Egg intake and serum low density lipoprotein cholesterol in humans
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Cholesterol plays an essential role in the synthesis of cell membrane, bile acids, and steroid hormones as well as Vitamin D. Dietary cholesterol comes from only animal sources, such as meat, butter, cheese and eggs, and contributes about 20% per day to the body pool in humans. Chicken egg, which is a good source of essential amino acids, fatty acids, vitamins and minerals, contains approximately 213 mg cholesterol. Data available related to egg intake and the risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD) is inconsistent. Early research suggested that egg intake elevated plasma total cholesterol (TC) and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) identified as a major risk factor for CVD in humans. Recent studies show that dietary cholesterol may not be the actual factor in an individual's plasma TC, LDL-C and CVD. According to the latest nutrition recommendations, one egg may be eaten as long as one's total daily dietary cholesterol is limited to ≤300 mg per day. Health professionals suggest restricting dietary cholesterol to avoid elevating blood LDL-C and risk of CVD. This suggestion influences per capita consumption of the egg playing an important role in the nutrition of children and elderly people. This review focuses on egg intake, LDL-C and TC levels in the blood and the regulatory mechanism maintaining the homeostasis of serum cholesterol in the human body.