lecithin benefits        zhion@zhion.com
Lecithin is an important component of VLDL (very low density lipoproteins) that helps to transport fats
around the body from the liver. Lecithin can be found native in a number of different foods such as eggs,
dairy products, and meats, but the primary source for lecithin that is used today comes from soybean.

Lecithin is an essential fatty substance that also protects cell membranes from hardening. High
concentrations of lecithin are found in the brain and prostate gland. Lecithin is largely composed of choline,
plus linoleic acid and inositol. Lecithin acts as an emulsifying agent, enabling fats and other lipids to be
dispersed in water.

Phosphatidyl choline (a different kind of lecithin) is a powerful fat-emulsifying compound. It solubilizes fats
and cholesterol in the bloodstream and solubilizes dietary fats in the intestinal mucosa. It maintains the
structural integrity of cell membranes.

Lecithin is also a source of choline, a B vitamin with powerful lipotropic activity. Choline is utilized by virtually
every cell for synthesis of various phospholipids, proteins, and the neurotransmitter-acetylcholine.

TRADITIONAL USES OF LECITHIN SUPPLEMENT
Administration of choline or lecithin raises plasma and brain choline and acetylcholine levels. As discussed
before, people take lecithin supplement mainly for proper liver function and fat utilization. It is also believed
that oral choline and lecithin may help alleviate neurological motor disturbances, and restore cognition and
memory. Oral administration of choline, lecithin or phosphatidylcholine may ameliorate symptoms of tardive
dyskinesia and Alzheimer's disease.

RESEARCH FINDINGS
Cholesterol
As early as 1966, Japanese researchers have already evaluated the cholesterol-lowering effect of
iodine-lecithin.
[2]

Then in 1977, Simons LA et al showed use of oral lecithin to lower cholesterol in an open clinical trial. In 1/3
of healthy subjects and in 3/7 patients suffered from hypercholesterolaemia, lecithin therapy led to a
significant fall in plasma cholesterol concentration (10-18% fall).
[3]

How does lecithin lower the cholesterol?
In 1996, A French research group demonstrated that lecithin diet could lower the total and HDL-cholesterol
level. They believed that the cholesterol-lowering effect of lecithin was related to hepatic microsomal pools of
phosphatidylcholine and cholesterol. [4]

Four years later, this research group demonstrated that the cholesterol-lowering mechanisms induced by
dietary soybean lecithin in hypercholesterolemic rabbits at the hepato-biliary level in a study using rabbits.
They also showed that the soybean phosphatidylcholine (lecithin) could actually lower cholesterol level by
retarding the intestinal absorption of cholesterol in study of endothelial cells. [5, 6]

Synergistic health benefits of lecithin on cholesterol level
Wilson TA et al at University of Massachusetts Lowell demonstrated that soy lecithin enhanced the
cholesterol-lowering effect of the American Heart Association Step I diet without reducing plasma HDL-C
levels. [7]

Gurevich VS et al, Cardiology Institute, S. Petersburg, Russia, found an improved effect on lipid-reducing
action when lovastatin was combined with Lipostabil (lecithin) in the therapy. [8]

Lecithin for Weight Loss
Lecithin has shown benefits on lipid-lowering, control of triglyceride, stabilization of membrane functions and
support of hepatic functions in a few studies.[1] Consequently, lecithin is promoted as a weight-loss agent.
However, there is insufficient support for claim of using lecithin for weight loss. Furthermore, lecithin
supplement carries calories. It gives calories to the users, when they take this supplement. It is not sure if it
really help weight loss.
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LECITHIN SIDE EFFECTS
Lecithin side effects have been reported in a few cases. Mostly, the lecithin side effects are arised from
injections or over-ingestion. Oral lecithin is safe and lecithin supplements are well accepted, in general.

LECITHIN SIDE EFFECT ARISED FROM INGESTION OF LARGE AMOUNT OF VEGETABLE OIL AND
LECITHIN
One cased was reported that a healthy man ingested a large amount of vegetable oil containing lecithin. He
developed abdominal pain, early satiety, and significant weight loss, and required surgical removal of the
mass. [9].

LECITHIN SIDE EFFECT ARISED FROM TREAMENT OF LOWER EYELID FAT PADS
In a treatment of intraobital fat pad herniation, patients received 0.4 mL a lecithin-derived phospholipid
injections. Improvement and lecithin side effects were observed. The lecithin side effects were burning,
erythema, and swelling at the injection site. [10]

LECITHIN SIDE EFFECT ARISED FROM TREAMENT OF SUBCUTANEOUS FAT DEPOSITS
Volunteers received phosphatidylcholine (a lecithin-derived phospholipid) injections in several areas of
localized fat deposits. The lecithin derivative was found to be effective in reducing the fatty pads, with few
side effects. [11]

HYBRID LIPOSOMES MADE OF LECITHIN DERIVED PHOSPHOLIPIDS
Prolonged survival was observed in a cancer model of mice after the intraperitoneal treatment with hybrid
liposomes composed of licithin derivatives.
No abnormal findings in blood chemistry, organ weights nor other lecithin side effects were observed
. [12]

STUDY OF AMBULATORY HUMAN VOLUNTEERS
Phospholipid (ie lecithin) feeding is safe, and can be effective as a vehicle for lecithin fatty acyl chain
modulation of bile and lipid membranes in a study of 5 ambulatory volunteers having a chronic indwelling
T-tube. [13]

           

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[1] Ipatova OM et al, Biological effects of the soybean phospholipids, Biomed Khim. 2004 Sep-Oct;50(5):436-50. [2] On
cholesterol-lowering agents. 1. On the cholesterol-lowering effectiveness of an organic iodine preparation (Jod-lecithin) Iryo.
1963 Apr;17:243-9. Japanese.][3] Treatment of hypercholesterolaemia with oral lecithin. Aust N Z J Med. 1977
Jun;7(3):262-6.]
[4] Polichetti E. et al, Cholesterol-lowering effect of soyabean lecithin in normolipidaemic rats by stimulation of
biliary lipid secretion. Br J Nutr. 1996 Mar;75(3):471-8.] [5] Dietary polyenylphosphatidylcholine decreases cholesterolemia in
hypercholesterolemic rabbits: role of the hepato-biliary axis. Life Sci. 2000 Oct 13;67(21):2563-76. [6] Dietary soybean
phosphatidylcholines lower lipidemia: mechanisms at the levels of intestine, endothelial cell, and hepato-biliary axis. Dietary
soybean phosphatidylcholines lower lipidemia: mechanisms at the levels of intestine, endothelial cell, and hepato-biliary
axis. J Nutr Biochem. 2000 Sep;11(9):461-6.] [7] Soy lecithin reduces plasma lipoprotein cholesterol and early atherogenesis
in hypercholesterolemic monkeys and hamsters: beyond linoleate. Atherosclerosis. 1998 Sep;140(1):147-53.]
[8] Evidence of
combined therapy of dyslipoproteinemia by HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors and "essential" phospholipids. Clin Ter. 1993
Apr;142(4):329-34.][9] [Hsu HH et al, Stanford University Medical Center, Palo Alto, California, Gastric bezoar caused by
lecithin: an unusual complication of health faddism. Am J Gastroenterol. 1992 Jun;87(6):794-6.][10] Ablon G et al, Treatment
of lower eyelid fat pads using phosphatidylcholine (a lecithin derived phospholipid): clinical trial and review. Dermatol Surg.
2004 Mar;30(3):422-7; discussion 428,[11] Hexsel D et al, Phosphatidylcholline in the treatment of localized fat. J Drugs
Dermatol. 2003 Oct;2(5):511-8.[12] Ichihara H et al, Chemotherapy with hybrid liposomes without any drug in vivo. Yakugaku
Zasshi. 2003 Jan;123(1):25-34.[13] Pakula R et al, The effects of dietary phospholipids enriched with
phosphatidylethanolamine on bile and red cell membrane lipids in humans. Lipids 1996 Mar;31(3):295-303.
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