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Lecithin (another name for alpha-phosphatidylcholine) is a natural nutrient found in food and sold as a dietary supplement. Lecithin is not a singular element but a set of chemicals belonging to compounds known as phospholipids. Phospholipids are a kind of fat that helps maintain cell integrity and is crucial for the regular functioning of the brain, liver, nerves, and other essential organs.

Lecithin – A Remarkable Ingredient Possessing Several Benefits
What Is Lecithin?

Lecithin can be found in red meat, green vegetables, and eggs. Commercial preparations are usually made from soy, animal products, and egg yolk. Lecithin is taken as a supplement and is also used in the production of skin moisturizers, food emulsifiers (agents that prevent the separation of ingredients), and eye drops.

In addition, lecithin is said to lower cholesterol and cure some neurological and inflammatory diseases when taken as a supplement. Unfortunately, it is not officially permitted by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for these uses.

Other names for lecithin are ovolecithin, soy lecithin, egg lecithin , soya lecithin, sojalecithin, lecithin ex-soy, soy bean lecithin, soy phospholipid, vitelline, and vegilecithin.[1]

Lecithin is also in the plasma membrane of animal and plant cells. The healing properties of lecithin are numerous. This substance is used to combine different assortments of commercial products. It gels and thickens substances that are not usually miscible, such as oil and water.

In certain foods, lecithin is an element of low-density lipoproteins that help disintegrate cholesterol and fats and transport useful fats around the body. Today, one of the largest lecithin sources is soybeans. Lecithin is found in many products ranging from medicine to cosmetics to food to other commercial products commonly used today.

Lecithin Health Benefits

When consumed, lecithin is disintegrated into choline, which the body uses to convey fat, control metabolism, preserve the structural integrity of body cells, and smooth the nerve transmission process (by producing a neurotransmitter known as acetylcholine). Choline is not easily made in the body; most is gotten from the food we consume.

To date, however, there is no convincing evidence that further use of lecithin could be used to counter any medical condition.

It Improves Heart Health
Soy lecithin can improve cardiovascular health, especially for people at high risk of heart disease or high blood pressure. This is consistent with a study in which participants were given soy products to consume, including lecithin ingredients.

And according to research, the body takes longer to break down soy products due to their complicated disintegration process. Some feel fuller than usual after ingestion.[2]

It Helps Lactating Mothers
Some breastfeeding experts suggest lecithin as a solution to thwart frequent clogged breast ducts. Some recommend a dosage of 1,200 milligrams four times daily to enjoy this benefit.

According to research , it is generally accepted that lecithin can reduce the viscosity of breast milk, making it less probable to experience clogged breast ducts.[3] However, lecithin is not the best treatment for clogged breast ducts. Treat by:

  • additional pumping
  • massage
  • application of warm towels
  • Contact your breastfeeding counselor for additional suggestions

It Helps Improve Digestion
Lecithin has been experimented with in people with ulcerative colitis to cure their indigestion. As per study, the emulsifying properties of lecithin encourage the chain reaction that increases the mucus in the gut, facilitating the digestive process and protecting the soft mucosa in your digestive system.

Even if you are not suffering from ulcerative colitis but from other digestive conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome, lecithin can prove to be of benefit to you.

It Can Fight the Symptoms of Dementia
Lecithin possesses choline, a chemical the brain uses in communication. Research shows that a choline-rich diet can induce a keen memory and help people with Alzheimer’s disease.[4]

Lipids that contain choline, such as lecithin, can improve functional brain pathways. There is some conflicting evidence as to whether lecithin can treat people with neurological conditions and nervous system disorders. Still, until proven, it remains a far-fetched theory. Research into this is promising and progressing.

It Soothes and Moisturizes the Skin
Lecithin is an ingredient in some skin protection products. It is used as an emollient to induce softness and smoothness by restoring water to the skin. However, the lecithin used is in hydrogenated form.

There is little evidence that lecithin, when applied all by itself, can cure eczema and acne, although some use it for this purpose. Ingesting lecithin capsules could, in theory, improve your skin because it gives your skin good tones and stimulates other parts of the body, but this is, as said earlier, only a theory.

Possible Side Effects

Although lecithin supplements are normally considered safe, they are not prescribed the same way as prescription drugs. Therefore, it is vital that you contact your doctor before taking lecithin or any related supplement, especially if you are allergic, have other health problems, or are taking any medication.

Common side effects of lecithin (for humans and animals like dogs) may include:

  • Decreased appetite
  • Increased salivation
  • diarrhea
  • Abdominal pain
  • weakness

While allergic reactions are not unknown, it is a rare occurrence, even in people with a soy allergy. Soy lecithin does not possess enough soy protein to cause allergies, say experts from the Food Allergy Research and Resource Program (FARRP) of the University of Nebraska.

As a precautionary measure, lecithin should not be used by lactating women, pregnant women, or women attempting to conceive unless directed by a healthcare professional. Children should not be allowed to consume lecithin due to a lack of research.

Dosage and Preparation

Lecithin is available in the form of tablets, pills, granules, capsules, liquid, powder, or paste. There are no standard guidelines for the proper use of lecithin, although many manufacturers recommend a daily dose of 2400 mg for adults. In general, never exceed the recommended dose provided on the label.


 For safety, use supplements that have been tested by third-party certified bodies, such as NSF International and the U.S. Pharmacopoeia (USP). In addition to dietary supplements, there are also dietary sources of lecithin that can provide you with all the nutrients you need.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Does soy lecithin have gluten?

A: No, Soy lecithin does not contain gluten.

Q: Is lecithin an emulsifier?

A: Lecithin is a natural emulsifier from soft oil seeds with a wide range of functionality due to its exclusive properties.

Q: Is lecithin vegan?

A: If we are talking specifically about soy lecithin, we can answer very simply: yes, it’s vegan-friendly. Whether you call it soy lecithin or soy, there’s a hint in the title: it’s derived from soy.

Q: Does lecithin help with weight loss?

A: Lecithin earned a nickname (a natural emulsifier) due to its ability to burn fat and emulsify. It has therefore become an extremely popular supplement and weight loss facilitator. It is most known for its ability to burn fat and keep the liver in good condition, which improves metabolism.

Q: Can lecithin cause hair growth?

A: The primary reason soy lecithin induces hair growth is its supply of inositol and choline, both being emulsifiers and lipotropic agents.[5]

Q: Can lecithin cause diarrhea?

A: At normal doses, lecithin can cause side effects. This may include an upset stomach, loose stools, or diarrhea.

Q: Can dogs eat lecithin?

A: Lecithin is present in dogs and is vital for the well-being of all cells and thus averts health problems. If a dog isn’t given lecithin in sufficient quantities, it can be easily affected by diseases and viruses. Lecithin should not be given to dogs on specific diets (e.g. low-fat diets).

Read Also: Health Benefits of Clove

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