Lecithin is also known as alpha-phosphatidylcholines, lecithinum ex soya, sojalecithin,
or soy lecithin.
Lecithin is a group of chemicals that are related. It isn’t a single chemical. Lecithins
belong to a larger group of compounds called phospholipids. These are important parts
of the brain, blood, nerves, and other tissues. Phospholipids are also a part of cell
The body uses lecithin in the metabolic process and to move fats. Lecithins turn into
choline in the body. They help make the neurotransmitter acetylcholine.
Lecithin is commonly used as a food additive to emulsify foods. Many people know lecithin
as the oily film on their frying pan when they use a nonstick cooking spray.
There may be benefits that have not yet been proven through research.
Lecithin is used to treat dementia and Alzheimer disease. It's also used to treat
gallbladder disease. It may also help treat fatty liver (hepatic steatosis) in people
on long-term parenteral nutrition. But the role of lecithin is not well defined and
Lecithin comes in capsules, liquid, and granules. There is no recommended intake amount.
Foods that have lecithin include:
Signs of lecithin deficiency aren’t clear. They are more likely to be caused by choline deficiency,
Choline deficiency is rare. It may lead to:
Side effects, toxicity, and interactions
In normal doses, lecithin may cause side effects. These can include stomach aches,
diarrhea, or loose stools. It isn’t known what symptoms would occur if you take too
Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding should talk to their healthcare providers
before taking any supplements.
There are no known food or medicine interactions with lecithin.