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Lecithin is a mixture of various compounds, mainly phospholipids. It performs many important functions in the body: it improves memory and concentration, lowers cholesterol, and protects the liver. We can find it both in food and dietary supplements. Lecithin - mainly soybean - is also used in the food industry.

Lecithinis not one substance, but a mixture of compounds, mainly of a fatty nature. The most important of them are phospholipids. They are pictorially presented as a head with a tail.

The "tail" is fatty acids, and the "head" is glycerol, the phosphorus group and the attached compound that is the most important in the whole phospholipid, because it is largely responsible for its he alth functions.

It can be, inter alia, choline (we obtain phosphatidylcholine), inositol (phosphatidylinositol) or serine (phosphatidylserine). In addition to phospholipids, lecithin also contains triglycerides, carbohydrates, glycolipids and water.

Lecithin was first isolated in 1846 by Theodor Nicolas Gobley from chicken egg yolk, and its name comes from the Greek word lekithos, which means egg yolk. Since then, its healing properties and possible applications have been researched.


  1. What do you need lecithin for?
  2. Lecithin for memory and concentration
  3. Lecithin - Cardiovascular Benefits
  4. Lecithin supports the liver
  5. Lecithin for depression and more
  6. Lecithin supports men's sexual performance
  7. Lecithin in the food industry
  8. Lecithin - daily requirement
  9. Lecithin - where is it?
  10. Lecithin - supplements
  11. Soy, sunflower or rapeseed lecithin - which one to choose?
  12. Lecithin - side effects

What do you need lecithin for?

Lecithin has many functions in the body:

  • is the building block of every cell in the body, it is part of cell membranes,
  • is the building block of the brain tissue and the myelin sheaths of the nervous system cells,
  • stimulates the nervous system, supports concentration and memory processes,
  • takes part in metabolic processes,
  • is a protective barrier of the stomach walls,
  • protects the liver,
  • supportsabsorption of fat-soluble vitamins,
  • participates in the economy of cholesterol and increases the efficiency of blood circulation,
  • increases efficiency and accelerates regeneration after exercise,
  • slows down the aging process.

Lecithin for memory and concentration

Lecithin is probably most associated with supporting mental abilities and learning processes. It is recommended for people who work mentally, preparing for exams and the elderly, whose nervous system becomes weaker with age.

Studies show that people taking lecithin supplements experience an improvement in mental abilities and an increase in their ability to remember information. However, you have to be prepared for the systematic use of lecithin - from a month to even 3-4 months.

For a few doses every now and then, the brain will not start to function more efficiently. Lecithin has high hopes for improving the he alth and quality of life of people suffering from Alzheimer's disease and senile dementia. Preliminary studies, however, indicate that lecithin probably does not work against memory impairment resulting from advanced age and Alzheimer's disease.

Lecithin - Cardiovascular Benefits

Lecithin is involved in the metabolism of fats and cholesterol. Due to the presence of polyunsaturated fatty acids, it binds cholesterol, facilitates its transport and accelerates the excretion of excess from the body.

Lecithin also has an emulsifying effect - it breaks down fats and cholesterol from food into small particles, which reduces their sticking to platelets and blood vessel walls. All this prevents the formation of atherosclerotic deposits and coronary blood clots, which lead to cardiovascular events that are very dangerous to he alth.

Lecithin is known to lower levels of "bad" LDL cholesterol and triglycerides. Some sources also indicate its ability to raise HDL cholesterol, i.e. a fraction that positively affects he alth.

Lecithin supports the liver

Lecithin supplementation has a positive effect on the detoxification and regeneration of the liver. It reduces the adverse effects of alcohol, drugs and other substances that burden this organ.

It also accelerates its regeneration, because it stabilizes the membranes of liver cells. Lecithin has been shown to benefit liver steatosis and fibrosis and cirrhosis in alcoholics.

Lecithin inhibits the accumulation of fats in the liver, thus reducing harmful fatness and helping to restore normal functions. Responsible for dissolving cholesterol inbile, thus preventing the formation of gallstones.

Lecithin for depression and more

Lecithin- like choline - improves the condition of people with manic-depressive disorders. Taking lecithin reduces the incidence of delusions and hallucinations. The purposefulness of using lecithin and its components in the treatment of manic-depressive disorders and bipolar disorder was investigated on small groups of several people1 .

The effectiveness of lecithin supplementation was tested in people with manic-depressive disorders in a double-blind, placebo-controlled, and therefore very reliable study. Supplementation brought positive results, much better than with placebo.

In the subjects, the symptoms of mania, such as mood disorders and psychomotor disorders, decreased. In the case of choline supplementation, 5 out of 6 subjects showed a marked reduction in mania symptoms, and 4 experienced a significant constant improvement in mood2 . The inclusion of lecithin and choline in the treatment of mental disorders can therefore be an effective element of treatment.

Lecithin supports men's sexual performance

Seminal fluid is high in lecithin, and phosphatidylinositol is essential in the production of sperm. There are 53 mg of inositol in 100 g of sperm. Therefore, it is believed that lecithin is very important for male sexual performance and increases fertility, and inositol deficiency is associated with infertility.

There have been no human studies that would confirm the improvement in fertility as a result of lecithin supplementation. However, a 2011 study in rabbits showed that taking soy lecithin for 12 weeks increased semen volume, sperm count and motility while reducing the number of dead and abnormal sperm in the semen sample.

Worth knowing

Lecithin in the food industry

Lecithin has been used in the food industry because it allows to reduce production costs and improve the quality and durability of finished products. It is mainly obtained as a by-product in the production of vegetable oils.

It is added to bread, cakes, confectionery, chocolate, margarine, mayonnaise, confectionery coatings, instant products and even pasta - on the list of ingredients it is marked with the symbolE322 .

Lecithin improves the consistency of the dough and the softness of the crust in the bread, extends its freshness; prevents products from sticking to the surface of the dishes and preventing, for example, slices of cheese from sticking together; facilitates the formation of water-fat emulsions and allows mixingincompatible ingredients.

Lecithin used in the production of donuts causes the dough to feel less greasy, and in the production of chocolate it increases its smoothness and velvety. Lecithin improves the organoleptic properties of many food products. You do not have to worry about it as a food additive because it has a positive he alth effect.

Lecithin - daily requirement

The demand for lecithin has not been defined in the nutritional standards prepared by the Food and Nutrition Institute, but most often in publications it can be found that the body needs 2-2.5 g of lecithin daily for proper functioning.

Some sources give a value of 6 g. Remember that we do not need to supplement lecithin on a daily basis, but only in states of increased mental effort or decreased concentration, because most often we will cover the body's needs with the diet alone.

Lecithin - where is it?

There is not much lecithin in food, but it is quite common. Good sources of lecithin in food are:

  • egg yolk,
  • liver,
  • soybeans,
  • beans,
  • wheat germ,
  • sunflower seeds,
  • unrefined rapeseed oil (most of the lecithin is removed in the refining process),
  • nuts,
  • baker's yeast,
  • fish,
  • dairy,
  • green vegetables,
  • avocado,
  • olives.

We must also take into account the fact that lecithin is a fairly common food additive and we deliver it to ourselves, for example, with bread and chocolate. Daily consumption of 300 g of bread covers the daily requirement for lecithin. It may not be the most sensible way to get lecithin into the body, but it does show that it is not difficult to supplement it in the diet.

Lecithin - supplements

Pharmacy shelves are full of lecithin supplements. You can find them in the form of liquid, soluble tablets or capsules. The form of the product itself is not as important as the content of the active substance, i.e. lecithin.

When buying a supplement, you have to be very careful and inquisitive, because pharmacies will provide you with products that provide both about 50 mg of lecithin per dose and 1200 mg. We should definitely choose the latter.

Manufacturers of supplements with a high dose of lecithin recommend consuming one tablet a day, preferably with a meal. In case of increased demand, you can take two tablets a day. The preparation with the largest single dose provides just over 6 g of lecithin and betteron your own, do not exceed the recommended amounts for consumption.

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Soy, sunflower or rapeseed lecithin - which one to choose?

Bothsoy lecithin ,sunflowerand rapeseed in liquid form have a similar composition of phospholipids - the main ingredient of lecithin used in the production of dietary supplements . So in this respect there are no significant differences between them.

About 30% of lecithin composition are oils, the proportions of fatty acids of which depend on the plant from which the lecithin was obtained. Sunflower and soybean oils are a source of omega-6 fatty acids, the consumption of which in the diet is too high in relation to omega-3 fatty acids.

In contrast, rapeseed lecithin contains greater amounts of omega-3 fatty acids in a better proportion to omega-6. Hence the conclusion thatrapeseed lecithinis more beneficial to he alth than soy and sunflower lecithin, which have similar properties.

Reports on the adverse he alth effects of soy lecithin can be found primarily in sources dealing with holistic and alternative treatment, and it is difficult to find reliable publications to confirm this theory.

According to the law, the producer is obliged to inform the consumer if the product has been made from a genetically modified plant, but in practice it is not always followed. At the same time, in Poland there is no fixed graphic symbol that would clearly indicate that the product is GMO-free.

The most reliable method when buying, for example, soy lecithin supplements, is to look for information on the packaging that it was produced from non-GM soybeans. If the manufacturer raised the production costs to improve the quality and origin of his product, he will definitely "show off" it, because it is a guarantee of better sales.

Lecithin - side effects

Lecithin is recognized as a safe product that does not interact with drugs and generally has no side effects. Some people may experience nausea, diarrhea, abdominal pain or a feeling of fullness if the recommended doses are exceeded several times.

Taking large amounts of the preparation with lecithin mayresult in a drop in blood pressure, heart problems and anxiety, so taking 15 tablets while studying for the session is not a good idea. Preparations with lecithin often contain vitamin E, which is not recommended when taking blood thinners.

If you are taking this type of medication, better choose a preparation without vitamin E. Liquid supplements may contain alcohol, so if you are pregnant, breastfeeding or driving a car, pay attention to this.

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