A practical guide for nutritional and traditional health care.

Soy Lecithin

Soy lecithin is an extract from the beans produced by the soy plant. In fact, soy lecithin is similar to soy isoflavone concentrate, which is also extracted from the beans of the soy plants.

Chemical analysis of soy lecithin has revealed that it encloses a substance known as phosphatidylcholine (PC), which the therapeutic consequences of soy lecithin are attributed to. In effect, phosphatidylcholine forms a main portion of the cell membranes. However, when one consumes phosphatidylcholine it is disintegrated into the nutrient called choline instead of being directly transported to the cell membranes. It may be noted that choline is utilized to produce acetylcholine - a chemical of the nervous system that is necessary for the appropriate functioning of the brain.

Soy lecithin offers several health benefits to us. It is worth mentioning here that soy lecithin is responsible for making the building blocks of robust cell membranes available, in addition to putting off any harm to blood as well as liver by means of free radicals, oxidation and toxins. In addition, lecithin may also be employed in the form of a fat synthesizer that facilitates the processing of the fats by the body. Very lately, physicians have been recommending the use of lecithin as a medication for treating various mental as well as neurological ailments, comprising Alzheimer's disease, Tourette's syndrome as well as bipolar mood disorder (also known as manic-depressive disorder).

As mentioned earlier, soy lecithin (referred to as E322) is hauled out of soybeans through processes that may either be mechanical or chemical. In effect, soy lecithin is a derivative of the beans of the soy plant during production of its oil. A number of people utilize soy lecithin in the form of a supplement owing to the substance's rich content of choline.

However, it needs to be noted that these are not the sole attributes of soy lecithin for which this extract is utilized in the form of a preservative in different foods. Soy lecithin has emulsification attributes. In other words, this denotes that this substance has the aptitude to hold a candy bar 'as one' by ensuring that the cocoa as well as the cocoa butter do not take apart. In addition, soy lecithin is also utilized in bakery products to avoid the dough from becoming sticky as well as to augment its capacity to go up. In addition, soy lecithin also functions in the form of a purported agent for wetting. This particular attribute of soy lecithin makes it easier for cake mixes to spread more easily in a pan when liquid is added to them.

Given that soy beans are among the cheapest crops in the United States, especially owing to the subsidies provided by the federal government to the farmers, it is prudent to utilize inexpensive, natural soy that is an extracted emulsifier in the food processing industry.

Health benefits of soy lecithin

Soy lecithin offers several health benefits and some of the condition specific benefits offered by soy lecithin are discussed in brief below.

Liver cancer, cirrhosis of the liver and alcoholism: Many clinical trials and studies undertaken in laboratories have demonstrated that intake of soy lecithin helps to save the liver from any type of harm caused by alcohol, prescription drugs like galactosamine (a protein that has the aptitude to aggravate the liver) and paracetamol, as well as tetrachlorides present in cleansing solvents. Laboratory examinations undertaken on chronic hepatitis have shown soy lecithin to possess the aptitude to safeguard the liver from any type of fatty dumps as well as fibrosis - the growth of worthless fibrous tissues. In addition, soy lecithin has also been found to act on the cell membranes of the liver, facilitating the membranes to regenerate as well as mend themselves.

It may be noted that soy lecithin assists in safeguarding the liver from the harmful consequences of alcohol consumption and, at the same time, facilitates in relieving the symptoms of hangover following heavy alcohol consumption. In addition, soy lecithin also combats exhaustion as well as hypoglycemia (low blood sugar levels) by means of bringing the activities of the free radicals to an end, which would otherwise deaden the cells of the liver to the low levels blood sugar. Besides, soy lecithin also makes sure that our liver discharges sufficient glucose to make over for any meals that one might have skipped.

Atherosclerosis, gallstones and high blood cholesterol: Findings of several studies have shown that soy lecithin possesses the aptitude to lower the levels of blood cholesterol. The mechanism involved in this is somewhat complex, which includes chemically accumulating the partly digested soy lecithin in the intestinal walls into a structure that draws cholesterol towards it. Subsequently, the soy lecithin guides the larger elements of the low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, also known as 'bad' cholesterol, to the liver. When LDL cholesterol arrives in the liver, it is disintegrated and transformed into more petite elements of high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, also known as 'good' cholesterol.

If the observations of scientists at the Huntington College of Health Sciences are to be believed, studies have hinted that formation of gallstone may possibly be related to lower levels of soy lecithin in our body. In effect, lecithin is a vital constituent of bile, the substance produced and released by the gallbladder to facilitate the absorption of fats by the body. It is well known that lecithin also helps in safeguarding the body from the potential harms caused by the bile salts. However, scientists are yet to comprehend the precise manner in which lecithin levels as well as formation of gallstone are particularly associated. However, several alternative medicine as well as practitioners of herbal medicine are still of the view that the findings of the present researches are sufficiently strong to suggest using soy lecithin supplements may perhaps put off the formation of gallstones.

It has been established that soy lecithin encloses a chemical called phosphatidylserine, which lowers the manufacture of a chemical of the immune system known as tumour necrosis factor (TNF). In individuals who are suffering from multiple sclerosis, TNF sends signals to macrophages, a type of immune system cells, to assault the nerve cells. It has been found that the blood of people enduring multiple sclerosis usually possesses an inferior level of phosphatidylserine.

As aforementioned, soy lecithin forms a wonderful reserve of phosphatidylcholine - an essential constituent of the brain cell linings. When the supply of phosphatidylcholine to the brain is increased, it generally has a mild consequence on Alzheimer's disease. Nevertheless, it needs to be noted that using this supplement is particularly useful when it is used in conjugation with the prescription drug tacrine (Cognex) - a medicine that assists the brain in saving up phosphatidylcholine. In addition, to supplying phosphatidylcholine, soy lecithin also assists in transporting tacrine to the brain. The other health benefits offered by soy lecithin include lessening of memory loss, particularly in smokers as well as people enduring high blood pressure (hypertension). In these two health conditions a large number of the detrimental free radicals is produced by the body and these free radicals have the potential to harm the brain tissues.

While regular lecithin encloses approximately 10 to 20 per cent of phosphatidylcholine, studies undertaken by scientists in Europe have had a propensity to use concentrated soy lecithin products that often contains as high as 90 per cent phosphatidylcholine. The doses of soy lecithin mentioned here are based on the products that are additionally concentrated. The dosage of lecithin supplements used by researchers to treat psychological as well as neurological conditions is anything between 5 grams and 10 grams (5,000 mg and 10,000 mg) taken thrice every day. On the other hand, the standard dosages used for treating liver ailments were anything between 350 mg and 500 mg taken thrice every day. In order to treat high levels of blood cholesterol, the standard doses varied from 500 mg to 900 mg taken thrice every day.

It has been found that the use of lecithin speeds up breaking down fats, thereby helping the entire process and consequently, it has the potential to perk up metabolism. In fact, lecithin has been employed very successfully in the form of an element of a healthy diet to support weight loss. However, what is of most significance as well as the best part of using lecithin is that it is innate and it enables the body to shed that extra flab in an appropriate manner devoid of depending on medications that may have harmful effects in different other areas of an individual's health.

In addition, there are convincing research findings hinting that the benefits of lecithin in cell regulation may possibly have notable consequences on the functioning of the brain as well as one's memory, counting the potential improvements in the instances of amnesia, dementia, Alzheimer's disease and many more conditions.

For quite some time, medical practitioners as well as scientists have recognized that lecithin as well as choline are two necessary elements for the proper functioning of the liver and also for our general health. Lecithin and choline help to keep the liver fats diffused in water and, thereby, are able to put off those fats from building up. In addition, these two essential elements also help in regulating the flow of nutrients inside and out and, as a result of this they are able to wash out the toxic as well as waste substances from the liver even before they are able to cause any damage to the liver.

Intake of soy lecithin has a very small number of adverse effects, which you ought to be aware of. For instance, individuals who are susceptible to allergic reactions to soy products should never use any product that may contain soy lecithin. However, in the case of the majority of people, the benefits of using soy lecithin supplements are far more compared to the side effects caused by it. In addition, soy lecithin is an excellent source of the element choline that helps to promote the health of several parts of our body.

One of the common side effects of soy lecithin, especially when it is used for the first time, is mild diarrhea. While soy lecithin facilitates in turning round cirrhosis of the liver caused by drinking excessive alcohol, it is vital to stop taking alcoholic beverages, or at least greatly reduce drinking alcohol, while one is using lecithin.

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