Lecithin – Good for you!

Lecithin is a particular fat that is needed by every living cell in the human body. In the 1960’s and 1970’s, lecithin was a popular food supplement because of its health benefits. While lecithin is not as popular as it was, it still has significant health benefits and is worth consideration.
Lecithin is known for helping to prevent arteriosclerosis, protecting against cardiovascular disease, improving brain function, facilitating repair of the liver and promoting energy. Lecithin is a fat emulsifier. It enables fats such as cholesterol to be dispersed in water and removed from the body. It also protects vital organs and arteries from fatty buildup.
Most commercial lecithin is derived from soy. The best food source of lecithin is egg yolks. Part of the controversy surrounding eggs and cholesterol revolves around the lecithin content of the egg yolk. Since egg yolks are an excellent source of lecithin they are considered beneficial in reducing cholesterol only if the cooking method preserves the lecithin content. Cooking at high temperatures denatures or destroys the lecithin. This means that any form of cooking that results in runny yolks preserves the lecithin and makes the egg beneficial in reducing cholesterol. Egg yolks cooked solid do not have the same benefit.
Documented health benefits of lecithin include the following. Lecithin helps to prevent and treat atherosclerosis by lowering total cholesterol, lowering triglycerides, lowering LDL cholesterol and increasing HDL cholesterol. Lecithin reduces the risk of gallstones and in some cases has reduced the size of existing gallstones. Lecithin helps to repair liver damage caused by alcohol consumption. Lecithin also helps psoriasis that is related to faulty fat metabolism.
Lecithin is critical in the body’s ability to utilize the fat soluble vitamins A, D, K, and E. Adding lecithin to your diet could help with utilization of any and all of these essential vitamins.
Lecithin is an important component of brain and nerve tissue. It is particularly concentrated in the myelin sheaths that serve as the protective coating of the nerves. Lecithin helps to prevent age associated memory impairment and may prevent further deterioration of mental function in Alzheimer’s patients.
Parts of the lecithin family are becoming popular health supplements. These are phosphatidylcholine and phosphatidylserine. While phosphatidylcholine has primarily the same benefits as lecithin, phosphatidylserine has tremendous brain and nerve benefits. These include alleviating dementia and early symptoms of Alzheimer’s. Phosphatidylserine also improves memory, attention span and learning ability. Another benefit of phosphatidylserine is that it reduces excessive release of the stress hormone cortisol.
Lecithin is available in granules, liquid or softgels. The best source for phosphatidylcholine supplementation is lecithin. Phosphatidylserine is available in a concentrated form and is sold in 100mg increments.

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About NaturalCowgirl

Margaret Durst has been involved with natural health for over 20 years. In her early 30s, she was faced with a medical diagnosis that recommended a lifetime of prescription drugs. In her heart, she knew that there must be an alternative way to healing and health and thus began her journey into natural health. Along the way, Margaret has trained with many different natural health practitioners and earned a degree in Naturopathy. She established her nutritional consulting practice and opened The Green House in 2003 to enable her mission of helping people navigate the natural health maze. People have praised Margaret for intuitive ability to help people address their health issues and goals with diet and lifestyle choices and successfully take responsibility for their health and wellbeing. This comes from Margaret’s deeply held beliefs in the body’s innate ability to heal and in the tools nature provides for health and healing.
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9 Responses to Lecithin – Good for you!

  1. Nix says:

    Hi Margaret,
    Thank you for posting this article about lecithin!

    Was curious about lecithin sourced from sunflower seeds, any therapeutic effect? (as I have a soy allergy).

    & I am curious to hear you briefly weigh in on the, questionable, study citing eggs are as dangerous to your health as smoking cigarettes.

    Thank you!

    • Yes on the therapeutic effect of Sunflower sourced lecithin. Lecithin from any source should have the benefits I referenced in the article.

      And…. Studies… – we can make them say whatever we want. Was this one funded by the egg substitute people?

      Thank you for reading my articles and caring enough to comment.

      • Nix says:

        Around mid-August this year, a story hit the news about eggs being as bad as smoking. The study was published in the journal, Arthersclerosis, conducted by a Canadian team of researchers & was widely circulated in news outlets from the New York Times to The Huffington Post, etc. The first webpage below links to an article citing the study, and the following web page links to an article questioning the validity (in the same way I’d expect any critical thinking person would review such information). (I realize my “source” is just another blogger, which is why I’m posing it to you as I find your credentials to be valid & you make sound, well-informed judgments.) Just curious if you’ve encountered this in your professional practice, have any experience or position on the health/unhealthy claims for/against egg consumption, in general, or as related specifically to this study.

        http://www.marksdailyapple.com/are-eggs-really-as-bad-for-your-arteries-as-cigarettes/#axzz2C7LMs5QK

        http://www.marksdailyapple.com/are-eggs-really-as-bad-for-your-arteries-as-cigarettes/#axzz2C7LMs5QK

      • Thanks for trusting my opinion. I did not actually download the actual study (I did not want to pay for it.)
        I did read Dr. Mercola’s take on the study as well as the links you sent.
        My short answer is that the study is “inconclusive”. I don’t think there is enough information to really get a good conclusion. From what I can tell, there was a significant age variance in groups eating the most eggs per week vs. the others – which is odd. If eggs were truly the problem, the age difference should not have shown.
        So my conclusion is to follow what I already know. Have a good diet and eat a variety of foods. I will still eat eggs the way I always have – mine tend to be combined with vegetables rather than bacon or sausage. I also tend to poach or fried eggs so the center is runny because I like them that way and I think the lecithin content is important.

        And just to note what I see in my practice – high cholesterol and “plaqueing” tend to be linked to excess carbohydrates, blood sugar issues, bad fats (fried foods) and lack of exercise.

      • Nix says:

        Thank you!
        Love plants, but have been missing my eggs.
        At least, if I choose to return to them, I can eat them in good conscience…runny, organic & not fed soy/corn.
        I also put raw sunflower seeds (preferably rinsed & dehydrated for easier digestion) into my coffee bean grinder & throw into smoothies, sprinkle on salads, toss on almond yogurt or hot breakfast quinoa for a lecithin boost.

  2. Rosie B says:

    Time to revisit this post. See recent findings re lecithin and heart disease: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/04/25/health/eggs-too-may-provoke-bacteria-to-raise-heart-risk.html

    • Thank you for your comment. I stand by my original post.
      I really think the issue is yeast/fungus in the intestinal tract (and the foods that feed it).
      I think it is more important to get rid of yeast/fungus than it is to avoid essential nutrients.

  3. Can I get the same effects from 1200 mg of Sunflower Lecithin as I get from 100 mg of PS? The price difference is so extreme that I’d love it if I could.

    • Only if your sunflower lecithin has 100 mg of Phosphatidyl Serine in it. If it is not disclosed on the label, it is not there.
      That may be part of the price difference.

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