Lecithin Benefits and Side Effects

Lecithin is a phospholipid or fat that’s needed in small levels by all cells in body.  Was first isolated in 1846 by the French chemist Theodore Gobley. Lecithin is an important component of every cell. However the highest concentration is found in the vital organs like your brain, heart, liver and kidneys. Almost 30 percent of your brain is composed of lecithin. As a important component of the cell membrane, lecithin acts as an emulsifier, keeping the essential fatty acids apart from other molecules within the cell. Lecithin consists mainly of B vitamins, inositol, choline, and phosphoric acid, with some linoleic acid.

Natural Lecithin Food Sources

Foods rich in lecithin include egg yolks, soybeans, legumes, grains, peanuts, wheat germ and yeast.

Lecithin Benefits

Researches demonstrates that lecithin may have numerous effects, including the maintenance of a wholesome liver, a healthy heart and circulatory system, and healthy pregnancy and child improvement. Choline, (a major component of lecithin), has been shown to support wholesome nervous system function. Also, lecithin helps the body to absorb vitamin E, which is a fat-soluble vitamin.

Heart Health

Lecithin acts as a solvent for triglycerides, cholesterol, and other fats. Lecithin is an emulsifier that helps break down fats, so helping to maintain a wholesome heart and blood vessels. Some researches showed that lecithin has important effects on lowering triglyceride and cholesterol levels, while increasing HDL cholesterol, in the blood. One study by the “Washington University School of Medicine” found that reduce cholesterol levels by regulating fat metabolism in the liver. In 2002 scientists at Wake Forest University School of Medicine demonstrated that a lack of lecithin could increase atherosclerosis. According to a research reported in the 2009 of  ‘ Cholesterol,’ lecithin reduced total cholesterol by up to 42%, and LDL-cholesterol (low density lipoprotein) by up to 56% in participants with high cholesterol. A new study published in 2010, was  40% to 50 % reduction in total and LDL cholesterol levels.

Brain Health

LecithinA critical factor in healthy  brain and nerve transmissions is the presence of cellular substance named acetylcholine. Lecithin is used by the body to produce the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, helping to keep a limpid mind. Acetylcholine deficiencies are linked with the neurological disorders Friedrich’s ataxia, tardive dyskinesia, olivopontocerebellar atrophy, myasthenia gravis and Alzheimer’s disease.

Studies have shown that individuals taking lecithin have noteworthy amelioration in memory test scores and fewer memory lapses than those who took the placebos. Helpful effect on long-term memory has been showed after administration of 35 g lecithin for four to six weeks. In 1975, researchers at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) proved that lecithin choline has a prompt effect on the brain’s capability to make a chemical  important for nerve signal transmission.

Alzheimer’s can be caused by a change in production of acetylcholine. Lecithin produces the neurotransmitter acetylcholine which enables communication and signal-transmission between brain cells. Lecithin is part of the myelin sheath that surrounds and insulates nerve fibers. Autopsies demonstrate that multiple sclerosis (MS) individuals have less lecithin in the brain and myelin sheath than normal persons.

Liver Health

Lecithin includes phosphatidylcholine which is an component of cellular membrane. Phosphatidylcholine has shown to be useful against liver diseases such as liver damage, alcoholic fibrosis, liver cirrhosis. In one double-blind study, it developed the effect of interferon in patients with chronic hepatitis C. In Europe, phosphatidylcholine is  used to treat liver ailments, such as alcoholic fatty liver, alcoholic hepatitis, viral hepatitis and liver cirrhosis.


Bile, made by the liver and stored in the gallbladder. Cholesterol makes up most types of gallbladder stones. Inadequate levels of lecithin in bile may increase the risk of gallstones. Lecithin is  a natural fat emulsifier, and provides protection against the negative effects of bile salts.

Ulcerative Colitis

Ulcerative colitis is an inflammatory bowel disease that causes long-term inflammation in part of your digestive tract. Ulcers form where inflammation has killed the cells that generally line the colon. Symptoms include rectal bleeding, diarrhea, weight loss, abdominal cramps, rectal bleeding, fatigue and fevers. Long-term ulcerative colitis is a risk factor for colon cancer. Also, among young children, this disease, may delay growth and development. A double-blind, placebo controlled study of 60 participant whose ulcerative colitis was poorly responsive to corticosteroids were randomized to receive either phosphadylcholine (two grams daily dose) or placebo for twelve weeks.  Half of the patients taking phosphadylcholine demonstrated a important development in symptoms versus just 10 percent taking placebo.

Side Effects

Using lecithin supplements is usually considered safe. But, some people taking high dosages experience side effects, such as abdominal discomfort, gas, bloating, diarrhea, and nausea.

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