Wednesday, 11 May 2011

Lecithin and Good Health

Lecithin.  I came across this nutrient yesterday while I was researching one L-carnitine, well that was for obvious reason because I wanted to reduce weight and get rid off my bulges.  So I
learned that lecitihin is one of those many nutrients that works wonders with our body, improving one’s health.  That’s why I decided to give it a try, well, I wanted my parents to try it, and so I went to buy
a bottle of 250 soft gels of Lecithin 1200 mg for only SG$ 37.50 from phar med (a pharmacy located at Fu Lu Shou Complex just infromt of OG near Bugis MRT). The brand is vitahealth (http://www.vitahealth.com.sg) It is being market as a supplement to improve not only cardio vascular but also liver and digestive health.

According to an article on lecithin published at www.nutritional-supplement-educational-centre.com

Lecithin is defined as one of a family of fatty compounds called phosphospholipids  and
is usually used as a synonym for phosphatidylcholine or PC. It is composed mainly of B vitamins, phosphoric acid, choline, linoleic acid, and inositol. It is needed by every living cell in the human body for
building cell membranes – all 600 trillion. These membranes control the passage of nutrients into and out of the cells as well as they protect cells’ interior structures.



In fact, without lecithin, the membranes in our body would harden and would no longer stay semi-permeable, then eventually our cells would die. As such, lecithin protects cells from the destructive effects of
oxidation, a naturally occurring process in the body due to the presence  of oxygen.


This essential fatty substance is also found in the protective sheaths surrounding nerve cells and muscles. It also plays a role in carrying out metabolic functions, especially in helping to break down cholesterol and other lipids.

The body only needs 30 to 50 grams of lecithin each day to enjoy the many health benefits it can provide.  Lecithin can be found  in several dietary sources which include liver and other organ meats, muscle meat,
egg yolks, as well as plant foods, particularly soybeans. It is also found in fish, legumes, peanuts, cabbage, wheat germ, and brewer’s yeast. Soybeans and egg yolks are rich sources.

Lecithin when taken in small doses has no side-effects. But,  it can cause diarrhea, weight gain, headache, nausea, gastrointestinal problems, vomiting and dizziness when taken in high doses. So we always
have to talk to our doctor first before adding any supplements in our diet.

So what benefits can we get from this supplement?  Many. Here are a list I have compiled in many readings, but we also have to use careful discernment on such matter as most of the articles had been published
for marketing purposes.

1) Lowers down cholesterol and improves cardio vascular health  .  It is choline found in lecithin that does the job of attracting the LDL or bad cholesterol in the blood and whisking it away in a manner
similar to HDL — that good cholesterol.  Lecithin keeps fat emulsified  and makes sure that it stays solvent in water in order that it won’t stick to the artery walls keeping it from being clogged.  This is the
reason why lecithin helps lower bad cholesterol and help keep arteries from clogging up promoting improved cardiovascular health. (please see the study conducted by cambridgerelative to this : http://journals.cambridge.org/download.php?file=%2FBJN%2FBJN75_03%2FS0007114596000487a.pdf&code=ce084e223478d7449f1f376d4cb1ef35)

2)  Prevents Gallstones.   Its ability to emulsify oils and hold them in solution plays a major role in preventing gall stone formation. Lecithin is a major component of bile, the digestive juices that breaks down fats. Some experts point out that low levels of lecithin in the bile have been linked to an increased risk of gallstones.
As such, taking lecithin supplements or its purified extract, phosphatidylcholine may help to avert often painful gallstones as well as promote gallbladder health. (source : http://www.nutritional-supplement-educational-centre.com/lecithin-supplements.html)

3) Prevents Liver Disease . There has been good clinical data to support the use of phosphatidylcholine for the
following liver disorders: toxic liver damage; drug-induced liver damage; diabetic fatty liver; decreased bile solubility; cirrhosis of the liver; chronic hepatitis; alcohol-induced fatty liver; and acute viral hepatitis. More specifically, in Germany, phosphatidylcholine is marketed for the treatment in these liver disorders and its use for these clinical applications has received proper authorization from the BGA, the German equivalent of the FDA.  (http://www.nutritional-supplement-educational-centre.com/lecithin-supplements.html)

4)  Improves Brain Function – In addition to the all of the above benefits of lecithin, phosphatidylcholine has been used in connection with bipolar disorder, Alzheimer’s disease, elevated cholesterol levels, and memory loss.


Studies and tests have been effective in showing the benefits of lecithin on brain function health. Lecithin provides an important substance that helps brain cells continue to communicate effectively. It
is this substance, called acetylcholine, which is found to be lacking in Alzheimer’s patients. Increasing lecithin in the diet can help not only those suffering from Alzheimer’s disease, but also boost memory for
people as they age.

5) Improves Reproductive Health – Lecithin is important for fetus development in the womb, especially for the
development of the brain and nervous system. Pregnant women should consult their doctor before adding lecithin to their diet. (source :  www.ehow.com)

6) Prevents hardening of the arteries and cell membranes -  Lecithin contains essential fatty acids that decrease the risk of cell membranes hardening. For this reason it may be beneficial in helping
reduce the pain of arthritis and helps prevent arteriosclerosis.

7) Aids in Weight Loss – Because lecithin assists in  the breakdown of fat it is believed to be beneficial for weight loss. However, even though lecithin assists in keeping fat from attaching to
artery walls, it doesn’t actually flush the fat from the system. Lecithin is healthy for many reasons but researchers do not yet have proof that it will actually help you lose weight.

However, the research conducted by Christine Lawhon on Lecithin  Supplement’s Effectiveness in Weight Loss claimed that there had been no  study conducted yet or proven evidence that lecithin supplements helps
in weight loss. (http://www.vanderbilt.edu/AnS/psychology/health_psychology/LECITHIN_SUPPLEMENT.htm)

-Sharosem(11May2011)

(sources : www.nutritional-supplement-educational-centre.com; www.ehow.com; http://www.asiatecsingapore.com/AdsensewithContent/129_Lecithin/SITE/Lecithin_and_Cholesterol.html; http://www.lecithinguide.info/lecithin-benefits.html; http://www.vanderbilt.edu/AnS/psychology/health_psychology/LECITHIN_SUPPLEMENT.htm)

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