Is Soya Lecithin Beneficial?
Soya lecithin is one of the most widely used food additives on the market and you will find this in many foods sometimes referred to as soy lecithin which is exactly the same thing. You can also find soya lecithin supplements usually in granules or capsules. So what is soya lecithin and does it provide any benefits?
What is Soya Lecithin?
Lecithin is a general term that is given to a group of naturally occurring fatty compounds that are found in some plants including cottonseed, rapeseed as well as soyabeans.
Chemically, lecithin is composed of choline, phospholipids and triglycerides. It is used by the food industry because it is an excellent emulsifier making sure that both oil and water-soluble foods mix evenly by making the oil particles smaller in size therefore giving many foods a uniform appearance.
Soya lecithin is extracted from soyabeans and contains only a trace amount of soya proteins as some people are allergic to these proteins. Nevertheless, if someone is allergic to soyabeans then they should be cautious before using soya lecithin.
There is another set of compounds in soya lecithin called isoflavones. Isoflavones are compounds often referred to as phytoestrogens because chemically they are very similar to oestrogen and soya beans contains a high amount of these hormone type compounds.
Soya lecithin benefits
Soya lecithin supplements are very popular because they contain two components that are essential for the formation of every cell membrane in our bodies, phosphatidyl choline and phosphatidyl serine. These cell membranes are liable to damage from all the chemicals that the body in exposed to. There are other benefits with lecithin usage.
Lecithin for cholesterol - studies indicate that lecithin improves cholesterol levels which increase for most people with age. Research indicates that soya lecithin reduces the ‘bad cholesterol’ called LDL and improves ‘good cholesterol’ called HDL. Most studies indicate a reduction of 40% between one and two months.
Lecithin for memory – studies indicate that phosphatidyl serine from lecithin supplements may improve memory and mood especially in the elderly and those suffering from decline in brain function.
Lecithin for menopause – research studies suggest that lecithin supplements provide relief from some menopausal symptoms by their effect on blood pressure. Lecithin supplements also enhanced energy levels which can be low during menopause.
Lecithin for strong bones – it is suggested that the phytoestrogens found in soya lecithin might contribute to stronger bones since bone density is governed by a lack of oestrogen being one of the reasons.
Lecithin for anxiety – some studies indicate that lecithin may dampen stress-related symptoms including anxiety. The combination of phospholipids such as phosphatidylserine found in lecithin has been shown to help lower levels of cortisol as well as other adrenal hormones.
Lecithin as a source of choline – lecithin naturally contains phosphatidylcholine which is an important source of choline. Choline is required for the formation of the nerve bundles, for brain function, for liver cleansing, for muscle movement and for healthy metabolism which is why lecithin is often used for weight loss.
Soya lecithin is generally safe for most people unless you are allergic to soya products and this is usually due to the proteins within the soya bean. Soya lecithin provides numerous benefits as outlined above and can easily be added to one’s diet on a daily basis. Unfortunately, over 90% of soyabeans are from genetically modified sources which means that the majority of lecithin supplements are obtained from GMO soya.
I tend to recommend Lamberts Lecithin Granules which can be sprinkled onto cereals, mixed into smoothies and added to many liquid foods easily such as soups and stock. Lamberts lecithin is from a non-GMO source.