Lecithin

What other names is Lecithin known by?

Egg Lecithin, Lécithine, Lécithine d'œuf, Lécithine de Graine de Soya, Lécithine de Soya, Lecitina, Ovolecithin, Ovolécithine, Phospholipide de Soja, Phospholipide de Soya, Phospholipides de Soya, Soy Lecithin, Soy Phospholipid, Soy Phospholipids, Soya Lecithin, Soybean Lecithin, Vegilecithin, Vitellin, Vitelline.

What is Lecithin?

Lecithin is a fat that is essential in the cells of the body. It can be found in many foods, including soybeans and egg yolks. Lecithin is taken as a medicine and is also used in the manufacturing of medicines.

Lecithin is used for treating memory disorders such as dementia and Alzheimer's disease. It is also used for treating gallbladder disease, liver disease, certain types of depression, high cholesterol, anxiety, and a skin disease called eczema.

Some people apply lecithin to the skin as a moisturizer.

You will often see lecithin as a food additive. It is used to keep certain ingredients from separating out.

You may also see lecithin as an ingredient in some eye medicines. It is used to help keep the medicine in contact with the eye's cornea.

Possibly Effective for...

  • Liver disease. Taking lecithin seems to reduce the accumulation of fat in the liver of people who are fed long-term through a needle in the vein (parenteral nutrition).

Possibly Ineffective for...

  • Gallbladder disease.

Likely Ineffective for...

Insufficient Evidence to Rate Effectiveness for...

  • High cholesterol. Limited research shows that lecithin decreases cholesterol in healthy people and in people taking cholesterol-lowering therapy (statins). However, other evidence shows that lecithin has no effect on low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol or total cholesterol levels in people with high cholesterol.
  • Manic-depressive disorder. Early research shows that taking lecithin improves symptoms of delusions, jumbled speech, and hallucinations in people with mania.
  • Dry skin, dermatitis. Lecithin is often put in skin creams to help the skin retain moisture. People may tell you this works, but there is no reliable clinical research showing that lecithin is effective for this use.
  • Athletic performance. Limited research shows that taking lecithin by mouth does not seem to improve athletic performance in trained athletes.
  • Movement disorders (tardive dyskinesia). Early studies suggest that taking lecithin by mouth alone, or in combination with lithium, does not appear to improve symptoms in people with tardive dyskinesia when used for 2 months.
  • Parkinson's disease. Early research shows that 32 grams lecithin daily does not improve clinical symptoms in people with Parkinson's disease.
  • Stress.
  • Anxiety.
  • Eczema.
  • Sleep.
  • Other conditions.
More evidence is needed to rate lecithin for these uses.

Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database rates effectiveness based on scientific evidence according to the following scale: Effective, Likely Effective, Possibly Effective, Possibly Ineffective, Likely Ineffective, and Insufficient Evidence to Rate (detailed description of each of the ratings).


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