what we eat. Check out:

In health,
Michael Greger, M.D.

PS: If you haven’t yet, you can subscribe to my free videos here and watch my live presentations:

Discuss

Michael Greger M.D., FACLM

Michael Greger, M.D. FACLM, is a physician, New York Times bestselling author, and internationally recognized professional speaker on a number of important public health issues. Dr. Greger has lectured at the Conference on World Affairs, the National Institutes of Health, and the International Bird Flu Summit, testified before Congress, appeared on The Dr. Oz Show and The Colbert Report, and was invited as an expert witness in defense of Oprah Winfrey at the infamous "meat defamation" trial.


73 responses to “What Meat and Eggs Do to Our Microbiome

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    1. HOW THEN IS IT SO THAT HEART DISEASE INCREASED AFTER THE AMA / OTHER ASSOC. LOWERED THE CHOLESTEROL LEVELS IN DIETS???IN THE EARLY 21 ST. AND LATE 20 TH CENTURIES WORKING ON FARMS PHYSICAL ACTIVITY PREVENTED HEART DISEASE IT APPEARS. DR. WALLOCK? AUTHOR “DEAD DOCTORS DON’T LIE” SAYS EAT 10 EGGS A DAY.DR. DABACKY? CREATOR OF THE FIRST OPEN HEART SURGERY ATE 3 EGGS WEEKLY. I ENJOY NFO AND APPRECIATE THE INPUT ON ALL TOPICS. THANK YOU

      1. RAF,

        Dr. Greger has a lot of videos on this topic.

        Part of the issue is that when everybody is high in cholesterol, studies can be done where it doesn’t look like cholesterol matter.

        Dr. Greger used an example of by using people who were already high in cholesterol and adding a little bit more, the studies that were done were like putting a burning match on an already burning gasoline fire and declaring that there is no risk for lighting matches around gasoline.

        I am not sure if I got the example perfectly the way he gave it. That was my memorization of what he said.

        https://nutritionfacts.org/video/eggs-vs-cigarettes-in-atherosclerosis/

      2. Dr Joel Wallach, author of ‘Dead Doctors Don’t Lie’, is a notorious quack who likes to invent his own ‘facts.’ He is in fact a doctor of veterinary medicine not an MD. Nothing he says should be taken as factual.

        Also, if you look at the US food supply data, people in the US are still eating more cholesterol now than they were before WW1

      1. Henning,

        For a quick answer….no go on the whites relative to your insulin levels. Please see this video https://nutritionfacts.org/video/flashback-friday-paleo-diets-may-negate-benefits-of-exercise/

        The transcript where the egg whites were put to the test: Put someone on a strictly plant-based diet–man, woman, young, old, skinny or fat–and you can significantly bring their insulin levels down within just three weeks on a healthy vegan diet. And then just by adding egg whites back to the diet, you can boost insulin production 60% within four days. YECH !

        Dr. Alan Kadish moderator for Dr. Greger http://www.Centerofhealth.com

    2. Wikipedia, under choline, states that wheat germ is a source. Does eating wheat germ create TMAO. Is there a gut bacteria that will use the choline from wheat germ to make TMAO? Or is the amount of choline so little, but enough to meet the body needs as essential nutrient, that the effects is negligible?
      Should a person stay away from wheat germ?

  1. It would be interesting to me because meat-eaters tend to not be as low in Vitamin D – so there would be a way to differentiate between low D and meat making things worse for people.

  2. So how long does it take for a vegan to start producing TMAO? Meaning, give a vegan 2 eggs a day, how many days before his bacteria have switched and he’s now producing TMAO?

  3. So, what do you say to a doctor who tells you you need to eat a few eggs a week because choline is important for our overall health?

    1. Mama,

      I would first ask your doctor why, and what is the basis for this recommendation.

      Then I might do a bit of online research; here’s one result:

      “ Despite what may initially be published, a vegan diet is naturally rich in choline, provided you eat a balanced plant-based diet. Some of the best sources include broccoli and brassica vegetables such as sprouts and kale, soya products such as soy beans and tofu, as well as chickpeas and other beans and pulses, quinoa, mushrooms, potatoes and peanuts are all fantastic sources of choline.

      The key, as with any vegan meal plan and diet, is to ensure you are focusing your intake upon a wholefood, minimally processed diet, as this will ensure you are achieving your intake of essential vitamins and minerals. Advice can be found here.”. https://www.veganfoodandliving.com/news/choline-vegan-myth-behind-the-headlines/

      Here’s another:

      “ A study in the journal Circulation also linked choline to increased risk of heart disease. But the authors found that participants who followed a vegan or vegetarian diet were protected against the harmful effects of choline.

      Instead of animal products, choose fruits, vegetables, grains, and beans, which are plentiful in choline. The National Institutes of Health states that certain vegetables and beans are a “rich source” of choline, with grains, nuts, and seeds being reliable sources in general. In fact, soybeans have more choline than beef and chicken, and potatoes and most beans have more than dairy products or even tuna.” https://www.pcrm.org/news/blog/clearing-choline-confusion

      There are lots more. And, you could provide your doctor with links to this blog and the video referenced.

      Remember: most doctors have never had a single nutrition class. My daughter, a nurse, took one during her nursing studies — and even that was an elective. So she knows more than most doctors. And, she is starting to eat more whole plant foods; she’s read “How Not to Die,” and the food eating guide available from this site.

    2. Mama, Choline IS necessary for overall health as it is an essential vitamin. But you don’t need to get it from eggs! The RDA is 550mg/day for men and 425 mg/day for women. You can calculate your choline levels on cronometer https://cronometer.com/. If you’re not getting enough, try increasing plant foods that are high in choline. Even though I eat a WFPB diet and follow Dr. Greger’s Daily Dozen, my diet usually comes in 100mg too low in choline, so I just take 1/2 tsp of organic soy lecithin per day. When I get enough choline I sleep more deeply and feel more grounded overall. This may be because choline is part of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine.

  4. Two eggs a day provide 100% of daily cholesterol. Not worth it to eat them based on that figure alone. We get cholesterol enough already.

    1. There is no daily RDA for dietary cholesterol. In fact, the official US advice is that people should eat as little cholesterol as possible

      ‘The body uses cholesterol for physiological and structural functions but makes more than enough for these purposes. Therefore, people do not need to obtain cholesterol through foods.

      The Key Recommendation from the 2010 Dietary Guidelines to limit consumption of dietary cholesterol to 300 mg per day is not included in the 2015 edition, but this change does not suggest that dietary cholesterol is no longer important to consider when building healthy eating patterns. As recommended by the IOM,[24] individuals should eat as little dietary cholesterol as possible while consuming a healthy eating pattern. ‘

      https://health.gov/our-work/food-nutrition/2015-2020-dietary-guidelines/guidelines/chapter-1/a-closer-look-inside-healthy-eating-patterns/

      The healthy eating pattern which delivers the lowest amount of dietary cholesterol is the vegetarian eating pattern.
      https://health.gov/our-work/food-nutrition/2015-2020-dietary-guidelines/guidelines/appendix-5/

  5. Those are medium eggs. One large egg also has too much. So don’t try to get away with eating only one egg. Smile! My personal opinion .

    1. Both one egg and two eggs are too much. The official advice is to avoid dietary cholesterol as much as possible. That essentially means no eggs.

    1. I want know why doctor Paul Saladino and so many others say that the opposite is true. I don’t know anymore to who bealive. Please, help me.

      1. Why? $$$, that’s why. Believe those that provide citations to peer reviewed, unbiased, published studies. Dr. Greger does. Try eating nothing but meat: you’ll feel sick and crave carbs…big time. It’s not sustainable and increases the risk of death as shown by clinical studies. The longest lived and healthiest peoples on the planet all have one thing in common: they eat 99% unprocessed plants. Real published evidence like this cannot be argued with.

  6. There is a Lipotropic injection that I receive weekly. It is a combination of B vitamins and Amino Acids.
    Is it implicated in the increased production of TMAO as well?

    1. It depends on what amino acids are in your injection. Please keep in mind that there have never been any studies that show any health benefits derived from the type of injection that you’re getting, in people without any tested deficiency. On the other hand, many studies regarding supplements have shown an increase in death rate. With this in mind, you might want to ask yourself why you would subject yourself to such risk without any demonstration of benefit if you don’t have a documented deficiency in all the vitamins you’re supplementing.

  7. I question the effect eating processed sausage mentioned & eating two biscuits. Had this “study” been conducted with esting a healthy, unprocessed source of meat alone or with vegetables instead of two simple carbohydrate biscuits it would cause me to consider this study.

    Those who are concerned with eating a healthy diet are less likely to eat the types of protein & carbohydrates sources chosen for this study. Therefore, I find this study & similar studies faculty & not applicable to those concerned about healthy nutrition. Studies need to be well thought through as and conducted in a manner consistent with the type of diet you are trying to study.

    Most people who eat high processed foods are heavy in simple carbohydrates and eat very few vegetables & fruits. In my work with people I have found, for many, their diets are fast food & unhealthy snack foods from their local gas station market.

    1. Kathi,

      To quote Dr. Greger

      “In 2008, the Harvard Physician’s Health Study, which followed about about 20,000 physicians for 20 years, found that those eating just a single egg a day or more had significantly higher total mortality risk, meaning eating just one egg a day was significantly associated with living, on average, a shorter life. Later that year, that same single serving of egg was significantly associated with death and hospitalization from heart failure.”

  8. If after eating a steak or eggs TMAO only lasts for a few hours in one’s blood stream then how does it contribute to heart disease, stroke, etc ?
    How does one test for TMAO ? Timing of when the test is done would be important ?

    1. Hello Bruce,

      You are correct in stating that TMAO only rises for a few hours, at which time the next meal is on the horizon. If someone is eating meat and eggs throughout the day, that can lead to consistently elevated levels. Although the TMAO-atherosclerosis connection is largely based on mechanistic data, it is reasonable to be cautious about the possible link.

      Testing can be done via a blood test, and fasting levels would not consider the post-meal rises.

      The evidence is not 100% clear on TMAO, but hopefully this helps answer your question.

  9. Some times I could scream! Humans have been eating meat since before written language. But it was decidedly Organic. Could that be a major factor in any meat studies? Why do only life-long meat eaters live to 100 or more? Sure, late comer vegetarians and vegans can do that too but not life-long ones.

    1. Wayne Grim,

      That isn’t true about the only life-long meat-eaters living to 100 or more.

      The Blue Zone vegans have among the highest longevity.

    2. That’s called the appeal to antiquity fallacy

      People eat lots of organic meat in Uruguay. They have terrible rates of cancer and heart disease too, just like in countries where non organic meat is eaten.

      And look at history and what that tells us about peoples who ate lots of organic meat, dairy etc.
      https://www.drmcdougall.com/misc/2014nl/feb/grassfed.htm

      All this ‘organic meat is healthy’ ideology is based on wishful thinking and fallacious reasoning. Organic meat has got all the same cholesterol, saturated fat, IGF-1, haem iron, NeuG5c etc components as non organic meat. It’s like arguing that organically grown tobacco is safe and all the studies showing smoking is unhealthy aren’t valid because they only look at conventionally grown tobacco.

      As for living to 100, you could make the same argument with the same validity for smokers.

      Still, if people want to kid themselves about the health effects of these things, someone can always manufacture a reason or 10.

      1. Ancient people also led much more active lives. When clients have asked me about the paleo diet I tell them it’s great if they are going to spend a few days tracking their meat on foot, throw multiple heavy spears (that they have been carrying all the while) at it, track it for a couple more days while it gets weaker, then finish it off with an axe or dagger, throw it over their shoulder to carry back to camp on foot, butcher with primitive tools and cook over fire you have built with fuel you have gathered. That kind of strength and endurance needed a different type and intake of protein than we need with our lifestyles.

  10. Dear Dr! Super useful knowledge!
    Is there any difference in consuming raw eggs (from known organic source).
    Is it known if consuming eggs with Vit C is less damaging?
    There were publications from Japan stating no rise in cholesterol if eggs consumed with lemon.
    Best regards and Thanks!

    1. Google and read articles by Dr. Bruce Ames

      Passwater: Your studies on mitochondrial aging found that the nutrients acetyl-L-carnitine and alpha-lipoic acid had a rejuvenating effect on aged mitochondria. The neat thing is that you didn’t have to do lifespan studies, but you looked at biomarkers. Please tell our readers about this discovery. How important is slowing and reversing mitochondrial decay?

      Ames: Mitochondria are self-replicating organelles in the cell and are critical for producing ATP, the high-energy molecule in cells, which supports all metabolic functions requiring energy. Aging mitochondria become progressively inefficient in this process. The price one pays is the production and subsequent leakage of mutagenic oxidants, particularly with age. We found that this inefficiency could be at least partially reversed by giving a supplement containing two important components of the process of energy production: acetyl-L-carnitine and lipoic acid. Therefore, mitochondria should be tuned optimally with vitamins and minerals

      https://isom.ca/profile/bruce-ames/

      https://youtu.be/Wuii7ykHTZA

      1. All very fancy lab studies designed to sell supplements. The problem is that when supplements are tested, people either do not live longer or actually die prematurely. I’d rather not die young with a great mitochondrial score. We were designed to eat whole plant foods for optimal health and longevity, not supplements.

        1. Humans have been eating meat for eons too and not all studies indicate or conclude that meat eating is harmful.

          A study in Nature makes clear, not only did processing and eating meat come naturally to humans, it’s entirely possible that without an early diet that included generous amounts of animal protein, we wouldn’t even have become human—at least not the modern, verbal, intelligent humans we are
          https://www.nature.com/articles/nature16990

          Healthiest diets include meat and dairy, say health professionals – https://calgaryherald.com/opinion/columnists/opinion-healthiest-diets-include-meat-and-dairy-say-health-professionals

          Scientists: Vegetarian cavemen died off, meat-eaters lived on – https://dailycaller.com/2012/08/14/scientists-vegetarian-cavemen-died-off-meat-eaters-lived-on/

          A study of older Japanese adults, just published in the Journal of Nutrition, Health and Aging, concludes “increased consumption of meat and dairy products may provide sufficient protein and fat necessary for achieving higher energy intake, thereby effectively preventing physical frailty among older Japanese individuals.”
          https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30569075/

          A UK based study into the health benefits of vegetarian diets – the largest of it’s kind to date – has just published its findings in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition showing that long-term diets reducing or eliminating meat and other animal products did not lead to significant reductions in early death.
          https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26657045/

          A 2007 paper that analyzed health metrics for over 240,000 Australians, part of the “45 and Up study”,
          similarly found no increased longevity from avoiding meat:
          https://www.semanticscholar.org/paper/Vegetarian-diet-and-all-cause-mortality%3A-Evidence-a-Mihrshahi-Ding/9b08642465afab42b351ee9ff5b22a0a87ed9520

          Nutrition for the Japanese elderly – the longest – lived Japanese eat meat and dairy (insulin control)
          https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/1407826

          Abstract
          The present paper examines the relationship of nutritional status to further life expectancy and health status in the Japanese elderly based on 3 epidemiological studies. 1. Nutrient intakes in 94 Japanese centenarians investigated between 1972 and 1973 showed a higher proportion of animal protein to total proteins than in contemporary average Japanese. 2. High intakes of milk and fats and oils had favorable effects on 10-year (1976-1986) survivorship in 422 urban residents aged 69-71. The survivors revealed a longitudinal increase in intakes of animal foods such as eggs, milk, fish and meat over the 10 years. 3. Nutrient intakes were compared, based on 24-hour dietary records, between a sample from Okinawa Prefecture where life expectancies at birth and 65 were the longest in Japan, and a sample from Akita Prefecture where the life expectancies were much shorter. Intakes of Ca, Fe, vitamins A, B1, B2, C, and the proportion of energy from proteins and fats were significantly higher in the former than in the latter. Intakes of carbohydrates and NaCl were lower.

  11. There are may studies that state Eggs are healthy.

    Eggs- perimenopause and menopause – One of the key memory molecules is called acetylcholine. To make this, our body requires that we take in about 500 mg of choline daily. Interestingly, when a woman doesn’t have enough estrogen, as occurs during perimenopause and menopause, they are more likely to develop memory problems when they don’t get enough choline. This can be aggravated by certain genetic defects and can be a major player in cognitive dysfunction. The solution? Simply eat one or two eggs a day. One egg supply 680 mg of choline. Eat the egg yolk, as this is the part that has the choline. https://academic.oup.com/ajcn/article/92/5/1113/4597519

    2005 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey indicates that only 2% of postmenopausal women consume the recommended intake of Choline. Thus, postmenopausal women, especially those with SNPs in genes that increase the dietary requirements for choline , may be at increased risk of low choline–related liver or muscle dysfunction when their estrogen concentrations decline – https://academic.oup.com/ajcn/article/92/5/1113/4597519

    “Consumption of at least one egg per day was not associated with incident cardiovascular disease risk.” For added evidence, they also performed the largest-ever meta-analysis on the subject, which supported their finding in US and European populations. But, in Asian populations, they found that egg consumption may be associated with lower CVD risk. “Recent studies reignited the debate on this controversial topic, but our study provides compelling evidence supporting the lack of an appreciable association between moderate egg consumption and cardiovascular disease,” – https://www.bmj.com/content/368/bmj.m513

    In a study that included more than half a million Chinese adults, researchers in China and the United Kingdom showed that eating an egg a day was associated with significantly lower risks of heart disease and stroke. The researchers found that, compared with people who ate no eggs, people who ate eggs daily (up to <1 egg/day) had an 11% lower risk of CVD, a 12% lower risk of ischemic heart disease, a 14% lower risk of major cardiac events, and an 18% lower risk of CVD death.
    “In particular, daily egg consumers (up to <1 egg/day) had a 26% lower risk of hemorrhagic stroke, a stroke subtype with a higher prevalence rate in China than in high-income countries,” the researchers wrote. https://heart.bmj.com/content/104/21/1756
    For this study (published in the Journal of Nutrition & Intermediary Metabolism), the researchers divided the participants into two groups. Participants in one group ate 12 eggs per week for a year while those in the other group ate no eggs for a year. At the end of the trial period, the egg-eating group showed no changes in serum cholesterol, lipoprotein cholesterol, and triglycerides levels compared with their levels at the beginning of the study, and showed insignificant changes compared with the no-eggs group. The same held true for levels of serum apolipoprotein A-1, apolipoprotein B, lipoprotein (a), and high sensitive C reactive protein.
    “This study suggests that the consumption of 12 eggs per week for 1 year does not significantly alter fasting serum lipids, lipoprotein cholesterol, or other biomarkers of CVD in older adults,” the authors concluded. – https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2352385918300070
    The biggest study yet does not show that it is dangerous to eat eggs. Scientists analyzed data from 177,000 people in 50 countries around the globe.People who consumed eggs were no more likely to have heart attacks or die from some other cause than those who did not eat eggs. The investigators had five to ten years of follow-up data on the participants, who reported eating up to an egg a day. Those who ate more eggs did not have higher cholesterol, but they did have lower blood pressure. – https://academic.oup.com/ajcn/article/111/4/795/5713417
    A large Finnish study from last year also suggested that people need not restrict the number of eggs they eat. In the Kuopio Ischemic Heart Disease Risk Factor Study, men who ate up to an egg a day had no higher risk of heart attacks than those who avoided eggs. – https://academic.oup.com/ajcn/advance-article-abstract/doi/10.1093/ajcn/nqz066/5490306?redirectedFrom=fulltext
    A 2016 Study from Findland – https://academic.oup.com/ajcn/article/103/3/895/4569580
    A review of clinical studies on dietary cholesterol and eggs demonstrated that dietary cholesterol has no negative effect on the cholesterol profile. Additionally, that dietary cholesterol may improve cardiovascular risk factors by making LDL particles less atherogenic – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5946211/

    1. Greg,

      Yours is long, but I will pause and say that

      Soy helps women avoid the problems of menopause.

      Plus, there are PLENTY of vegan sources of choline and those don’t cause the same problem with TMAO.

    2. It doesn’t help that the egg industry knowingly designed deceptive studies where they used people who already had high cholesterol.

      That makes it so important to look at each and every study for that design flaw.

      1. I just remembered Dr. Barnard’s logic.

        When scientists started researching cholesterol, only 7% of the studies were industry-funded and the results of the non-industry-funded studies were about the dangers of cholesterol.

        Now 92% – 92 studies out of every 100 studies on cholesterol ARE industry-funded and those are the studies that are designed to help eggs out.

    3. Greg Gray, don’t have time to go thru your long post, but in the first paragraph you state that one egg has 680mg. of choline. That is certainly not true!
      One egg has about 150mg. You would have to have 4-5 of them to get 680mg.

    4. This is the usual stuff from Greg.

      We’ve known for decades for example that the effects of added dietary cholesterol are affected by baseline dietary cholesterol consumption. In people with high baseline consumption (like most Americans), ‘little or no effect’ of added dietary cholesterol is expected. However, in people with a baseline dietary cholesterol intake of zero, a significant increase is serum cholesterol may be expected. Saturated fat consumption also affects serum cholesterol levels.
      https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/f23d/787252a77369c3c588f0cd0a3fa658d80b21.pdf

      This is why the egg industry both in the US and overseas continually funds (and widely publicises) studies that examine the effects of added dietary cholesterol from eggs on average Americans or other Westerners with high baseline dietary cholesterol and/or saturated fat consumption. They know that it will have little or no effect.

      Observational studies are also conveniently open to misinterpretation. For example, do people eating eggs eat less meat/refined carb/dairy/junk food etc as a consequence? If they do, we would expect little or effect. In Asian studies, are people who eat eggs the wealthier members of the community? Do they eat eggs in place of eg white rice or noodles? Then we might expect to see a benefit. Also if studies control for intermediate variables like serum cholesterol levels, BMI, blood pressure etc, then it’s possible that those studies are biased towards a null effect.

      In the end, we know from trials that for those with a baseline diet that contains zero cholesterol, adding eggs will significantly increase serum cholesterol levels in most people. We are also advised by the US dietary guidelines

      ‘ As recommended by the IOM,[24] individuals should eat as little dietary cholesterol as possible ….’ ‘

      https://health.gov/our-work/food-nutrition/2015-2020-dietary-guidelines/guidelines/chapter-1/a-closer-look-inside-healthy-eating-patterns/

      ‘As little as possible’ is zero for people eating well-planned WFPB diets. Yes, it might be better to better to eat eggs in place of red and processed meats though, or in place of full fat dairy. I’m not sure. But that question is pretty irrelevant to people eating healthful diets, anyways.

      Here are Dr Greger’s videos and posts on eggs
      https://nutritionfacts.org/?s=egg

      As he points out

      ‘For a food to be labeled “healthy” under FDA rules, it has to be low in saturated fat. Eggs fail that test—and less than 90mg of cholesterol per serving. Even half an egg fails that criteria. For the same reason you can’t tout “an ice cream” for healthy bones, you can’t say eggs are healthy—because they exceed the limit for cholesterol.

      Egg corporations aren’t even allowed to say things like “Eggs are an important part of a well- balanced, healthy diet” on an egg carton, because it would be “considered misleading,” according to the USDA’s National Egg Supervisor—”since eggs contain significant amounts of fat and cholesterol,” and, therefore, contribute to the leading killer in the United States, heart disease.’
      https://nutritionfacts.org/video/flashback-friday-who-says-eggs-arent-healthy-or-safe/

      That doesn’t stop the industry, its grant recipients and supporters, trying though.

  12. Great article but choline is present in many vegan foods such as broccoli and beans. What is the difference between TMAO elevation and platelet aggregation from meat/egg sources versus bean sources?

  13. I saw this today.

    There are a lot of outbreaks of things other than COVID around the world.

    They listed

    Dengue in Indonesia, Argentina, Brazil, Singapore, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Nepal.

    Ebola in the Congo

    Yellow fever in Ethiopia

    MERS in Saudi Arabia

    Measles in Mexico and Burundi

    African Swine Fever in South Africa and India

    Avian Flu with the birds in South Carolina

    https://qz.com/1854926/other-virus-outbreaks-erupt-alongside-coronavirus-worldwide/

  14. The other thing I was looking for were studies of the black community and Hispanic community and Vitamin D with specific conditions like cancer, heart disease, diabetes, etc.

    I ask for that to be a topic.

    I feel like we have radically failed those communities. Radically.

    Just remembering the study where Vitamin D supplementation led to less cancer for them and lower mortality for cancer. They should be studying them on every topic with that. I don’t even want one more back and forth Vitamin D study for everybody when they don’t even look to see who is deficient when they do the studies.

    I want the Black community and the Hispanic community and the Asian community to find out whether their lives could be saved.

    Honestly, I feel like Vitamin D is the line in the sand that proves racism in research. How many ridiculous studies have we had and they are the ones who desperately need the information?

  15. It doesn’t prove anything of the sort,

    How many studies do we see of the effects of drugs, diet, surgeries, supplements etc on older people ? Very few. Or studies of lower income people. Very few also. Does that prove ‘ageism’ and ‘classism’?

    The fact is that most people in Western societies are white and between 18 and 65, and not poor. That’s why most but not all studies look at white people between 18 and 65. No need to assume fanciful conspiracies. That’s just the majority of the population and the one with the biggest purchasing power.

    1. Tom,

      I understand what you are saying, but when I watched the documentary of the heatwave in Chicago, or COVID news or most cases of tragic outcomes, there is a disproportionately higher risk for the elderly, poor, and minorities.

      It is those very groups that are swamping our medical care right now.

      The heatwave documentary lady interviewing the millions and millions and millions of dollars of freely floating “prepping” for everything, we prep for everything except for how to protect the most genuinely vulnerable groups.

      Money materializes for abstract theoretical potential natural disasters which may never happen but not for very real situations that statistically are predictable and happening now.

    2. I am not seeing it as a conspiracy.

      People don’t care as much about the outcomes of those groups and there are no media generating compassion for them.

      With COVID, NY has empty hotels and empty convention centers, but they made a law that nursing homes had to take elderly people who tested positive for COVID AND they weren’t allowed to know if the elderly person tested positive.

      They didn’t even want to keep the resources open that still would have been available, they didn’t care enough about the elderly people to think of something else.

      They wouldn’t even allow the nursing homes or family members to know about it.

      There is a disregard for the lives of people we don’t care about.

      Then, we mobilize over someone else – based on generating compassion.

  16. Hi. Thanks for all your wonderful work. Just wanted to let you know that one of the links under the heading “Our gut flora are what we eat. Check out:” is wrong. The link for “How to change your Enterotype” just links to the previous video “What’s Your Gut Microbiome Enterotype?”

  17. B.S. if you use conventionally raised beef in your study you will get the results that you observed. If you use pastured and grass fed animals in your study you will get a different, more favorable outcome. You should become familiar with the teachings of “Weston Price”, and the foundation that continues in his name.

    1. Dave L,

      I am somewhat familiar with Weston Price. Which is why I don’t bother with his so-called “teachings.”

      But, since you bring him up: Here’s but one example of many that report on his foundation.

      “One of our readers requested a post about the Weston A. Price Foundation (WAPF). I knew it was not a trustworthy source of medical information, but I had not imagined just how atrocious it really was. After spending some time on the website, I realized that it is not just a cornucopia of false information about dentistry and nutrition, but is full of anti-vaccine propaganda and bizarre and dangerous health advice that could result in serious harm to patients.” https://sciencebasedmedicine.org/sbm-weston-prices-appalling-legacy/

  18. Today, Dr. Barnard spoke about the COVID virus potentially living for months in the refrigerator and for YEARS in the freezer.

    He mentioned this as to why meat could possibly hold the virus with the 10,000 meat-plant workers testing positive.

    1. I guess we already have the concept of meat viruses affecting us.

      The question is would the COVID-19 virus be one of the meat viruses affecting us.

      That is a strange concept that 10,000 people with COVID were handling meat and that meat would have COVID droplets on it because they didn’t have masks. Then, that meat was put in refrigeration and someone could put it straight into a freezer and might get sick years from now if they don’t wash their hands well enough after handling it.

      Theoretical, but not impossible.

      Highly probable that people will interact with the virus that method, even if they don’t get the virus.

  19. So I’ve been pretty much whole food plant based no oil, salt or sugar for 8 years but I’ve taken a carnitine supplement for a long time because of a diagnosed arrhythmia back in the early 2000’s. There are studies that show carnitine helps patients with severe heart failure and also those with arrhythmia. So now I am totally confused and wonder if I have undone all the good of this rather stringent, restrictive diet by taken one pill a day.

  20. Dr. Greger, what do you make of this statement by Dr, Davis? It has left me confused now on TMAO.

    TMAO

    Recall the headlines from Dr. Stan Hazen’s lab at Cleveland Clinic announcing that meat and fish consumption, rich in choline and carnitine, yields higher serum levels of trimethyl-N-amino oxide, or TMAO, that is associated with increased cardiovascular risk. Limited data also demonstrated that a vegetarian eating style was associated with lower TMAO serum levels. The media jumped on this, declaring that this confirms that red meat and fish are atherogenic and cause heart disease.

    Problem: Bowel flora was not factored in, dismissed as a black-box effect. More recent data have demonstrated that TMAO serum levels are dependent on bowel flora composition (though the clinical correlates of dysbiosis and SIBO remain uncharted).

    My conclusion:

    TMAO is an epiphenomenon in dysbiosis/SIBO that converts the native human diet to a potentially unhealthy situation, but it does not necessarily mean that choline/carnitine are atherogenic, inflammatory, or contribute to cognitive decline. It means that media pronouncements that meat and fish cause heart disease or dementia are unfounded and premature, based on insufficient microbiome assessment:

    1. Yes and no. All people tested that eat animal products have this dysbiosis that converts carnitine and choline into TMAO. If you’re an unprocessed plant eater, this lifestyle will, in the vast majority of cases, correct the dysbiosis so you could be challenged with some carnitine and/or choline and not transform it into TMAO.

  21. MD Ken D. BERRY and Paul Saladino said that the opposite is true. To who one people must bealive? Why doctor with a degree like MD say opposite things? I am confused. Help me. Thank you.

    Best regards

    1. There is no general rule for everyone. Many health facts published have controversial advice. Human diversity is great.

      General facts can be accepted. But it is not sure all individuals would equally benefit. Best to try and check if suitable for an individual.
      Wishing you good health and happiness!

  22. It’s a shame that the causes of heart disease has never been established by science. Depending on who you listen to it’s saturated fat, others will tell you it’s fat in general (Dr. Essy, Pritikin, McDougall,). Of courses we have the advocates of inflammation as the cause. Now we are being told it’s TMAO. The reality from what I see is that heart disease, stroke, dementia, stomach cancer and damage to the arteries in general comes from the excessive consumption of salt on decades of consumption. The Inter-salt study showed us the four small populations on this earth who eat little or no salt don’t suffer from any of these diseases. In 2005 a study was done at a major medical university is Israel. They discovered the mechanism for the reversal of heart disease. It was the reduction of systolic blood pressure. They showed reversal showing three wildly divergent diets, low fat (35%), the famous Med diet, and of all things the low carb diet. Now, how can these wildly different diets all show reversal? What they shared in common along with the reversals shown by Pritikin, Essy, Mcdougall and Ornish is that ALL eliminated processed and most restaurant food where depending on what study you believe 75 to 85 percent of our sodium intake comes from. It’s excess salt eaten for decades combined with the higher blood pressure of the arteries that causes damage to the arteries that the body tries to patch with cholesterol. So, want to reverse heart disease and most other chronic disease of modern society? Dump the salt from your diet. It isn’t meat, eggs, saturated fat or fat in general.

    1. One is unable to measure everyone the same way.
      In addition there are numerous factors alter metabolism. One’s ability to digest food, leaky gut, and many others.
      One of the factor investigated in Sweden altering metabolic balance was food intake in the evenings.
      Wishing you best!

    2. You’re partially correct. The clinical studies are quite clear that excess sodium consumption is a very serious problem for everyone. But so many clinical studies are also very clear that dietary fat and cholesterol consumption increases the risk of cardiovascular disease death, and decreasing their consumption saves lives. There is no doubt about this. Cardiovascular disease is a multi-factor disease.

      1. Ben,

        Since the entire world with the exception of the four small populations mentioned in the Inter-salt studies consumes dangerous levels of sodium there is no way of determining whether meat and dairy causes any kind of disease on top of excess sodium consumption. The four small populations mentioned vary widely in how much animal food they consume yet none of those populations suffer from heart disease or for that matter any other chronic disease. Don’t you find it interesting that every study done on heart disease reversal without exception (I’m including the Israeli study) regardless of what kind of food is consumed eliminates processed and restaurant food thus eliminating 75/82 percent of all sodium consumed? I also find it interesting that the Israeli study determined the mechanism for heart disease reversal was directly correlated with reduction in systolic blood pressure. It is the only common thread among all these reversals. Do you not find it interesting that Dr. McDougall brags that in his seven day program people drop on average four to seven pounds in that short period? It’s obvious the vast majority of this weight loss isn’t fat, but instead water. And why does this happen? Simple, a radical reduction in sodium intake compared to what these people normally eat. And let’s not forget Dr. Walter Kempner who reversed radically high blood pressure, heart failure and diabetic complications with a extremely low sodium diet. Make no mistake, it’s the sodium in our diets that are killing us. Some people are more or less sensitive to salt, but eventually it gets the vast majority of people. The statistics tells us that 72 to 86 percent (depending on which study you believe) of all people in the United States over the age of 65 suffer from high blood pressure. Is it the saturated fat in cheese on your pizza that causes high blood pressure and heart disease or is it the massive amount of sodium in that cheese on top of the sodium in the crust, sauce and pepperoni? It’s the salt. Sorry, but I’m very passionate about the subject.

  23. It looks so unprofessional calling people who regularly eat a steak, omnivores. As if the biological term only covers a single dietary act. Just say people who regularly eat a steak, we’re not babies here. Have some respect for our IQ’s.

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