What Happens To Your Gut Health When You Eat Lots Of Eggs

Eggs are a lean protein source that have gone through a gamut of accusations and applause over time. While fitness enthusiasts turn to it as a cheap and easy way to load up on protein, the health community has moved from calling it an enemy of cardiovascular health to apparently not having a bearing on someone's blood cholesterol levels. 

Enter the topic of gut health. Perhaps it's the incidence of irritable bowel diseases (IDB) like Crohn's and ulcerative colitis or other digestive issues like bloating, gas, and diarrhea, or the fact that your gut health affects a lot of other things like your immune system, mental health, digestion, sleep, and risk of diabetes, heart disease, and autoimmune disorders — whatever the reason, it's natural to wonder how the humble egg fits into all of this. Does it benefit your gut or not? 

Turns out that eating eggs regularly can be beneficial for those with IBD, especially when they're in the middle of a flare. The easily digestible form of protein found in eggs can help heal your gut, according to registered dietitian Keren Gilbert (via Everyday Health).

Eggs contain other gut-friendly nutrients

Eggs are often recommended by gut health doctors because they are affordable and packed full of gut-friendly nutrients like vitamins A and D, omega-3 fatty acids, and the amino acid methionine. 

If you were privy to the research surrounding the choline content in eggs and the idea that it increases the production of trimethylamine-n-oxide, or TMAO, in your gut microbiome (which in turn puts you at risk for heart attacks or strokes), medical experts have since debunked this theory. As explained by family physician and functional medicine specialist Dr. Mark Hyman, the study done in 2017 was very small (18 subjects) and only linked supplementary choline with an increase in TMAO. A subsequent study done in 2021 and published in the American Journal of Medicine found that it was supplemental choline and not dietary choline found in eggs that caused such a spike. Choline is an important nutrient for brain and cell health, and the choline found in eggs is very different from pharmaceutically produced supplemental choline, according to Dr. Hyman. "Having a few eggs every day is no problem," shared the physician, even for those with cholesterol concerns. 

What, then, does this mean for gut health? Can everyone eat the safely recommended 1-2 eggs a day?

A few concerns with gut health and egg consumption

Your gut microbiome is unique, and it is influenced by your overall diet, not just the consumption of eggs. For example, a diet high in saturated fat and processed food is thought to negatively alter your gut microbiome. In fact, egg consumption wasn't linked with any changes in your gut microbiome. 

What this means is that how you tolerate eggs may not be how someone else would. For example, some people may experience gas because of the sulfur content in eggs, per GI Society. Also, if you have digestive issues like irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), eggs might not be well tolerated, especially when you're constipated. "If your symptoms lend toward abdominal pain and constipation, eggs can worsen IBS. Eggs are packed with proteins, which can exacerbate constipation," explained gastroenterologist Dr. Christine Lee (per Cleveland Clinic). Plus, there's also the possibility that you might be allergic to eggs.

The bottom line is that eggs offer a lot of nutritional benefits that can be important for people with gut issues (and even for those without). While experts often recommend this lean protein for people with diarrhea and Chron's as a way of getting beneficial nutrients in a more tolerable manner than other animal proteins, you may want to discuss adding more eggs to your diet if you're concerned about how it might exacerbate any digestive issues you may have.