Eggs and prostate cancer
Eggs and Prostate Cancer

All North American men will eventually develop prostate
cancer if they live long enough, but scientists still
do not know the cause or causes. Men in rural China
develop prostate cancer at one twentieth the rate of
North Americans (Cancer Biol Med, Jun 2012; 9(2): 128
132), so researchers look at differences in the
environment for possible causes. At this time the most
likely dietary culprits appear to be eggs, meat, milk
and chicken. These foods are all sources of choline,
lecithin, creatine and creatinine, nutrients that are
converted by bacteria in your gut to TMAO, a chemical
that can cause cancers. TMAO can also punch holes in
arteries to start the formation of plaques that cause
heart attacks (N Engl J Med 2013; 368:1575-1584). More

 Two new studies show that eating two eggs per week
increases blood and urine concentrations of TMAO
significantly (The American Journal of Clinical
Nutrition, Sep, 2014;100:3:741-3 and Am J Clin Nutr
August 2014). Choline is an essential nutrient that is
required for normal human liver and muscle functions
and important for normal fetal development, and eggs
are one of the richest sources of choline. However, a
study of 47,896 men showed that a high intake of
choline was associated with an increased risk of the
type of prostate cancer that kills (Am J Clin Nutr,
2012 Oct;96(4):855-63).

 An earlier study showed that men who eat more than two
eggs a week have an 81 percent increased risk of the
type of prostate cancer that can kill them, compared to
men who eat less than 0.5 eggs per week (Cancer Prev
Res (Phila), Dec 2011;4(12):2110-21). In another study,
researchers at Harvard Medical School followed more
than a thousand men with early stage prostate cancer
for a couple years and found that, compared to men who
ate eggs only on rare occasions, those who ate two to
five eggs a week had double the risk of the prostate
cancer spreading through their bodies. Those who ate
chicken skin (another rich source of choline) regularly
had four times the risk of cancer spreading. However,
they did not find any link between consuming red meat,
fish or skinless poultry and prostate cancer recurrence
or progression (Am J Clin Nutr, 2010 Mar;91(3):712-21).
This surprised me since red meat is a rich source of

My Recommendations
 While the researchers sort out the significance of the
new data on choline and prostate cancer, I believe that
it is prudent to limit choline-rich foods such as eggs,
meat, poultry and dairy products. We do not know how
much of these foods you can eat safely. See also: Do
Eggs Increase Heart Attack Risk?