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About Lecithin & Phospholipids

About Lecithin & Phospholipids

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● Memory and Brain Nutrition

Approximately 30 percent of a brain matter is lecithin and phospholipid, and it is reported that consumptions of lecithin and phospholipid benefits the health by improving memory, protecting neuronal cells [1], and increasing choline, the progenitor of neurotransmitter acetylcholine. Choline is reported to have an effect of enhancing lifetime memory of an infant when the mother has sufficient of choline during pregnancy and lactation.

● Blood Cholesterol Level

Consumptions of lecithin and phospholipid improve overall blood cholesterol levels by increasing the concentration of HDL-Cholesterol, known to be beneficial for the health, while decreasing excessive concentration of LDL-Cholesterol in the body.

● Cardiovascular Health

Lecithin and phospholipids are reported to improve blood circulations by increasing level of HDL-Cholesterol while decreasing that of LDL-Cholesterol in the blood as well as help treating heart diseases and high blood pressure [5], [6].

● Liver Diseases

Choline is essential for liver to function and cause liver diseases in the order of liver damage – fatty liver – cirrhosis – liver cancer when lacked for a long time. [7] [8] Choline must be consumed from diet, however, as almost no choline is synthesized naturally in the body. Phosphatidylcholine, which is found in lecithin/phospholipids, is a great source of choline.

● Anti-oxidative Effects

Lecithin/phospholipids are known to prevent oxidative degradation of lipids. [9] In particular, lecithin is reported to have synergic anti-oxidative effects when present with other anti-oxidative agents. [10] Also, among egg yolk proteins, phosvitin serves an important role in bone development and anti-oxidation mechanism. [11], [12], [13]

● Anti-inflammatory Effects

Lecithin/phospholipids alleviate inflammations and increases effect of other inflammatory treatments while decreasing side-effects. [14], [15]

● Immunity

Lecithin/phospholipid are reported to enhance the efficacy of specific antibacterial and antiviral agents. Recently, lecithin/phospholipids are found to increase activity of macrophages. [16], [17]

● Physical Strengths

Blood choline level is known to decrease when exposed to physical stresses. When lecithin/phospholipid are additionally consumed during strenuous activities, they are expected to enhance the efficiency of work/labor and the shorten recovery time. [18], [19]

● Lutein and Zeaxanthin

Lecithin/phospholipids are also known to contain large of carotenoids, such as lutein and zeaxanthin. These are reported to protect lipid membranes from radicals, prevent oxidation of cellular walls [20], and maintain macular pigment density, thereby keeping eyes healthy. In addition, it is reported that lutein from egg yolk has higher bioavailability than that from spinach. [21]


1. Yaguchi T, Nagata T, Nishizaki T: 1-Palmitoyl-2-oleoyl-sn-glycero-3-phosphocholine improves cognitive decline by enhancing long-term depression. Behav Brain Res 2009, 204:129-132.

2. 전영희, 장유경, 백태경: 태생기 및 신생기의 Phosphatidylcholine 보충이 기억력 향상에 미치는 영향. 한국영양학회지 1999, 32:864-869.

3. Wójcicki J, Pawlik A, Samochowiec L, Kaldoǹska M, Myśliwiec Z: Clinical evaluation of lecithin as a lipid-lowering agent. Phytotherapy Research 1995, 9:597-599.

4. Childs MT, Bowlin JA, Ogilvie JT, Hazzard WR, Albers JJ: The contrasting effects of a dietary soya lecithin product and corn oil on lipoprotein lipids in normolipidemic and familial hypercholesterolemic subjects. Atherosclerosis 1981, 38:217-228.

5. Klimov AN, Konstantinov VO, Lipovetsky BM, Kuznetsov AS, Lozovsky VT, Trufanov VF, Plavinsky SL, Gundermann KJ, Schumacher R: "Essential" phospholipids versus nicotinic acid in the treatment of patients with type IIb hyperlipoproteinemia and ischemic heart disease. Cardiovasc Drugs Ther 1995, 9:779-784.

6. Eshigina S, Gapparov MM, Mal'tsev G, Kulakov SN: Influence of dietary therapy containing sunflower oil fortified with phospholipids on the lipid metabolism in patients with hypertension and obesity. Vopr Pitan 2007, 76:58-62.

7. da Costa KA, Cochary EF, Blusztajn JK, Garner SC, Zeisel SH: Accumulation of 1, 2-sn-diradylglycerol with increased membrane-associated protein kinase C may be the mechanism for spontaneous hepatocarcinogenesis in choline-deficient rats. J Biol Chem 1993, 268:2100-2105.

8. Corbin KD, Zeisel SH: Choline metabolism provides novel insights into non-alcoholic fatty liver disease and its progression. Curr Opin Gastroenterol 2012, 28:159.

9. Song JH, Inoue Y, Miyazawa T: Oxidative stability of docosahexaenoic acid-containing oils in the form of phospholipids, triacylglycerols, and ethyl esters. Biosci Biotechnol Biochem 1997, 61:2085-2088.

10. Bandarra NM, Campos RM, Batista I, Nunes ML, Empis JM: Antioxidant synergy of α-tocopherol and phospholipids. J Am Oil Chem 1999, 76:905-913.

11. Liu J, Czernick D, Lin SC, Alasmari A, Serge D, Salih E: Novel bioactivity of phosvitin in connective tissue and bone organogenesis revealed by live calvarial bone organ culture models. Dev Biol 2013, 381:256-275.

12. Lu CL, Baker RC: Characteristics of egg yolk phosvitin as an antioxidant for inhibiting metal-catalyzed phospholipid oxidations. Poult Sci 1986, 65:2065-2070.

13. Maheswari SU, Ramadoss CS, Krishnaswamy PR: Inhibition of Fe(II) catalyzed linoleic acid oxidation and DNA damage by phosvitin. Mol Cell Biochem 1997, 177:47-51.

14. Leyck S, Dereu N, Etschenberg E, Ghyczy M, Graf E, Winkelmann J, Parnham MJ: Improvement of the gastric tolerance of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs by polyene phosphatidylcholine (Phospholipon® 100). Eur J Pharmacol 1985, 117:35-42.

15. Lichtenberger LM, Romero JJ, Dial EJ: Gastrointestinal safety and therapeutic efficacy of parenterally administered phosphatidylcholine‐associated indomethacin in rodent model systems. Br J Pharmacol 2009, 157:252-257.

16. Jannace PW, Lerman RH, Santos JI, Vitale JJ: Effects of oral soy phosphatidylcholine on phagocytosis, arachidonate concentrations, and killing by human polymorphonuclear leukocytes. Am J Clin Nutr 1992, 56:599-603.

17. Miranda DTSZ, Batista VG, Grando FCC, Paula FM, Felício CA, Rubbo GFS, Fernandes LC, Curi R, Nishiyama A: Soy lecithin supplementation alters macrophage phagocytosis and lymphocyte response to concanavalin A: a study in alloxan‐induced diabetic rats. Cell Biochem Funct 2008, 26:859-865.

18. Jäger R, Purpura M, Kingsley M: Phospholipids and sports performance. J Int Soc Sports Nutr 2007, 4:1-8.

19. Sandage BW, Sabounjian L, White R, Wurtman RJ: Choline citrate may enhance athletic performance. Physiologist 1992, 35:236.

20. Sujak A, Gabrielska J, Grudziński W, Borc R, Mazurek P, Gruszecki WI: Lutein and zeaxanthin as protectors of lipid membranes against oxidative damage: the structural aspects. Arch Biochem Biophys 1999, 371:301-307.

21. Chung HY, Rasmussen HM, Johnson EJ: Lutein bioavailability is higher from lutein-enriched eggs than from supplements and spinach in men. J Nutr 2004, 134:1887-1893.

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