Lecithin is a fat-like substance called a phospholipid. It
is produced daily by the liver, if the diet is adequate. It is needed by every
cell in the body and largely makes up cell membranes; without it, they would
HealthSmart Nutrition's soy lecithin is a mixture of fatty substances that are
derived from the processing of soybeans. Studies show most soy-allergic
individual can safely eat products containing soy lecithin without experiencing
any allergic reactions.
Soy Lecithin provides a naturally-occurring combination of Phosphatidyl Choline
and other valuable phospholipids.
Just one tablespoon supplies a rich source of Choline (approx. 250 mg), almost
as much as one egg, but without the cholesterol!
Lecithin is important in preventing arteriosclerosis and assisting in protecting
against cardiovascular disease. Lecithin protects cells from oxidation, and
helps make up the protective sheaths surrounding the brain.
Using lecithin can improve brain function and has also been known to promote
energy. Lecithin is manufactured in the body by choline and inositol. It is
composed largely of B vitamins, phosphoric acid, choline, linoleic acid and
inositol. Lecithin is high in phosphorous and unites with iron, iodine and
W.S. Hartroff, M.D., Ph.D., reported in the American Journal of Public Health
that the lack of choline was found to head infants toward high blood pressure.
Furthermore, it has been found that a choline deficiency induced tendency to
high blood pressure can not be reversed. Interestingly enough, human milk
contains lecithin while cow’s milk does not.
Lecithin aids in the absorption of thiamine by the liver and is needed to help
repair the damage to the liver caused by alcoholism.
Although it is a fatty substance, it is also a fat emulsifier—lecithin enables
fats, such as cholesterol, to be dispersed in water and removed from the body.
Hence, it also supports the circulatory system by preventing fatty buildup in
the arteries and vital organs.
Without sufficient lecithin, the body cannot utilize the fat soluble vitamins
A,D, E, and K. Lecithin improves the digestion and utilization of these
When a person exercises regularly to improve their muscle tone, the amount of
lecithin contained in the muscles increases. This increase in muscle lecithin is
in part responsible for the greater endurance of the muscle.
Dr. H. Dietrich of Texas has found that often a diabetic''s insulin requirements
are reduced when lecithin is added to the diet.
Psoriasis is apparently due, at least in part to a faulty utilization of fat and
is usually accompanied by a high cholesterol level. Generally, with 3 to 5
tablespoons of lecithin granules per day cholesterol goes down and psoriasis
At Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York, Dr. David A. Druling found that
in patients with gallstones, gallstone attacks were cut in half by taking 13
grams of lecithin a day (a tablespoonful is 7.5 grams). Also, the size of
gallstones were greatly reduced in one patient.
Researcher Lehninge, in his book ''Biochemistry,'' found that proper function of
the sex glands and improved sexual function in general are often attributed to a
good amount of lecithin in the diet.
Choline assists detoxification reactions in the liver. Although choline can be
synthesised by the body from methionine, recent evidence indicates that choline
is an essential nutrient.
Many of choline's effects have a lot more to do with digestion than with brain
function. Yet there are components of lecithin that seem to play a critical role
in nerve function - and our brains, of course, are nothing more or less than
elaborate, busy nerves making interesting connections.
Lecithin forms naturally in all living cells of the body, and acts as an
emulsifier. It helps keep fatty substances in bile, which is essentially a kind
of juice produced by your liver. When lecithin is doing all it should, it also
eases digestion and helps your body absorb valuable nutrients.
Lecithin also helps to maintain the structural integrity of cells, says Steven
Zeisel, MD, Ph.D., professor and chair of the department of nutrition at the
University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill. ''Without lecithin, nothing would
survive, because you wouldn''t be able to separate the various compartments
within cells, nor would you be able to separate cells from each other.''
Lecithin also serves as a source of messengers used to help control blood
pressure and regulate insulin, the all-important hormone that helps unlock cells
so that blood sugar can be absorbed for energy. Without lecithin - derived
messengers helping to co-ordinate these activities, many cells would be at a
loss about what to do. ''You wouldn''t have the ability to send proper
signals,'' notes Dr. Zeisel. ''Everything would grind to a halt.''
Multiple sclerosis patients have significantly less lecithin in the brain and
myelin sheath than normal person. The autopsies also show that the lecithin that
is present in the brain and myelin sheath of these multiple sclerosis victims is
essentially composed of all saturated fatty acids and no unsaturated fatty
acids. Multiple sclerosis is also known to have a much higher incidence in
countries where the diet is high in saturated fats.
The liver exports fat. To do that, it must wrap the fat in an envelope
containing lecithin and certain proteins. When lecithin is unavailable, no
envelope can be made, and fat accumulates in the liver. Liver cells low in
lecithin fill up with fat and then die. Closely related to the way lecithin
benefits the liver is the way it helps to prevent gallstones.
Lecithin granules are 97%
pure phospholipids. Often referred to as oil-free lecithin, lecithin
granules have essentially all the natural soybean oil removed from them. This is
the only form of Lecithin that does NOT contain Lecithin Liquid. Lecithin
can be mixed with any foods consumed as a nutritional supplement. It has a mild
nutty flavor. One tablespoon of lecithin granules provides about 50% of
the new (DRI) Dietary Reference Intake Level for choline. These pure
Lecithin granules are the type we have available.
Types of Lecithin Supplements
made of Soy Flour and Liquid Lecithin. (sometimes referred to as Soy Lecithin
little liquid lecithin (soy oil containing lecithin) is mixed with soy flour.
Basically liquid lecithin (containing only 10% phosphatidylcholine) is added
back to the soybean it was extracted from. This product is then extruded and
looks like a small rabbit pellet about the size in diameter of a cake decorating
sprinkle. It contains only 3% phosphatidylcholine.
to the savvy consumer: Real
lecithin granules contain NO protein at all. If Protein is listed as an
ingredient on the label, you are looking at an imitation product made from soy
flour and liquid lecithin. The ingredient statement for REAL lecithin granules
is naturally simple: Lecithin. Don't be mislead by this product.
Lecithin (soy oil containing lecithin)
is the first form of lecithin, it has a 37% triglyceride level. The oil
part! It contains only 10% of the essential phosphatidylcholine,
the lecithin part. Many people with high cholesterol also have high triglyceride
levels and do best to supplement their diets with lecithin granules without the
high triglyceride levels of liquid lecithin.
Capsules (soy oil containing lecithin)
contain lecithin liquid. Most contain only 10% of the essential nutrient phosphatidylcholine.
One tablespoon of lecithin granules provides the same amount of choline as 10
large soft gel lecithin capsules (30 small size), and provides about 50% of the
new DRI. It is important to remember that these have a 37% triglyceride level.
made of pure lecithin you would need to consume 20 to 60 tablets to get 100% of
the recommended Dietary Reference Intake of choline. Central Soya has determined
through lab tests that pure lecithin tablets will not dissolve and be
assimilated by the body. To put lecithin in a tablet form the tablet must
contain a high percentage of dispersants. This increases the amount of tablets
needed to consume for your full recommended Dietary Reference Intake of Choline.
is a naturally-occurring group of phospholipids that's found in nearly every
living cell. Though the word lecithin is derived from the Greek "lekithos",
which means "yolk of an egg," the primary commercial source of
lecithin comes from the soybean. It is commonly referred to as soya or soy bean
.IT' S CRITICAL
TO CORONARY HEALTH & BRAIN AND NERVE FUNCTIONING
Approximately 30% of your brain is composed of lecithin. Of
the insulating and protective sheaths that surround your brain, spine, and
thousands of miles of nerves, lecithin accounts for two- thirds of their
composition; and of all the muscles in your body, your heart - the hardest
muscle to fatigue - has the highest lecithin content.
Lecithin is a nutrient compound which was first isolated from
egg yoke in 1850 by Maurice Bobley. Since that time, it has been shown to be
present in many foods. Soybeans and other legumes, grains, wheat germ, brewers
yeast, and fish, as well as egg yokes are all good sources of lecithin.
Biochemically speaking, lecithin belongs to a group of nutrients
known as lipids (fats, oils, waxes) and is a phospholipid called phosphatidyl
choline. It is important to note that since what is commercially called lecithin
is actually only one-third true lecithin. The other two-thirds is made up of
It was twenty five years ago, in 1958, that Dr. Lester M.
Morrison, director of a research unit at Los Angeles County General Hospital,
first published (Geriatrics, January, 1958) his findings that lecithin could be
used to lower cholesterol levels. In fact, Dr. Morrison reported that "lecithin
was found to be the most effective cholesterol lowering agent tested.." He
reported that 80% of his patients suffering from high serum cholesterol levels
showed an average decrease of 41% in serum cholesterol after taking lecithin for
Instead of "blocking" absorption of cholesterol in the
digestive tract as other cholesterol reducing agents did, lecithin enhanced the
metabolism of cholesterol in the digestive system and aided in its transport
through the circulatory system. The lecithin acted as an emulsifier and
broke down the fats and cholesterol in the diet into tiny particles and held
them in suspension, preventing them from sticking to blood platelets or arterial
walls. It is when fats are not properly emulsified, that they become
"sticky" and this is the major cause of blood clots, atherosclerosis,
and coronary thrombosis. Interestingly enough, researchers have since
demonstrated that atherosclerosis (blockage of the arteries) can be induced in
the laboratory by either increasing the cholesterol introduced into the body or
by decreasing lecithin intake.
Researchers Adams and Morgan have also shown that lecithin from
a vegetable source (soybeans) is more effective than lecithin from an animal
source (eggs) in accelerating the re-absorption of cholesterol back into the
blood stream that has adhered to the walls of blood vessels and caused blockage.
This difference is attributed to the fact that lecithin from
animal sources contains high amounts of saturated fatty acids, while lecithin
from vegetable sources are about 80% unsaturated fatty acids.
Another researcher, Dr. William Delamater, reported that in
older people, if sufficient lecithin was present in the blood, the blood fat
level returned to normal in about three hours after a high fat meal. But, if
there wasn't sufficient lecithin in the blood, fat and cholesterol levels
remained high for as long as twenty hours.
Most research studies using lecithin to lower cholesterol
levels have been done using 3-5 rounded tablespoons of lecithin granules daily.
After a period of three to four months, significant reduction in serum
cholesterol is usually observed.
Perhaps the most interesting new findings on lecithin concern
its connection with the functioning of the brain and nervous system.
Besides being an important factor in controlling cholesterol
levels and aiding coronary health, lecithin is involved in a myriad of body
functions. Every cell of your body contains lecithin. Lecithin is responsible
for maintaining the surface tension of the cell membrane. It therefore controls
what goes in and out of each cell, allowing nutrients in, or wastes out. Without
enough lecithin, the cell wall hardens, thus not allowing enough
nutrients in or wastes out. This means premature aging of cells. The
surface tension of the cell maintained by lecithin is also responsible for
transmitting nerve impulses and messages through or from the cell.
Perhaps the most interesting new findings on lecithin concern
its connection with the functioning of the brain and nervous system. A key
factor in proper brain and nerve transmissions is the presence of cellular
substance called acetylcholine. Acetylcholine deficiencies are linked with the
neurological disorders tardive dyskinesia (involuntary facial
grimaces and body jerking), Huntington's chorea (the disease that
killed Woody Guthrie). Friedrich's ataxia (speech
impairment, irregular movements, and paralysis), olivaponto-cerebellasatrophy
(wasting away of the brain), Alzhemer's disease (a mind
destroying disease that starts with memoiy difficulties), and myasthenia
gravis (progressive paralysis).
Until as recently as six years ago, medical researchers were
using choline chloride to help their patients who suffered from these insidious
brain disorders to produce more acetylcholine in their bodies. However, in 1977,
Dr. Richard Wurtinan and his colleagues at Massachusetts Institute of Technology
found that lecithin (which contains phosphatidyl choline) increased serum
choline levels more than three times as much as the previously used choline
chloride and kept those levels raised more than three times as long. This meant
that researchers had found a way to significantly raise acetylcholine levels in
their patients since acetylcholine production in the brain was dependent on
serum choline levels.
Dr. Wartman's research further astounded the medical community
by showing that choline was taken up directly by the brain and used almost at
once to help the brain make acetylcholine. This meant that the amount of
lecithin (phosphatidyl choline) furnished by each meal could have a direct and
almost immediate effect on the efficiency of the brain. Researchers
found this so surprising because it had long been believed that the so called
blood/brain barrier shielded the brain from such direct influences by nutrients
and substances that are excessive or lacking in the day-to-day diet. Only a few
substances such as alcohol or powerful drugs were thought to be able to cross
Dr. Allen Cott, A New York City Psychiatrist states, "I
learned from the work being done at Massachusetts Institute of Technology and
other places that giving 14 grams of Lecithin a day, two heaping
tablespoons, just about the best thing you can do for memory."
Scientists soon found to their delight that taking
lecithin produced no negative side effects as did other remedies
prescribed for brain dysfunctions. One researcher, Dr. Barbeau, at the
University of Montreal reported that patients suffering from olivoponocelebellar
atrophy (wasting away of the brain) showed a 30% improvement" after only
two months of taking 24 grams of lecithin daily.
Additional Findings on Lecithin's
Interaction in the Body
* Without sufficient lecithin, your body cannot utilize the fat
soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K. By adding an adequate amount of lecithin to
your diet, you could improve your digestion and utilization of these vitamins by
100% or more if your diet is now deficient in lecithin.
· When a person exercises regularly to improve their muscle
tone, the amount of lecithin contained in the muscles increases. This increase
in muscle lecithin is in part responsible for the greater endurance of the
· Dr. H. Dietrich of Texas has found that often a diabetic's
insulin requirements are reduced when lecithin is added to the diet.
· The importance of lecithin to the functioning of the body can
be realized in the fact that during starvation, when body fat and protein are
being broken down for energy, the lecithin in the body is not used for energy
except as a very last resort.
· Autopsies show that multiple sclerosis patients have
significantly less lecithin in the brain and myelin sheath than normal persons.
The autopsies also show that the lecithin that is present in the brain and
myelin sheath of these multiple sclerosis victims is essentially composed of all
saturated fatty acids and no unsaturated fatty acids. Multiple sclerosis is also
known to have a much higher incidence in countries where the diet is high in
· Psoriasis is apparently due, at least in part, to a faulty
utilization of fat and is usually accompanied by a high cholesterol level.
Generally, with 3 to 5 tablespoons of lecithin granules per day cholesterol goes
down and psoriasis clears up.
· At Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York, Dr. David A.
Druling found that in patients with gallstones, gallstone attacks were cut in
half by taking 13 grams of lecithin a day (a table spoonful is 7.5 grams).
Also the size of gallstones were greatly reduced in one patient.
· Researcher Lehninge, in his blood Biochemistry, found that
proper functions in general are often attributed to a good amount of lecithin in
· Bile, produced in the liver, is stored in the gallbladder.
This bile is comprised mostly of bile acids, lecithin, and cholesterol, and it
is necessary in fat metabolism. If sufficient lecithin is not present in the
bile, the cholesterol forms gallstones.
· Cirrhosis of the liver is no longer a disease of the heavy
drinker only. Being the body's waster disposal plant, many toxic materials, like
food additives, preservatives, insecticides, growth hormones, etc., all pass
through the liver. Lecithin and good general nutrition readily reverses liver
· Dr. Allen Cott, a New York City psychiatrist states, "I
learned from the work being done at Massachusetts Institute of Technology and
other places that giving 14 grams of lecithin a day, two heaping tablespoons, is
just about the best thing you can do for memory." Dr. Cott also used
lecithin to improve concentration and recall in learning disabled children, most
of whom are either schizophrenic or autistic. "Clinical observations
indicate about a 50% improvement, "Dr. Cott added.
· W.S. Hartroff, M.D., Ph.D., reported in the American Journal
of Public Health that the lack of choline was found to head infants toward high
blood pressure. Furthermore, it has been found that a choline deficiency induced
tendency to high blood pres sure can not be reversed. Interestingly enough,
human milk contains lecithin while cow's milk does not.
of the many healthful components of soybeans, lecithin and its primary
component, choline, are believed to play essential roles
cardiovascular health, l
and cell function,
and child development,
performance during endurance activities,
communications (cell signaling),
In fact, the science on
lecithin and choline nutrition is so compelling for long term health that it is
now established that choline is an essential nutrient.
Nutritionists define an essential nutrient as a substance required but not made
in adequate amounts by the body. Therefore, it must be obtained from the diet.
Proof that a nutrient is essential usually involves showing a deficiency disease
when the nutrient is withheld from the diet. For example, humans can make some
niacin but not enough to prevent pellagra. Therefore, niacin is an essential
nutrient for humans and must be obtained from our diet. Science
Daily Research News.
Does Lecithin Come From?
can be found in a wide variety of foods. Nature puts it there as a natural
emulsifier. Unfortunately, many of the richest sources of lecithin are also high
in cholesterol and fat. For example, egg yolks and meats are good sources of
lecithin. Grains, fruits and vegetables are much poorer sources. Because many
people have decreased consumption of fatty foods, their intake of lecithin may
Lecithin is also used in foods and in industry because it has very special
properties. Did you know that over 99% of the lecithin used commercially comes
lecithin is removed from soybean oil by injecting the oil with water, and then
separating the lecithin-water mixture from the oil in a centrifuge (like the
spin cycle in your washing machine), and drying the lecithin.
Recommended Dietary Allowances
the first time, the Food and Nutrition Board, the group within the National
Academy of Sciences that sets Recommended Dietary Allowances (RDAs) for vitamins
and minerals, has officially recognized the substance choline as an important
On April 7, 1998 the Board announced new Dietary Reference Intake levels (DRI)
of choline and a number of B vitamins. The Board recommends 425 mg of choline
daily for adult women and 550 mg for adult men. Because of a high requirement
for choline in growing fetuses and infants, they recommend intakes of 450 and
550 mg for pregnant and lactating women, respectively.
The Board's report comments on the role of choline in liver and heart health,
pregnancy and child development, exercise and other health issues.
All The Interest In Lecithin?
is the main source of choline in the diet occurring widely in a variety of
foods. Unfortunately, the richest sources of lecithin also tend to be high in
fat and cholesterol, such as eggs and organ meats. Lecithin supplements are
the best and most bio-available way to get supplemental choline! In fact,
taking granular lecithin provides a "timed release" form of choline,
raising blood choline levels higher and for longer periods of time than
equivalent amounts of choline chloride or other choline salts.
do you use Lecithin?
Ways to Use and Take Lecithin
Lecithin dietary supplements come in three forms: Liquid (thick,
syrupy), capsules and granules. All three contain phosphatidyl choline,
but the granules contain the highest concentration of it. It is best to take
your lecithin supplement with meals since it will act synergistically with other
All lecithin mixes well with peanut butter, tahini, spreads and
sauces. Since it is an emulsifier, it will make whatever you mix it with
smoother and creamier. People may find the oil naturally contained in liquid
lecithin and lecithin capsules aggravates complexion problems. They should use
lecithin granules. Soy Lecithin has a
natural, nutty taste so you can enjoy Lecithin as a daily food supplement in
many different ways…Sprinkle it on cottage cheese, yogurt, granola or cereal.
Blend it with orange juice or your favorite nutrition beverage. Add it to fresh
salads, fruit or mix with salad dressings. Use it to enhance soups, breads or
other baked goods. It also adds a little texture to sauces and spreads.
When possible, add the lecithin after the cooking is finished to help preserve
the nutrients naturally present in lecithin.
Whatever form of lecithin you decide to take,
be assured that you are helping both your body and mind to be at their best.
© 2005 HealthSmart Nutrition. All rights reserved.
Revised: May 21, 2006