Do Eggs Cause Heart Disease?

Several recent studies linked increased levels of a metabolic product of dietary choline with higher risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD) (Wang  et al., 2011; Tang  et al., 2013) through a mechanism that involved gut microbiota-produced trimethylamine oxide (TMAO). These studies have sparked considerable scientific (and non-scientific) discussion, with health advice from some groups suggesting avoidance of meat and eggs (significant sources of choline) and from others suggesting that the findings have been vastly overinterpreted.

A recent publication from Katie Meyer, Sc.D., along with other researchers at UNC Chapel Hill and three other institutions, adds new data to this ongoing controversy. Meyer  et al. asked whether plasma TMAO levels were predictive of CVD risk in initially asymptomatic young adults (mean age 40) over a ten-year follow-up. This is an important question because the original three-year study involved an older population (mean age 63) that was already at high risk for CVD. The Meyer cohort, therefore, would be better able to discern early events associated with CVD risk.
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Sugar-Sweetened Beverages Increase Risk for Hyperuricemia

According to the Centers for Disease Control, sugar-sweetened beverages are the largest source of added sugar in the average American’s diet, and the Dietary Guidelines for Americansrecommend individuals consume no more than ten percent of calories per day from processed or added sugar. From the UNC Chapel Hill Nutrition Research Institute (NRI), scientists are investigating the connection between these beverages, human genetics, and uric acid metabolism.
Hyperuricemia, which is an excess of uric acid in the blood, is often known for causing gout, but high levels of uric acid in the body are also linked to kidney disease and heart disease. Sugar-sweetened beverages make up a large percentage of products in the average person’s diet, and researcher Saroja Voruganti, PhD, an assistant professor of nutrition at the NRI, is working in collaboration with the MURDOCK Study to investigate the impact of sugary drinks on uric acid in the body. Both the NRI and the MURDOCK Study are partners at the NC Research Campus (NCRC) in Kannapolis.
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This study is recruiting participants: African-American, Hispanic and Caucasian participants, between the ages of 30 and 50. Must be free of diabetes, fructose intolerance, and chronic kidney disease. Eligible participants will be compensated once the study has been completed. If you are interested call 704-250-5060 today. You can learn more here. 


Funding for Important Epigenetic Studies

Two new grants received by the Ideraabdullah lab at the NRI will help fund research in epigenetics over the next year. Folami Ideraabdullah, Ph.D., and her lab won a grant from The North Carolina Translational and Clinical Sciences Institute (NC TraCs) for the “Role of epigenetic factors in beta-cell dysfunction in type 1 diabetes.” That project’s goals are to identify epigenetic biomarkers that distinguish slow vs. rapid beta-cell decline in type 1 diabetes. For the next year, the lab will also conduct a research project called “Profiling an endocrine disruption model for risk assessment of epigenetic outcomes” with the goal of identifying susceptible targets of epigenetic response to the endocrine disrupting chemical vinclozolin. This study is being funded by a UNC Center for Environmental Health and Susceptibility (CEHS) Pilot Project Award.

2015-2016 Impact Report

Our 2015-2016 Impact Report is now available to view online. Because of gifts from people like you, who recognize the imperative of supporting our research, we have been making great progress.
In the past year 112 NRI employees made their contributions to nutrition research, under the leadership of 15 top-tier faculty scientists.
This report contains synopses of NRI research in such topics as Obesity-Cancer Connections, Breakthroughs in Understanding Antioxidants, and our continual effort to Build Better Baby Brains.
Read how our public programs reached more than 1,200 people last year – keeping community members abreast of nutrition-related research as it unfolded. And we held the inaugural workshop on nutrigenomics for scientists and medical practitioners. You can read all about it in this new impact report.
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