The Lowdown on Lecithin

Lecithin (from the Greek word Lekithos which means egg yolk) provides a natural source of polyunsaturated fatty acids and essential fatty acids that are vital to the body. It also provides choline (which helps your body transport and synthesise fats) and inositol (a simple carbohydrate that occurs in animal and plant tissue and is a vitamin of the B group). Both of these are found in a highly absorbable “phospholipid” form. Phosphatidylcholine (phos–fa-tide-ill- ko-line) is a biologically super-active source of choline found in lecithin (often as strong as triple strength), which is the powerhouse component.

How does it work?

Lecithin is the main ingredient in lipoproteins, which are the cholesterol moving molecules in our bodies. Lipoproteins help to keep cholesterol moving freely so it doesn’t stick to our arterial walls and cause the medical conditions associated with this. Lecithin is well known to help manage cholesterol1 and support healthy circulation, both of which may also assist with reducing unhealthy blood clot formation and help maintain  liver health and function. Phosphatidylcholine has also been shown to support those with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.2

In addition to this Lecithin also supports immunity (all that slippery action helps protect the cells from free radical damage and invading viral attacks) – especially in those who suffer from diabetes and other chronic conditions.

Lower levels of phosphatidylcholine have also been found in those with brain disorders like alzheimer’s and dementia, depression and anxiety.3 Choline increases the production of acetylcholine (ACH) in the brain. ACH is a substance that transmits nerve impulses around the body and it is therefore very important for things like improving memory and concentration.

Where do you find lecithin in your foods?

Lecithin is found naturally in foods like egg yolks, soybeans, sunflower seeds and peanuts plus animal sources like whole milk, cream, liver, steak and fish – so it is important to eat a varied and healthy diet to consume it regularly.

Lecithin is widely used in the food industry as a food additive (emulsifier and stabiliser) to keep certain ingredients like fat and water from separating out. It is also widely used in the cosmetics industry for creams, lipsticks and conditioners. Natural health supplements traditionally extract lecithin from soy sources – so if you have a soy allergy it is best avoided, although most supplements do not contain sufficient soy protein to trigger an allergic response. If you have a history or genetic background that may indicate certain cardiovascular or neurological conditions taking lecithin as a regular preventative supplement may help support optimal health.

If you are on a search for natural Lecithin supplements you might try BioBalance Lecithin Granules. They are derived naturally from soybeans and can be eaten pure or added to cereals, salads and smoothies. You can buy them now from our secure online shop.

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1 Mourad AM , de Carvalho Pincinato E. Mazzola PG Sabha M, Moriel P. Influence of Soy Lecithin Administration on Hypercholesterolemia. Cholesterol 2010
2 Duric M, Sivanesan S, Bakovic M. Phosphatidylcholine functional foods and nutraceuticals: A Potent approach to prevent non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. European Journal of Lipid Science and technology 2012
3 Ploy C. Massaro JM, Seshadri S, Wolf PA, Cho E. Krall E et al: The relation of dietary choline to cognitive performance and white matter hyperintensity in the Framingham Offspring Cohort. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 2011

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