Soy lecithin has many health benefits. It adds creaminess to recipes and is a source of choline, which helps dissolve fat and cholesterol and can help regulate your kidney, liver and gallbladder function.
Lecithin is an essential nutrient that is required by your body, but not made in adequate amounts. Deficiency in lecithin can cause digestive problems, forget-fullness, nausea, intolerance to fats and joint and muscle problems.
Supplementing is a great way to ensure that you have enough of this nutrient. However, there are more risks than benefits if you choose the wrong kind – and there are two keys to look for in choosing the right soy lecithin.
KEY #1: GMO VS. NON-GMO
The buzzword getting a lot of attention these days is GMO (or GM, meaning genetically modified organisims) vs. non-GMO (non-genetically modified organisms).
Genetically modified foods have been changed by biotechnology to be resistant to herbicides and insects. While on the surface this may appear to be a good thing to do, the problem with GM foods is that we don’t know the impact on the health of humans or the environment. And at Body Ecology we are especially concerned about the bacteria in our inner ecosystem being altered by an inserted gene.
Research is showing that the DNA fragments can be taken up by the bacteria in our gut and then transferred from this micro-organism to other microorganisms. What will be the long term effect of bacteria in our gut being modified? Does this not remind you of scientists who are operating at the same level as little babies playing with razor blades? Enough studies about the risks of GM foods have come out to cause consumers to demand non-GMO products.
Soy, along with corn, make up the highest percentage of GM crops in the market, which means the soy lecithin you are eating may be GM. Many commercial food companies use lecithin in nutritional bars, mixes, and baby foods – so make sure you check the label for non-GMO soy lecithin.
Since the labeling laws of GM foods are still undergoing debate, another way to avoid GM soy lecithin is to stay away from processed foods.
Repair liver and protects arteries
In addition to the cardiovascular benefits of lecithin, there are indications that lecithin helps to restore livers that have been damaged as well as working with neurological functions such as memory to improve the brain’s effectiveness. Since lecithin is essentially composed of fat, it can act as a protective wall or sheath throughout the body to protect and strengthen membranes and prevent detrimental debris from sticking.
Pharmacological use of lecithin includes treatment for neurologic disorders and dementias. Lecithin is a good source of choline for treatment in dementias. Phosphatidylcholine is thought to be a precursor for acetylcholine (Ach) synthesis. Choline increases the accumulation of Ach within the brain. Ach is important for many brain functions including memory, so increasing concentration of this neurotransmitter may result in improved memory. Variable results occur using lecithin supplementation for treatment of neurologic disorders.
Lecithin is a necessary component of every cell in the human body. Considered a keystone in the construction of cells, lecithin prevents the hardening of cell membranes. Healthy cells lead to a healthier body, and the membranes are a critical part in monitoring a cell’s intake and output. Protecting cells is integral in maintaining a body’s resistance to many diseases that attack damaged cells. Phospholipids such as lecithin are produced in certain amounts throughout the major organs of the body (such as the heart, liver and kidney) but can be supplemented to further enhance unrealized benefits.
What is the recommended dosage?
Studies of lecithin in cognitive impairment have used a wide variety of doses, from 1 to 35 g daily. A systematic review has been published.