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Lecithin - a vital component for all cell membranes

Lecithin is required by all cells in the manufacture of fatty cell membranes. It is found in the fatty myelin sheaths protecting nerves. It aids in the digestion & absorption of fats, prevents against artherosclerosis and gallstone formation.

What is lecithin?

Lecithin is a yellowy-brown fatty substance of the group called phospholipids. It occurs in animal and plant tissues and egg yolk and is composed of units of choline, phosphoric acid, fatty acids and glycerol. Commercial forms of lecithin, obtained from soybeans, corn and egg yolk, are used in candies, food cosmetics and inks.

Lecithin plays an important role in the metabolism of fat in the liver. It provides an effective lipotropic factor, choline, which prevents the accumulation of abnormal quantities of fat.

Lecithin is needed by every cell of the body. Cell membranes, which regulate which nutrients may leave or enter the cell, are largely composed of phospholipids made from lecithin. Without lecithin, the cell membranes would become less fluid, thus less permeable.

The protective sheaths surrounding the brain are composed of lecithin, containing phospholipids and the muscles and nerve cells also contain this fatty acid substance. Although lecithin is a fatty substance, it acts as an emulsifying agent.

What can lecithin help with in the body?

Lecithin is high in phosphorus and unites with iron, iodine and calcium to give power and vigour to the brain. As well as this, it aids in the digestion and absorption of fats in the body.

Lecithin helps emulsify and break up cholesterol in the body and allows it to pass through the arterial walls, helping prevent atherosclerosis. This makes it an especially important nutrient for the elderly. It has also been found to increase immunity against virus infections and to prevent the formation of gallstones.

Even distribution of body weight is also aided by lecithin. Lecithin is also known to promote energy and is needed to help repair the damage to the liver caused by alcoholism.

Lecithin plays an important part in maintaining a healthy nervous system and is found naturally in the myelin sheath, a fatty protective covering for the nerves. Taking lecithin will also help cleanse the liver and purify the kidneys.

How do you take lecithin?

Lecithin would be a wise addition to anyone's diet. 2 tablespoons of lecithin granules can be sprinkled on cereals and soups or added to juices or breads.

Lecithin also comes in a capsule form. Taking 1 capsule before meals helps the digestion of fats and absorption of the fat-soluble vitamins.

At Ideal Health we stock Lecithin capsules.

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The Naturopathic Team
Ideal Health

Disclaimer: The health information presented here has been written for the New Zealand health consumer. It is of a general nature and is only intended to provide a summary of the subjects covered and is intended to be used for educational and general information purposes only. It is not intended as medical advice or as a means to diagnose, treat, cure or prescribe for any particular condition or disease. You assume all responsibility for the treatment which may be undertaken as a result of the information on this site, or treatment recommended by any other party. While all care has been taken to ensure the accuracy of the information, no responsibility or liability is accepted, and no person should act in reliance on any statement contained in the information provided. All health ailments should be treated by a qualified health professional.

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