Soya Lecithin

What is Soy Lecithin? When seeking to answer the question, “What is soy lecithin?” our search immediately takes us to mid-19th century France. First isolated by French chemist Theodore Gobley in 1846, lecithin is a generic term to designate a variety of naturally occurring fatty compounds found in animal and plant tissues. Composed of choline, fatty acids, glycerol, glycolipids, phospholipids, phosphoric acid and triglycerides lecithin was originally isolated from egg yolk. Today, it is regularly extracted from cottonseed, marine sources, milk, rapeseed, soybeans, and sunflower. It is usually used as a liquid but also can be purchased as granules. By and large, the vast majority of lecithin use centers around its unique ability of being an excellent emulsifier. We all know that oil and water don’t mix, right? When the two are placed into a solution and shaken together, the oil droplets initially spread out and appear to evenly disperse. Once the shaking stops, the oil separates from the water again. This is why lecithin is so important. When lecithin enters the equation, oil is broken down in smaller particles in a process called emulsification making the oil droplets easier to clean or digest if eaten. This is one of the reasons why soy lecithin is used as an additive in processed foods, medicines and supplements; it helps give these products a smooth, uniform appearance. (2) Additionally, its ability to emulsify fats makes it an ideal ingredient for nonstick cooking sprays and soaps. Soy Lecithin Benefits? On the other side of the soy lecithin debate is an exceptionally large body of research that supports it use as a healing agent. Referred to as a fat that is “essential” to the cells in our bodies, lecithin is used both as a standalone medicine and also as a common additive in many medicines today. In spite of the side effects discussed above, lecithin has been used for years to treat a number of diseases including: (7) Alzheimer’s disease Anxiety Dementia Depression Eczema Gall bladder disorders Hypercholesterolemia (high cholesterol) Liver disorders Of these conditions, dietary soy lecithin supplementation is most strongly connected with decreasing hyperlipidemia and influencing lipid metabolism (8) A 2010 study published in the journal Cholesterol, for example, evaluated total cholesterol and LDL levels after soy lecithin administration in patients with diagnosed hypercholesterolemia levels. One 500 mg soy lecithin supplement was taken by 30 volunteers every day, and the results were quite astounding: (9) A reduction of 40.66% in total cholesterol after 1 month. A reduction of 42.00% in total cholesterol after 2 months. A reduction of 42.05% in LDL after 1 month. A reduction of 56.15% in LDL after 2 months. In addition to helping normalize cholesterol, soy lecithin supplementation has been shown to significantly increase immunity function; especially in diabetics. For example, Brazilian researchers discovered that daily supplementation with soy lecithin caused macrophage activity (white blood cells that engulf foreign debris) of diabetic rats to increase by 29%. Additionally, they discovered that lymphocyte (white blood cells that are fundamental to the immune system) numbers skyrocketed 92% in non-diabetic rats! (10) One of the many keys to soy lecithin’s health benefits is a compound known as phosphatidylserine; a common phospholipid that helps make up part of the cell membranes in plants and animals. Known to affect stress hormones adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH) and cortisol, phosphatidylserine derived from cow brains has been shown to dampen response to physical stress. Testing to see how phosphatidylserine derived from soy lecithin compared, German researchers evaluated the effects that soy lecithin phosphatidic acid and phosphatidylserine complex (PAS) supplementation has on ACTH, cortisol and a psychological evaluation known as the Spielberger State Anxiety Inventory stress subscale. Published in the Danish journal Stress, the trial compared 400 mg, 600 mg and 800 mg of PAS on groups of 20 people each. The researchers not only discovered that PAS has some pretty remarkable effects on the human psyche, they uncovered that it is dose-dependent. Meaning, they found a sweet spot with the 400 mg PAS because it is considerably more effective at blunting serum ACTH and cortisol levels than the larger doses. (11) Soy Lecithin Facts Oftentimes extracted from soybean oil, one cup of soy lecithin has the following nutritional content: (12) 1:8 omega-3 to omega-6 ratio. Vitamin E – 89% daily value Vitamin K – 501% Choline – 763 mg It’s highly unlikely that anyone would ever consume this amount, so we must take these nutrition facts with a grain of salt. Nonetheless, if you purchase the organic variety, soy lecithin is a solid source of choline, which has many health benefits. “One of the newest nutrients to be added to the list of human vitamins,” according to The George Mateljan Foundation, choline plays a key role in methylation. (13) Literally affecting every cell in the body, methylation is a vital process to maintain human life and involves the transfer of a methyl group (1 carbon and 3 hydrogen atoms) to amino acids, enzymes and DNA. Methylation is so crucial for our health that inadequate activity has been linked to: Abnormal Immune Function (14) Alzheimer’s disease (15) Autism (16) Cancer (17) Cardiovascular Disease (18) Chronic Fatigue (19) Chronic Inflammation (20) Dementia (21) Diabetes (22) Down’s Syndrome (23) Fertility & Miscarriages (24) Multiple Sclerosis (25) Neurotransmitter Imbalances (26) Pregnancy Problems (27) Psychiatric Disorders (28)