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Lecithin is another unique product, the benefits and dangers of lecithin

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The term "lecithin"has Greek roots and comes from the word"lekithos", which means "egg yolk". Indeed, it is hardly possible to imagine a food product which would more lecithin than in egg yolks. However, the modern "commercial"lecithin in 99% of cases is made from soybean oil – available plant material and is a byproduct of refining and hydration.

Food emulsifiers and biologically active food supplements, sold under the name"lecithin", made up of the following components:

  • Phosphatidylcholine – 19-21%;
  • Phosphatidylethanolamine – 8-20%;
  • Inositol – 20-21%;
  • Phosphatidyl serine 5-6%;
  • Soybean oil – 33-35%;
  • Tocopherol, free fatty acids, esters, sterols, sterols and biological pigments – 2-5%;
  • Carbs – 4-5%.

As can be seen from this list, lecithin, nearly two-thirds of phospholipids, that is why many medical sources, these concepts are synonymous. Of soy lecithin are produced by almost all hepatoprotectors – drugs, which is attributed to the ability to restore and protect the liver. Although radical therapeutic effect of these medicines is still not clinically confirmed, lecithin itself is of great importance for human health.

Entering the body with food, lecithin comes in a number of complex chemical reactions, from which the following substances:

  • Higher fatty acids – palmitic, oleic, stearic, arachidonic;
  • Phosphoric acid;
  • Glycerin;
  • Choline.
  • Without these lipids, and amino acids it is impossible to imagine the normal development and functioning of the nervous system in General and brain in particular, an adequate absorption of fat-soluble vitamins, healthy cholesterol balance, proper blood composition, quality cardiovascular, digestive and reproductive systems.

    Lecithin is the main structural component of all cell membranesmaintains homeostasis of cells, is involved in all energy and metabolic reactions. This substance in nature is present in all living organisms and biological fluids, and even in plant tissues. Especially a lot of lecithin in your brain, eggs, eggs, sperm, nerve fibers and special military bodies of some animals like stingrays.

    Lecithin is half human liver, a third of the brain and its surrounding protective shell and about 17% of all nervous tissues of our body.

    Without lecithin our body can not function properly and updated, since the substance simultaneously acts as a building material for new cells, and for transporting components of the cell reactions. The person experiencing a chronic shortage of lecithin, loses the ability to regenerate, rapidly aging and seriously ill, though, it's impossible for him to help with medicines and vitamins, yet the lack of lecithin in the body will not be filled. After all, if there is no lecithin – no transportation for medical supplies, or material for new cells.

    In the average daily diet contains about 4 g of lecithin, which is equivalent to two yolks of large eggs. And the requirement of an adult in the lecithin is 5-7 grams per day, depending on age, gender and lifestyle.

    Some amount of lecithin in the norm is synthesized in the liver, but under the influence of unfavorable external effects (environment, stress) and internal (poor food, alcohol, Smoking, drugs) factors, and with age, this ability is gradually lost. In addition, deteriorate the digestive functions, and dietary lecithin ceases to be absorbed fully.

    Meanwhile, we are in dire need of the lecithin throughout our lives:

    • In the womb from a sufficient level of lecithin depends on the proper formation of all organs and systems of the fetus, especially the brain and spinal cord;
    • In the first year of life the baby should get enough lecithin from breast milk or formula to his cognitive and motor functions develop normally;
    • In preschool and Junior school age with lecithin directly related to the formation of child's intelligence, speed of adaptation to a new team and learning, the ability to focus in the classroom;
    • Puberty also can not go smoothly on the background of lecithin deficiency: inevitable bad mood swings, deterioration of the skin, in severecases, the underdevelopment and immaturity of the genital organs, dysfunction of the ovaries in girls and testes for boys;
    • An adult, especially engaged in heavy physical or difficult mental work, living in a metropolis, lecithin is vital for the maintenance of health and prevention of serious diseases;
    • The expectant mother need a lot more of lecithin, because of the resources the body's own she spends the first formation of the fruit, and then feeding a newborn baby;
    • Older people almost always reduced levels of lecithin in the body, as violated at the same time the functions of synthesis and assimilation. And a deficiency of lecithin in adulthood may lead to the development of dementia, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson's disease and Alzheimer's.

    Why would a man desired lecithin, we have understood, but a reasonable question arises: why not just revise the diet thus to provide themselves with a daily rate of lecithin? Who said you need to go to the pharmacy and spend money on supplements and vitamins? Obviously, the pharmaceutical companies said so. But let's go on to dispel your skepticism: there is a rational reason to take lecithin separately.

    The fact that absolutely all foods rich in lecithin, and at the same time rich in lipids, including lipoproteins of low density. Simply put, they are all very fatty and full of cholesterol. And to draw from them a norm of lecithin, you have to "load" to eat a mountain of what generally is not necessary, especially if you are overweight and the risk of atherosclerosis. Of course, the lecithin is present even in the cabbage, but there is so little that we assure you – you will not eat so much cabbage. Therefore, lecithin is justified.

    Today we will tell you what are the beneficial properties of lecithin, how it affects each specific function of the body, in what diseases it is prescribed why lecithin is especially necessary to children and pregnant women, how to take, what are the rumors about the dangers of lecithin and whether they have a scientific Foundation.

    The benefits of lecithin

    To maintain an optimal level of lecithin in the body provides the following positive effects:

    • Activation of brainactivity and memory consolidation is due to the fact that one of the main components of lecithin, phosphatidylcholine, in the presence of Pantothenic acid (vitamin B5) transformirovalsya in acetylcholine is the main neurotransmitter responsible for intelligence, memory and concentration;
    • Getting rid of the addiction to tobacco is the above – mentioned amino acid acetylcholine is entering into a competitive interaction with nicotine and fighting for the same nerve receptors, so taking lecithin helps to relax the physiological nicotine addiction and overcome the habit;
    • Maintaining the strength and conductivity of nerve fibers – lecithin is involved in the synthesis of myelin, the insulator and protector of nerve fibers. When the myelin sheath becomes thinner, nerves lose their ability to conduct impulses, and then die. That's why, especially in Mature and old age, a person needs to provide your body with sufficient amount of lecithin;
    • Proper absorption of fat-soluble vitamins – entering the blood, phospholipids of lecithin acting as an emulsifier, and turn it into a liquid homogeneous emulsion in which the dispersed lipids, amino acids, vitamins A, D, E, and K. In this form the nutrients readily distributed throughout the body and perform their functions;

    • Normalization of the composition of bile and preventing gallstones – emulsifying properties of lecithin allows it to ensure optimal chemical composition and flexibility of the bile, to prevent the formation of cholesterol gallstones and to promote dissolution of an already existing solid fat deposits on the walls of the gallbladder and bile ducts;

    • Protection and regeneration of liver cells – one of the major useful functions of lecithin. Phospholipids strengthen the membranes of hepatocytes, liver cells, and dissolve and remove excess fats from the liver and help it to cope with the daily job of cleaning the blood of poisons and toxins, including alcohol;
    • Regulation of cholesterol metabolism and prevention of atherosclerosis – in the presence of lecithin in the blood "bad" cholesterol (LDL) is split into separate lipid fractions and freely transported, and in the conditions of deficiency of lecithin cholesterol on the contrary sticks to the walls of blood vessels and forms plaque, which leads to the development of atherosclerosis – a fatal obstruction of the arteries;
    • Strengthening the heart muscle and protect against heart attack – phospholipids lecithininvolved in the synthesis of L-carnitine, valuable amino acids, responsible for providing muscle energy. You must have heard about this stuff, if you are into sports or bodybuilding L-carnitine makes the muscles flexible and elastic, but also increases them in size. But the main muscle in our body is the heart, and it is also very necessary L-carnitine;
    • The disclosure of the intellectual potential of the child – the lecithin, which is obtained by the baby in the first year of life determines the capacity of his memory, mental capacity and the degree of resistance of brain cells to the destructive effects of negative factors and aging. That is why pediatricians are behind the mountain breastfeeding, because breast milk has the highest concentration of easily assimilable lecithin;
    • Maintaining the health of the respiratory system and the prevention of lung cancer – lecithin is essential for the formulation of surfactants, the main components of elastic lipid film surrounding the pulmonary alveoli. Preservation of this film ensures an adequate filling of the alveoli and prevents their spadenie. Thus, from lecithin indirectly depends on the process of gas exchange and blood oxygen saturation, light resistance to damage caused by toxins, aging, and cancer;

    • Reproductive age and protection from cancer of the genitals – first, as a male (testosterone) and female (estrogen, progesterone) sex hormones are produced from cholesterol, but it needs to be in a dissolved state. And what ensures the homogeneity of cholesterol, not choline and Inositol are components of lecithin? Second, in the presence of lecithin phospholipids transformirovalsya estradiol to estriol, are much less oncogenic form of the hormone. Thus, the lecithin not only prolongs reproductive age, but also protects from cancer of the reproductive organs;
    • The maintenance of pancreatic function and the prevention of diabetes – lecithin prevents aging of the pancreas, helps her to synthesize the hormone insulin, and also increases the sensitivity of insulin receptors. Healthy people can consume more carbohydrates without the risk of developing diabetes, and those who are already sick, lecithin helps to reduce the intake of insulin and antidiabetic drugs.

    The dangers of lecithin

    Lecithin has the unique properties of surface-active agent, emulsifier and dispersant:

    • When connecting twoimmiscible liquid substances, e.g. oil and water, the lecithin reduces surface tension of cell membranes oil and allows you to convert these substances into a homogeneous emulsion;
    • When connecting liquid and solid substances lecithin works as a dispersant - quick soak dry fraction and mixes it with the liquid in a homogeneous elastic mass;
    • When connecting two solid substances lecithin acts as a lubricant and prevents the adhesion of molecules of one faction to the other molecules.

    These features made the lecithin is indispensable in the food industry. With the addition of lecithin to produce fatty sauces, mayonnaise, butter, margarine and spreads, chocolate, pastry creams, and frostings, candies, cakes, pies, rolls, waffles and many other foods. Especially often, lecithin is used during cooking, confectionery and baking, because it not only promotes good baking and nepaliplay to the forms, but also significantly prolongs the freshness of cakes and pastries.

    Soy lecithin is registered in the international registry of food additives under code E322 and may be used in food production worldwide.

    Cosmetic industry is also willing to use an additive E322 in the manufacture of creams, lotions, emulsions, serums, lipsticks, and other goods for beauty and health. The role lecithin plays in the pharmaceutical industry, we have voiced above – it is made dietary Supplements and medications.

    Almost 100% of the lecithin that we see on the labels of food products, cosmetics and medicines produced from soy. Vegetable protein is absorbed by the human 90%, and he's not burdened by harmful animal fat, so to deprive cheap soy of leadership positions in this field is simply impossible. And is it necessary? Because the harm of soy lecithin has not been confirmed by any reputable research.

    However, about the dangers of lecithin is a rumor. Believe it or not – a personal choice, but let's try to determine all sources of discontent of consumers and understand whether or not these fears to be justified by science?

    The overwhelming majority of references about the dangers of lecithin is associated with the issue of GMOs, and that's what they say about scientists:

    • Genetically modified soy from South-East Asia is a very convenient raw material for the production of lecithin, because it grows quickly, does not hurt, plenty of fruit, long shelf life and is worth a penny. This soy flooded the market with China, the US and other major countries-consumers of food. It seeps to the Russian market, thoughis prohibited by law. Professor D. Fagans (maharishi university of management, fairfield, USA), says genetically modified soybeans following: "Genetics put on our table available and delicious products that contain foreign proteins. How these proteins will behave in the future, and the impact on each individual organism, and the population as a whole, can show only time. GMO is Russian roulette";
    • Although commercial soy lecithin is present in the human diet relatively recently (about 30 years), there is already scientific evidence of numerous cases of Allergy to products with it, especially in children, and regardless of lecithin were used: genetically modified or conventional. On the other hand, to establish whether the lecithin is harmful, or some other dietary Supplement composition of the same finished products is very difficult;

    • A group of researchers from the University of Hawaii, USA have studied the effects of soy isoflavones on the brain and came to the conclusion that regular consumption of genetically modified soy lecithin leads to an inability to fully digest amino acids, and, consequently, to lower intelligence levels and weaker long-term memory;
    • In 1959, the US has conducted a very controversial scientific research, the results of which soy isoflavones destroy the thyroid gland. Under the influence of the interest in GMOs, scientists of the National centre of toxicology, USA in 1997 repeated this study and came to the conclusion that genetically modified soy lecithin really depresses thyroid function;

    • Another danger that lies in wait for fans of cheap soy is the phytoestrogens, substances similar to hormones and competing for effects on the appropriate receptors in the body of all mammals, including humans. Recently, scientists have identified a great mechanism by which soya is fighting for survival in the wild. Animals eat soy – phytoestrogens get into the blood and inhibit the reproductive function of the population of eaters of soy reduced! That is, the plant itself acts something like oral contraceptive;
    • Even in those countries where GMO lecithin is not prohibited, pediatricians strongly recommend not to give children under the age of three finished products with its content: pastries, cakes, Swiss rolls, chocolate bars, sweet tiles, cheese, creams and sauces. Very often the consumption of such products leads to allergies, diateza, neurodermatitis, atopic dermatitis, and sometimes even asthma anddiabetes, not to mention obesity;

    • Expectant mothers should be sure to watch out for genetically modified lecithin, since there is evidence that this substance increases the risk of premature birth, leading to incorrect formation of the nervous system and reproductive organs of the fetus and greatly increases the likelihood of the future child severe forms of allergies.

    It is important to understand that all the talk about the dangers of lecithin are only associated with poor, dangerous, genetically modified vegetable raw materials. Lecithin as such is indispensable for a person: it is enough to recall that our liver consists of his 50%, and the brain – 30%. To meet harmful lecithin in the baby food or certified vitamin complexes just impossible these goods in Russia are subject to strict sanitary and epidemiological control, before you get on the shelves.

    Another thing – the ready-made foods, like cupcakes with astronomical shelf life or exotic sauces from Sunny Asia. Buying them, especially having kids, you always run the risk. To not worry about the dangers of lecithin and not be afraid for the health of your family, just follow the advice of nutritionists: acquire fresh products, often cooking at home, minimize the consumption of food and drink, whose label scope and content are more similar to the scenario of a fantastic Thriller.

    Lecithin for children

    It is difficult even to find words to describe how important lecithin for health and full development of children. Deficiency of lecithin phospholipids interfere with adequate absorption of fat-soluble vitamins, which can lead to rickets, scoliosis and osteoporosis. Lack of choline and acetylcholine can cause delays in mental and physical development of the baby, oppression of immune system, underdevelopment of the genital organs, disorders of blood clotting.

    The daily rate of lecithin for children is 1-4 the effects of lecithin deficiency in the first year of life is irreversible – it cannot be replenished, and lost intellectual potential cannot be returned.

    In children up to three years deficiency of lecithin manifested by the following features:

    Children 3-12 years the lack of lecithin in the diet turns into other problems:

    • Poor concentration, poor memory, low performance;
    • Difficulties with adaptation to new living conditions and training teams;
    • Emotional instability, aggression, unruly behavior;
    • Fatigue, muscle weakness;
    • Again, the low immune status and frequent colds.

    If you suspect your kid lecithin deficiency, especially if the child does not eat, his food and refuses useful, full meals, talk to your pediatrician regarding the use of lecithin. Preparation for kids is available in the form of a gel, granules, and capsules. Delicious fruit gel can be given to babies starting from the age of four months. Older children suitable granules are easy to add to liquid foods. And the guys from 8 to 16 years can take lecithin capsules. The dosage and duration of treatment indicated in the instructions, but sometimes is adjusted by a doctor.

    Lecithin for pregnant women

    Prophylactic administration of lecithin during pregnancy and lactation – this is your contribution to the future, because it will give your baby good health and good mental capacity. Most gynecologists prescribe to their patients lecithin-containing multivitamin complexes, starting from the second trimester of pregnancy. It is believed that in the first trimester, when the reserves of the mother's body is still almost untouched, the fruit will be so secured lecithin. In addition, it is better to minimize the interference of any foreign substances in the body, when laid major organs and systems of the fetus.

    The daily requirement of lecithin in pregnant women increases by about 30% and is 8-10 g, but to compensate for the deficit through fatty animal products – big mistake!

    Almost all mothers-to-be gain weight during pregnancy and very worried about it. One of the main causes of the problem – food whims and excessive consumption of fatty foods. To limit itself in meal it is impossible, but needtry to keep a healthy balance between proteins, fats and carbohydrates throughout pregnancy. And increased need the lecithin is easy to fill with the appropriate drugs.

    Prophylactic administration of lecithin gives pregnant women the following advantages:

    • Increasing the chance of survival of a premature baby due to stronger respiratory system;
    • Relief of pain in joints and backcaused by the weight of the belly and the redistribution of the loads on the skeleton;

    • Maintaining the health and beauty of hair, nails, skin and teeth;
    • Regulation of lipid metabolism, lowering levels of "bad" cholesterol and insurance from a set of excess weight.

    How to take lecithin: instructions for use

    Optimal dosage form for adults – lecithin powder. It usually take one teaspoon three times a day during meals. Powder you pour in any hot dish or drink: salad, juice, kefir, yogurt, cereal. For the treatment of multiple sclerosis, psoriasis and other serious diseases requires higher doses of lecithin – up to 5 tablespoons a day.

    Powder lecithin is very quickly digested and enters the bloodstream, so the positive effects of taking felt almost immediately. An hour before an important event (job interview, exam) it is recommended to take one teaspoon of lecithin, preferably with Pantothenic acid (vitamin B5). This tandem helps to cope with nervous excitement and insomniaif taken before bedtime.

    Children over 4 months lecithin pour in the milk mixture from the calculation a quarter of a coffee spoon 4 times a day or half 2 times a day. As they grow older toddler dosage can gradually increase to the full coffee spoons 2 times a day, and by the age of one year to go to the lecithin gel.


    • Opened package of powdered lecithin should be stored no longer than 60 days in a dark, cool and dry place;
    • The patients with acute cholecystitis, pancreatitis and gallstones lecithin can be taken only with great caution and under medical supervision, as it possesses choleretic effect and stimulates the removal of gallstones;

    • Those who are taking long-term high-dose lecithin (more than 3 tablespoons a day), you need to add to the diet vitamin C to protect against nitrosamines, products of choline metabolism, and calcium to bind excess phosphorus.

    Indications for uselecithin

    Indications for the use of lecithin are:

    What foods contain lecithin?

    Before to talk in detail about what foods contain lecithin, it is necessary to clarify that the highest concentrations of this substance are present only where there is a lot of fat. So when you say that lecithin is in pork liver, cabbage and broccoli, it does not mean that you can eat a serving of any of these products, and get the same amount of lecithin. It is not even close to comparable.

    Divide all the products containing lecithin into two large groups:

    • Products of animal origin;
    • Products of plant origin.

    The richest content of natural lecithin animal products are egg yolks and liver, and vegetable and crude soybean and sunflower oil.

    Animal products-record for the content of lecithin:

    • Egg yolks;
    • Liver and other offal;
    • Meat and poultry;
    • Fatty fish;
    • Margarine and butter;
    • Cheese and full-fat cottage cheese;
    • Cream and buttermilk.

    Herbal products containing high lecithin: