What is Lecithin?
Lecithin is a naturally occurring substance that is found in egg yolk, organ meat, seafood, whole grains, and cooked vegetables like Brussels sprouts.
This is produced naturally in the liver.
Soy lecithin is a commonly used food additive that is added to processed food to keep them smooth without separating. It is also used as an additive in ice cream, peanut butter, bread, and other processed foods.
Lecithin has several health benefits that are supported by research. Whether or not it helps in weight loss is not definitively proven.
Does Lecithin Work For Weight Loss?
Lecithin supplements are available in a gel capsule, pill form, powder, and granules. Foods such as egg yolks, soybeans, peanuts, and wheat germ are good sources of lecithin.
These supplements are purchased to address several health conditions and symptoms such as high cholesterol and dementia. They are also recommended to nursing mothers to prevent clogged ducts.
Lecithin is known to work as a food emulsifier. It breaks down and disperses the fats and oils evenly. It keeps the food blended and smoothly textured. This is why lecithin is theorized to support lipid metabolism and the breakdown of fats in humans.
It breaks down fats into small molecules. These molecules turn into fatty acids that the body easily burn off as energy.
There are no direct studies that show lecithin’s ability to cause weight loss.
Lecithin is not a single chemical but a group of chemicals that fall in phospholipids. These chemicals are the essential components in numerous tissues throughout the body.(1) Once ingested, lecithin is converted into choline that has various health benefits, which are supported well by studies.
Choline is a small compound of lecithin and has many benefits in weight loss. A study done on female athletes, found choline supplements to reduce body mass when they used it to achieve rapid weight loss.(2) Phosphatidylcholine is a compound of lecithin that breaks down choline in the body.
Like lecithin, choline is also purchased in supplement form.
Side Effects Of Using Lecithin For Weight Loss
Lecithin is mostly considered safe to take. However, if planning to take it as a supplement, consult a doctor, especially if pregnant, trying to conceive, or breastfeeding.
Lecithin is known to cause reactions in people taking certain medications. It escalates the effect of oral diclofenac, a drug that is used in the treatment of arthritis and migraine.
Common side effects of lecithin include:
Other Benefits of Lecithin
- Lecithin is used in the treatment of gall bladder disease as well as fatty liver.
- Lecithin can provide some relief from fatigue and menopausal symptoms.(3)
- In high doses, lecithin can increase vigor and lower diastolic blood pressure
- Due to its choline content, it can improve memory and cognitive ability
It is also known to have positive effects on inflammatory processes, reduce drug interaction, lower total cholesterol level, and protect against neurological disorders.
Lecithin is naturally produced in the liver and can also be obtained from foods such as egg yolk, red meat, and organ meat. It is used as an emulsifier in processed foods. It has some health benefits, but its effect on weight loss lacks a significant body of evidence.