Natural Foods Market in Midland, TX offers weight loss supplements & natural foods for sale.  Contact us today to learn more or shop the site today!
Table of Contents > Herbs & Supplements > Lecithin Print

Lecithin

Image

Related terms
Background
Evidencetable
Tradition
Dosing
Safety
Interactions
Attribution
Bibliography

Related Terms
  • Acetylcholine, buerlecithin fluid, choline, dipalmitoylphosphatidylcholine, lecithin-bound iodine, lecithin-cholesterol acyltransferase, lecithin-solubilized phytosterols, lecithin/sphingomyelin ratio, liposomal lecithin, lysophosphatidyl choline, phosphatidic acid, phosphatidyl, phosphatidyl esters, phosphatidylcholine, phosphatidylethanolamine, phosphatidylinositol, phosphatidylserine, phosphatidylserine complex, plant sterols, soy lecithin, stanol/lecithin.

Background
  • Lecithin is a lipid, or fat, found in egg yolks, organ meats (such as kidney, liver, and intestines), nuts, and spinach. It is used to treat illnesses such as Alzheimer's disease, liver disease, acne, anxiety, and weight loss. Lecithin has positive effects on blood lipids, especially in combination with plant compounds known as sterols.

Evidence Table

These uses have been tested in humans or animals. Safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider. GRADE *


Studies of the effect of lecithin on cognitive (memory and learning) disorders have been limited, and the results have been mixed. Further research is needed before a conclusion can be made.

B


Studies suggest that lecithin, when given together with plant compounds known as sterols, improves the sterols' beneficial effect on cholesterol level. Additional research is needed before a conclusion can be made.

B


Preliminary evidence suggests that lecithin, when given in combination with other compounds, may improve mood and social skills in Alzheimer's patients. Further research is needed before a conclusion can be made.

C


Studies suggest that lecithin may stabilize or increase choline levels in the blood, which normally go down during intense exercise. However, no direct improvement of athletic performance has been described. Additional studies are needed before a conclusion can be made.

C


Limited research suggests that soy lecithin may have a beneficial effect on blood vessel health. Further research is needed before a conclusion can be made.

C


Lecithin has been shown to be effective in increasing levels of choline in the blood in patients with a form of dementia (age-related loss of mental skills). Choline is a building block of the nerve-signaling chemical acetylcholine. Additional studies are needed before a conclusion can be made.

C


Although not well studied in humans, some research suggests that lecithin may help improve the symptoms of Friedreich's ataxia. Symptoms include difficulty walking and speaking, and heart disease. Further research is needed before a conclusion can be made.

C


Surgery is often used to treat gallstones, but it doesn't prevent the formation of new stones. Preliminary studies suggest that lecithin may help dissolve gallstones. Further research is needed before a conclusion can be made.

C


Although not well studied in humans, lecithin has been shown to have liver-protecting effects. Positive results have been seen when lecithin was given to patients with chronic hepatitis (liver inflammation) who had also received drugs to reduce the activity of the immune system. Further studies are needed before a conclusion can be made.

C


Limited research suggests that lecithin may have a beneficial effect on the symptoms of mania (abnormally elevated mood) in patients with bipolar disorder (also known as manic-depressive illness). Additional research is needed before a conclusion can be made.

C


Limited research suggests that lecithin may improve some forms of memory and learning in young adults. Further studies are needed before a conclusion can be made.

C


Limited research suggests that lecithin may improve memory, mental processes, and movement in patients with Parkinson's disease. Additional research is needed before a conclusion can be made.

C


Limited research suggests that lecithin may not have an effect on the time it takes to get to the rapid eye movement (REM) stage of sleep. Additional research is needed.

C


Preliminary research suggests that a lecithin-containing compound placed in the lungs of premature babies may help prevent respiratory distress syndrome (a breathing disorder) in premature infants. Further studies are needed before a conclusion can be made.

C


Limited research suggests that a compound prepared from soy lecithin may have positive effects on responses to stress. Additional research is needed before a conclusion can be made.

C


Preliminary research suggests that lecithin may help improve the symptoms of tardive dyskinesia (uncontrolled body movements), particularly in more serious cases. Further research is needed before a conclusion can be made.

C


Limited research suggests that lecithin may have beneficial effects on fatty liver, a side effect of total parenteral nutrition (TPN). In TPN, patients receive all their nutrients in a solution that is injected into a vein. Additional research is needed before a conclusion can be made.

C
* Key to grades

A: Strong scientific evidence for this use
B: Good scientific evidence for this use
C: Unclear scientific evidence for this use
D: Fair scientific evidence for this use (it may not work)
F: Strong scientific evidence against this use (it likley does not work)


Tradition / Theory

The below uses are based on tradition, scientific theories, or limited research. They often have not been thoroughly tested in humans, and safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider. There may be other proposed uses that are not listed below.


Dosing

Adults (18 years and older)

  • For Alzheimer's disease, 10-25 grams of lecithin by mouth has been taken daily for up to six months.
  • For improvement of plasma choline levels during exercise, 2.2 grams of lecithin has been taken by mouth daily for two days, or 0.2 grams per kilogram of body mass has been taken by mouth one hour before exercise.
  • For cognitive disorders, 20 milliliters of Buerlecithin® flussig (100 milliliters contains nine grams of lecithin) has been taken by mouth twice daily for 84 days.
  • For dementia, daily doses of 1,000 milligrams and 1,600 milligrams of lecithin have been taken by mouth for three months.
  • For mania, 10 milligrams of lecithin has been taken by mouth three times daily.
  • For Parkinson's disease, approximately 32 grams of lecithin has been taken by mouth daily for nine weeks.
  • For stress-related disorders, 400 milligrams of a complex of soy lecithin phosphatidic acid and phosphatidylserine has been taken by mouth three times daily for four weeks.
  • For tardive dyskinesia, 20-50 grams of lecithin has been taken by mouth daily for up to eight weeks. Lecithin (0.714 grams per kilogram of body mass) in a milkshake drink has been taken daily for two months.
  • For total parenteral nutrition, 40 grams of lecithin has been taken daily for six weeks.

Children (under 18 years old)

  • There is no proven safe or effective dose for lecithin in children.

Safety

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration does not strictly regulate herbs and supplements. There is no guarantee of strength, purity or safety of products, and effects may vary. You should always read product labels. If you have a medical condition, or are taking other drugs, herbs, or supplements, you should speak with a qualified healthcare provider before starting a new therapy. Consult a healthcare provider immediately if you experience side effects.

Allergies

  • Avoid with known allergy or hypersensitivity to lecithin, egg, or soy.

Side Effects and Warnings

  • Lecithin is generally well tolerated. Mild-to-moderate side effects may include upset stomach and nausea. Other side effects may include central nervous system complaints and agitation.
  • Lecithin may increase the risk of bleeding. Caution is advised in patients with bleeding disorders or those taking drugs that may increase the risk of bleeding. Dosing adjustments may be necessary.
  • Use cautiously in patients with liver disease. Although human research is limited, lecithin may have toxic effects on the liver.
  • Avoid with known allergy or hypersensitivity to lecithin, egg, or soy.

Pregnancy and Breastfeeding

  • There is currently a lack of available scientific evidence on the use of lecithin in pregnant or breastfeeding women.

Interactions

Interactions with Drugs

  • Lecithin may increase the risk of bleeding when taken with drugs that increase the risk of bleeding. Some examples include aspirin, anticoagulants (blood thinners) such as warfarin (Coumadin®) or heparin, antiplatelet drugs such as clopidogrel (Plavix®), and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen (Motrin®, Advil®) or naproxen (Naprosyn®, Aleve®).
  • Lecithin may also interact with agents that have an effect on acetylcholine levels, agents that remove heavy metals, agents that treat age-related loss of mental skills, agents that treat mania, anti-inflammatory agents, cholesterol-lowering agents, diclofenac, and memory enhancers.

Interactions with Herbs and Dietary Supplements

  • Lecithin may increase the risk of bleeding when taken with herbs and supplements that are believed to increase the risk of bleeding. Multiple cases of bleeding have been reported with the use of Ginkgo biloba, and fewer cases with garlic and saw palmetto. Numerous other agents may theoretically increase the risk of bleeding, although this has not been proven in most cases.
  • Lecithin may also interact with anti-inflammatory herbs and supplements, cholesterol-lowering herbs and supplements, herbs and supplements that have an effect on acetylcholine levels, herbs and supplements that treat dementia, herbs and supplements that treat mania, memory enhancers, phosphatidylserine, and sitostanol.

Attribution
  • This information is based on a systematic review of scientific literature edited and peer-reviewed by contributors to the Natural Standard Research Collaboration (www.naturalstandard.com).

Bibliography
  1. Attia YA, Hussein AS, Tag El-Din AE, et al. Improving productive and reproductive performance of dual-purpose crossbred hens in the tropics by lecithin supplementation. Trop Anim Health Prod 2009;41(4):461-75.
  2. Béliveau S, Gaudreault P, Goulet L, et al. Type I hypersensitivity in an asthmatic child allergic to peanuts: was soy lecithin to blame? J Cutan Med Surg 2008;12(1):27-30.
  3. Hafner A, Lovric J, Voinovich D, et al. Melatonin-loaded lecithin/chitosan nanoparticles: physicochemical characterisation and permeability through Caco-2 cell monolayers. Int J Pharm 2009;381(2):205-13.
  4. Honda K, Enoshima T, Oshikata T, et al. Toxicity studies of Asahi Kasei PI, purified phosphatidylinositol from soy lecithin. J Toxicol Sci 2009;34(3):265-80.
  5. Magalhães MS, Fechine FV, Macedo RN, et al. Effect of a combination of medium chain triglycerides, linoleic acid, soy lecithin and vitamins A and E on wound healing in rats. Acta Cir Bras 2008;23(3):262-9.
  6. Mazaletskaia LI, Sheludchenko NI, Shishkina LN. Lecithin influence on the effectiveness of the antioxidant effect of flavonoids and alpha-tocopherol]. Prikl Biokhim Mikrobiol 2010;46(2):148-52.
  7. Muehlmann LA, Zanatta AL, Farias CL, et al. Dietary supplementation with soybean lecithin increases pulmonary PAF bioactivity in asthmatic rats. J Nutr Biochem 2010;21(6):532-7.
  8. Naghashpour M, Cualing H. Splenomegaly with sea-blue histiocytosis, dyslipidemia, and nephropathy in a patient with lecithin-cholesterol acyltransferase deficiency: a clinicopathologic correlation. Metabolism 2009;58(10):1459-64.
  9. Reed ML, Ezeh PC, Hamic A, et al. Soy lecithin replaces egg yolk for cryopreservation of human sperm without adversely affecting postthaw motility, morphology, sperm DNA integrity, or sperm binding to hyaluronate. Fertil Steril 2009;92(5):1787-90.
  10. Rousset X, Vaisman B, Amar M, et al. Lecithin: cholesterol acyltransferase--from biochemistry to role in cardiovascular disease. Curr Opin Endocrinol Diabetes Obes 2009;16(2):163-71.
  11. Shi X, Wang Y, Ren L, et al. A novel hydrophilic poly(lactide-co-glycolide)/lecithin hybrid microspheres sintered scaffold for bone repair. J Biomed Mater Res A 2010;92(3):963-72.
  12. St Clair C, Norwitz ER, Woensdregt K,et al. The probability of neonatal respiratory distress syndrome as a function of gestational age and lecithin/sphingomyelin ratio. Am J Perinatol 2008;25(8):473-80.
  13. Stübiger G, Pittenauer E, Belgacem O, et al. Analysis of human plasma lipids and soybean lecithin by means of high-performance thin-layer chromatography and matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization mass spectrometry. Rapid Commun Mass Spectrom 2009;23(17):2711-23.
  14. Tanigawa H, Billheimer JT, Tohyama J, et al. Lecithin: cholesterol acyltransferase expression has minimal effects on macrophage reverse cholesterol transport in vivo. Circulation 2009;120(2):160-9.
  15. Zhang Y, Huang C, Sheng X, et al. Lecithin promotes adipocyte differentiation and hepatic lipid accumulation. Int J Mol Med 2009;23(4):449-54.

Copyright © 2011 Natural Standard (www.naturalstandard.com)


The information in this monograph is intended for informational purposes only, and is meant to help users better understand health concerns. Information is based on review of scientific research data, historical practice patterns, and clinical experience. This information should not be interpreted as specific medical advice. Users should consult with a qualified healthcare provider for specific questions regarding therapies, diagnosis and/or health conditions, prior to making therapeutic decisions.

Search Site

Carlson Labs
Garden Of Life
Nutribiotic
Wakunaga of America
Wakunaga of America
Natural Factors
Garden Of Life