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LECITHIN

Essential to cell membranes, this nutritional supplement helps cells pass nutrients from one to another. It is also important to nerve cells and muscles. It helps break down cholesterol and other fats, so your body can eliminate. Low levels of lecithin in bile have been linked to a higher risk of gallstones. Lecithin also provides choline (often classified as a B vitamin). Lecithin supplements are believed to reduce cholesterol and treat liver and gall bladder disease.

Most of the studies conducted on lecithin have not involved human subjects, so the evidence for its efficacy is not the best. But one study involving baboons tested lecithin for its ability to protect
against alcohol-related cirrhosis of the liver. In those animals not receiving lecithin, 80 percent have liver disease. In those taking the lecithin supplements, none had liver disease.

What's more, the human studies that have been performed suggest that lecithin may help cholesterol-lowering drugs work more effectively.

Unfortunately, the best sources of lecithin have been associated with heart disease and obesity: eggs, organ meat, and animal fats are considered unhealthy additions to our diets. As we have reduced our intake of these foods, we have limited our intake of lecithin as well. Other sources of lecithin include soybeans, egg yolks, wheat germ, and peanuts. In addition, lecithin is often used to keep oils and liquids from separating in products like mayonnaise and salad dressing; 3 to 5
mg. are recommended per day.

High doses have been known to cause intestinal problems such as bloating and diarrhea.


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