An emulsifying substance, lecithin has been touted for years as a wonder food, replete with countless medical benefits, among them is having positive lecithin side effects on persons combating atherosclerosis, multiple sclerosis, cirrhosis of the liver, gall stones, psoriasis, eczema, scleroderma, anxiety, tremors, and brain aging. But what is lecithin? And why does it have all these lecithin side effects?
Lecithin, the Chemical
Lecithin is mainly made up of a compound called phosphatidylcholine, which is one of a group of fat soluble phospholipids within the compound. In chemistry, the word lecithin is even used interchangeably with phosphatidylcholine, though most commercial lecithins (especially those derived from soybean) contain only about 20% of the compound.
The chemical substance lecithin is found in all living organisms, specifically comprising the cell membrane and other membranes of organelles inside the cell itself. It is also a major component of the myelin sheath, which is the thin covering that envelopes brain neurons and our nerves.
The unique structure of lecithin plays a role in the protection of our body from the destructive effects of oxidation. It also helps in the digestive processes through the action of bile which contains lecithin produced by the liver. There have been studies that show how lecithin could also have positive lecithin side effects on persons with high blood cholesterol level, appearing to lower it down.
Lecithin, the Wonder Food
Unlike other chemical substances such as proteins, carbohydrates, fats and oils, lecithin is actually not an essential nutrient. Well, yes, it does do wonders for the body, but a deficiency in lecithin won’t make life bad for you. Besides, it is not like you are going to run out of lecithin anytime soon. You can always get your supply of lecithin from the foods that you eat, like eggs (yolks), soybeans, sunflower, grape seed, wheat germ, to name a few.
Lecithin has been the subject of various extensive research studies, particularly concerning its role in degenerative diseases. Because of its being a major component in the structure of myelin sheath and nerve cells, scientists believe that lecithin side effects include a possible cure for conditions involving cognition or those that affect the mental processes used to acquire, maintain, retrieve, and utilize information.
One example is dementia, which is a mental condition that may due to stroke. It has been observed that people who suffer form this condition often have a low level of a natural chemical known as acetylcholine. One of the chemical compounds found in lecithin is acetylcholine. This compound is actually a neurotransmitter that affects the muscles and memory. The lecithin side effects of supplements, the symptoms of dementia may be improved by increasing the levels of acetylcholine in the body.
Another example of the wonders of lecithin side effects is its ability to reduce cholesterol levels in the blood. A small study of individuals with normal or mildly elevated cholesterol levels showed that lecithin supplementation decreased both the absorption of cholesterol from foods and the production of low density lipoproteins or LDL cholesterol (the “bad” type of cholesterol).