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- In 2017, Cleveland Clinic researchers found that a nutrient that’s found in eggs also was linked to an increased risk of heart attacks and stroke when consumed as a supplement. Researchers later found that consuming eggs is not connected to such an increased risk.
An unnerving headline started circulating on social media in January full of dietary drama and COVID-19 vaccine innuendo.
"Scientists warn eggs are causing thousands of people to ‘suddenly’ form blood clots," the headline said.
"Come on!" said one Facebook post sharing a screenshot of it.
"You have got to be kidding me," another said.
"It’s most certainly not being caused by the safe, most effective, longest lasting, most studied, best forming vaccine mankind has ever produced," one snarky Instagram post chimed in.
These posts were flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Meta, which owns Facebook and Instagram.)
Multiple posts featuring this headline cast doubt on the idea that eggs were "suddenly" causing blood clots, and suggested instead that COVID-19 vaccines were to blame. The word "suddenly" has become shorthand for claims that the vaccine is responsible for someone’s death, and alludes to "Died Suddenly," the title of an anti-vaccine movie that promotes unsubstantiated conspiracy theories about COVID-19 vaccines.
But there’s nothing sudden about this headline, which is wrong and inaccurately refers to an old study from 2017, three years before the COVID-19 pandemic started.
We contacted the clinic, which sent us a statement by the study’s authors, who saidt the NewsPunch post "does not accurately represent the findings of our 2017 research."
What did the study actually find? That taking supplemental choline in a capsule raised levels of trimethylamine N-oxide, or TMAO, which increased a risk factor for events such as heart attack and stroke.
Or as the clinic put it in a 2017 press release about the research: capsules of choline, a nutrient found in egg yolks, red meat and processed meats, were linked to increased production of a gut bacteria byproduct that increased the risk of blood-clotting events like heart attacks and strokes.
But "the research did not show a direct link between egg consumption and ‘suddenly forming blood clots,’" the authors said in the statement.
What’s more, the clinic said, a subsequent study in 2021 by the same researchers found that the simple consumption of eggs did not have the same increased risk.The study’s title, in the American Journal of Medicine? Emphasis ours: "Dietary choline supplements, but not eggs, raise fasting TMAO levels in participants with normal renal function: a randomized clinical trial."
We rate this headline False.
Facebook post, Jan. 26, 2023
Facebook post, Jan. 26, 2023
Instagram post, Jan. 25, 2023
News Punch, Scientists Warn Eggs Are Causing Thousands of People to ‘Suddenly’ Form Blood Clots, Jan. 24, 2023
Express, Blood clots: Compound found in eggs linked to an enhanced risk of blood clotting, Jan. 25, 2022
PolitiFact, 'Died Suddenly' repeats debunked COVID-19 vaccine claims, promotes conspiracy theory, Nov. 29, 2022
Cleveland Clinic statement, Jan. 27, 2023
Reuters, Diet and gut bacteria linked with blood clots, April 24, 2017
The American Journal of Medicine, Dietary Choline Supplements, but Not Eggs, Raise Fasting TMAO Levels in Participants with Normal Renal Function: A Randomized Clinical Trial, 2021
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