There are many supplements and food additives out there. You may have found lecithin added to your food and not known what it was. It is often added to foods as an emulsifier or substance that stabilizes fat. It is added to things such as medications, foods and cosmetics. There are not many bad side effects to ingesting it. However, do not start taking lecithin supplements unless you have spoken to your doctor first. You want to make sure you supplement safely.
Lecithin is actually a blanket term for a series of compounds. They are commonly referred to as the phosphatidylcholines, which means that lecithin breaks down into choline once it enters the body. The word lecithin comes from the Greek word for egg yolk, and that is one of the natural places you can find it. Other sources are soybeans, grains, wheat germ and beans, according to Vanderbilt University. It is present in all living cells as part of the cell membrane.
Lecithin Side Effects
Lecithin is generally considered safe. According to Drugs.com, some possible side effects of excess intake are a loss of appetite, nausea, increased salivation, diarrhea and hepatitis. There is no information regarding using this product when pregnant or lactating, so it is best to check with your doctor first if you are in this category. According to the Linus Pauling Institute, taking high doses of lecithin does not produce the fishy odor that taking other choline supplements can cause, due to very little production of a chemical called trimethylamine when lecithin is metabolized.
According to Drugs.com, there is extensive study of lecithin in relationship to neurological diseases such as dementia. The choline that is produced by lecithin is supposed to help with the neurotransmitters in the brain. The role of lecithin in cholesterol management is often studied. Study results are mixed as to whether it is effective in lowering cholesterol. According to Vanderbilt University, there is no evidence that it can help with weight loss, and it may actually cause weight gain because it contains fatty acids.
The need for lecithin supplementation is rare. According to Drugs. com, cognitive studies use 1 to 35 grams of the supplement for their tests. New York University cites studies that use doses of 5 to 10 grams three times a day for neurological benefits. For cholesterol, doses of doses of 500 to 900 milligrams are used. It also has a use in liver disease, and the dosage per day for that is 350 to 500 milligrams three times per day.