Can Eggs Trigger Prostate Cancer?

19 Jun 2019
Can Eggs Trigger Prostate Cancer?
Read time: 5 min
Category: Health

There may be a straightforward and simple answer to this question-it's a nutrient called choline. Having a high level of cholesterol in eggs yolks doesn't help, either. Though choline is an essential nutrient/vitamin (similar to a B vitamin) for human liver and brain health, having too much of it in your diet can turn its positive effects into a potential negative.

Next to five ounces of raw beef liver, which contains the greatest concentration food source of choline, one of the highest concentrations of choline is found in a single egg, which has an amount equal to a half pound of chicken. The more eggs a person consumes, per day or per week, the greater their exposure to potential choline intoxication.

A pioneering research study, showing the link between choline and prostate cancer risk, was published in 2009, by the journal Cancer Epidemiological Biomarkers Preview. The research team analyzed plasma concentrations of choline in 1,034 men in Sweden and compared the results to the inci­dence of prostate cancer. The study concluded: "The results of this large prospective study suggests that elevated plasma concentrations of choline ... may be associated with an increased risk of prostate cancer."

Subsequent research, showing a choline link to lethal prostate cancer, came out in 2012, in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. The study of 47,896 men had their diet ( consumption of meat, poultry and eggs) and their prostate cancer incidence all assessed. The study team found: "Men in the highest quintile of choline intake had a 70% increased risk of lethal prostate cancer."

As pointed out in the 2011 Cancer Prevention Research study, cited earlier, "eggs are particularly rich dietary sources of choline and cholesterol, which are highly concentrated in prostate cancer cells, and blood concentrations of both nutri­ents have been positively associated with risk of advanced prostate cancer . . . malignant prostate cells have greater uptake of choline compared to normal cells."

More Research on Eggs and Prostate Cancer

A group of cancer studies further reported the following: "Associations between dietary factors and prostate cancer were examined in a consortium of 15 cohort studies {involv­ing 52,683 incident prostate cancer cases.} Participants who ate more than 25 grams a day of eggs had a significant 14% increased risk of advanced and fatal cancers."

"Data were derived from 326 cases with incident and micro­scopically confirmed adenocarcinomas of the prostate and 652 controls. We identified the following food items as risk factors: lamb meat, salted meat, whole milk, total eggs, and red meat consumption. The highest association was with total eggs."

"There is some suggestion that dairy products, red meat, processed meat, and higher intakes of eggs may play some role in the development of prostate cancer."

"Meat, milk, and eggs are sources of choline-a nutrient that may affect prostate cancer progression through cell mem­brane function and one-carbon metabolism. Our objective was to examine whether dietary choline, choline-contain­ing compounds, and betaine ( a choline metabolite) increase the risk of prostate cancer. We prospectively examined the intake of these nutrients and the risk of lethal prostate cancer among 47,896 men in the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study. Men in the highest quintile of choline intake had a 70% increased risk of lethal prostate cancer."

"We prospectively examined total, unprocessed, and pro­cessed red meat, poultry, and eggs in relation to risk of lethal prostate cancer among 27,607 men followed from 1994-2008. There were suggestive positive associations between post ­diagnostic poultry (3.5 or more servings per week) and risk of progression of localized prostate cancer to lethal disease. Men who consumed 2.5 or more eggs per week had an 81 % increased risk of lethal prostate cancer compared to men who consumed less than 0.5 eggs per week."

"We conducted a prospective study in 1,294 men with pros­tate cancer, without recurrence or progression as of 2004--2005, who were participating in the Cancer of the Prostate Strategic Urologic Research Endeavor and who were followed for an average of two years. Greater consumption of eggs and poultry with skin was associated with a 2-fold increase in risk. Men with high prognostic risk and a high poultry intake had a 4-fold increased risk of recurrence or progression compared with men with low/intermediate prognostic risk and a low poultry intake."

Upcoming Prostate Cancer Event at HHI


Associations between unprocessed red and processed meat, poultry, sea­food and egg intake and the risk of prostate cancer: A pooled analysis of 15 prospective cohort studies." Wu K. Et al. Int J Cancer. 2016 May 15.

Food groups and risk of prostate cancer: a case-control study in Uru­guay. Deneo-Pellegrini H, Et al. Cancer Causes Control, 2012 July.

Dietary habits and prostate cancer prevention: a review of observational studies by focusing on South America. Niclis C, Et al. Nutr Cancer. 2012.

Choline intake and risk of lethal prostate cancer: incidence and sur­ vival. Richman EL. Et al. Am J Clin Nutr. 2012 October. 57 "Egg, red meat, and poultry intake and risk of lethal prostate cancer in the prostate specific antigen-era: incidence and survival." Richman EL. Et al. Cancer Prev Res. 2011 December.

Share article: