Phosphatidylcholine: Benefits, Side Effects, and More

Medically Reviewed on 8/25/2022
Phosphatidylcholine: Benefits, Side Effects, and More
Although foods are the best sources of phosphatidylcholine, supplements are used to support brain health and liver health

Phosphatidylcholine is found naturally in the body as well as in foods such as eggs, soybeans, mustard, meat (especially liver), seeds, and nuts. 

Choline, along with a type of fat called phospholipid, is an important component of phosphatidylcholine. The body can produce choline endogenously in the liver (mostly as phosphatidylcholine), but not enough to fulfill requirements for health.

Phosphatidylcholine can potentially lower inflammation, reduce cholesterol levels, enhance liver function, and increase cognitive function.

Although foods are the best sources of phosphatidylcholine, supplements are used to support brain health and liver health.

7 benefits of phosphatidylcholine

1. Boosts brain health

The role of phosphatidylcholine in cell membrane integrity and intracellular communication has prompted various studies in neurology. Although research is limited, evidence shows that phosphatidylcholine supplementation may help alleviate symptoms of disorders associated with low acetylcholine levels, such as:

2. Protects liver health

Phosphatidylcholine is required for the formation and repair of cell membranes, as well as for optimal liver function.

According to studies, phosphatidylcholine plays a crucial role in the prevention and treatment of various types of liver disease. Phosphatidylcholine protects liver cells from viral damage, decreases fibrosis, and prevents cell death caused by medications, alcohol, and other substances.

Several studies have also reported that phosphatidylcholine has a preventive and healing impact on patients with hepatitis A, B, and C. Phosphatidylcholine treatment for chronic, active hepatitis resulted in a substantial decrease in disease activity

Studies have also reported that choline supplementation reversed hepatic steatosis or fatty liver disease in choline-deficient individuals. 

3. Promotes intestinal health

Phosphatidylcholine is a lipid found in the protective mucus layer of the gastrointestinal (GI) tract and can reduce GI damage due to its anti-inflammatory properties.

According to studies, phosphatidylcholine suppresses pro-inflammatory chemicals and is useful in treating ulcerative colitis. Emerging data also suggests that phosphatidylcholine can protect the stomach and intestinal lining against the detrimental effects of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.

4. May improve heart health

Phosphatidylcholine circulates in the blood as a key component of high-density lipoprotein (HDL), which is the good cholesterol that enhances cardiovascular health and lowers the risk of atherosclerosis. Studies suggest that phosphatidylcholine supplementation helps stabilize HDL levels and protects against heart diseases such as artery blockage.

5. May enhance athletic performance

There is some evidence that supplementing with phosphatidylcholine may improve athletic performance when used as a workout supplement.

The availability of choline for acetylcholine production is critical for optimal muscular activity. Phosphatidylcholine supplementation before vigorous exercise may enhance plasma choline concentration and thus improve performance.

6. Promotes healthy pregnancy

Phosphatidylcholine may support the healthy growth of the lungs and lung surfactants in an unborn baby. However, consult your doctor before taking phosphatidylcholine during pregnancy.

7. Boosts skin health

Phosphatidylcholine, together with saturated fatty acids such as palmitic and stearic acid, can help maintain the skin’s natural moisture barrier. Saturated phosphatidylcholine is present in many creams and replicates the skin's bi-layer structure, providing the following advantages:

  • Aids in skin regeneration
  • Supports skin barrier function
  • Prevents keratinization
  • Keeps skin soft and supple


Next to red peppers, you can get the most vitamin C from ________________. See Answer

What are the potential side effects of phosphatidylcholine?

Phosphatidylcholine is typically well accepted and has few adverse effects. Common negative side effects associated with higher doses include:

Phosphatidylcholine has been observed to cause an increase in acetylcholine levels when combined with cholinesterase inhibitors, which can lead to muscle weakness, seizures, etc.

Additionally, it is recommended that pregnant or nursing women avoid phosphatidylcholine supplements due to a lack of proper studies.

When administered as an injection under the skin, phosphatidylcholine is considered safe. However, at the injection site, there may be irritation, swelling, redness, itching, burning, bruising, and pain. Most of the time, these side effects subside after a few days.

What is the recommended dosage for phosphatidylcholine?

Studies have suggested that taking one 1,200 mg of phosphatidylcholine per day may produce 420 mg of choline, which is beneficial for overall health. This is almost all the choline required daily—450 mg for women and 550 mg for men. 

If you have a severe choline deficiency or need to consume more choline than usual, it is safe to take a higher dose of 2 capsules per day. However, you should consult your doctor before taking any supplements.

Health Solutions From Our Sponsors

Medically Reviewed on 8/25/2022
Image Source: iStock image

Phosphatidylcholine - Uses, Side Effects, And More.

The critical role of phosphatidylcholine and phosphatidylethanolamine metabolism in health and disease.