Lecithin – Benefits and Uses Overview
Lecithin is a chemical component that is naturally found in eggs, soy, and some animal organs and it’s one that may help heal skin conditions for which there is no conventional medical cure.
Lecithin supplements are made by extracting lecithin from soy beans; in fact, lecithin is a byproduct of some forms of processing soy beans, although every 100 units of soy contains less than 1 unit of lecithin.
Lecithin is sometimes added to foods for its emulsifying properties, which means it can keep liquids from blending into one another, like oil and water for instance. But adding lecithin not only makes some foods creamier – it also improves their nutritional profile.
Lecithin Health Benefits
Lecithin and breastfeeding: The emulsifying property of lecithin may benefit breastfeeding mothers. According to a handout for new mothers written by Dr. Jack Newman, MD, FRCPC in 2003, lecithin is a safe treatment for blocked ducts that is effective in some cases. Blocked ducts can prevent adequate flow of breast milk and may be extremely painful. Newman believes the emulsifying property of lecithin helps increase the thickness of the milk by increasing polyunsaturated fats in breast milk.
Lecithin and psoriasis: lecithin has also been recommended by some experts for treating psoriasis. psoriasis is a skin condition where the rate of tissue growth and replacement is accelerated, causing sensitive red skin covered by silver or white scales. psoriasis is similar to eczema and dermatitis. Although the cause of psoriasis is not yet known, some current medical theories link these skin conditions to a thinning of the lining of the intestines, descriptively referred to as “leaky gut.” Some believe lecithin helps the body metabolize fats and cholesterols which are disrupted in those with skin conditions.
Doctors on lecithin and psoriasis: Edgar Cayce, who is often called the “Father of Holistic Medicine,” believed strongly in the connection between the digestive system and the skin. Cayce’s healings often included a detoxification of the body including juice fasting, eating raw and organic nuts and seeds, and sometimes cleansing the bowels with warm water enemas. Cayce also noted that many people with skin disorders like psoriasis would benefit from adding lecithin to their diets.
Dr. John O.A. Pagano, a Doctor of Chiropractic, has built upon Edgar Cayce’s Healing methods with some of his own findings for psoriasis, including the use of lecithin. In Healing Psoriasis, Pagano suggests consuming lecithin granules three times daily, along with a regimented diet, topical moisturizers, and a positive mental attitude.
Some Studies on Lecithin
Studies about lecithin and psoriasis: Topical applications of lecithin may also benefit skin disorders like psoriasis. According to a study published in the International Journal of Dermatology in June of 2011, researchers Amit Bhatia MPharm et al reported that lecithin may be added to coal tar for treating psoriasis without the risk of dyeing skin or hair. The staining characteristic of coal tar makes it a less favorable treatment for psoriasis on the scalp or areas of the body not usually covered with clothing, such as hands. The emulsifying factor in lecithin may also make it useful in aiding the treatment of psoriasis topically.
Lecithin and Weight Loss
There is no conclusive evidence that lecithin helps people lose weight. Many people believe in the theory that lecithin can help the body eliminate fat. This belief is based on the properties of lecithin that allow it to bind fat cells together, which some believe helps your body process fats without absorbing any. For this same reason, lecithin is thought to lower cholesterol as well. However, there is no current evidence or clinical trials that support the theory that lecithin contributes to weight loss or lowers cholesterol levels.
Can You Find Non-GMO Lecithin?
The overwhelming majority of soybeans grown in the US today are produced by genetically modified seeds. As consumers become more interested in finding non-genetically-engineered (non-GMO) foods, there is increased demand for lecithin from non-genetically modified sources, but these supplements have been difficult to find. Organic lecithin is still unavailable.
But there is good news. According to the Organic & Non-GMO Report, a few companies do produce lecithin from non-GMO sources. Those companies are located mostly in Brazil, India, Europe, but there are some farms in the United States currently raising non-GMO soybeans with the intent of producing non-GMO lecithin supplements. The report says organic forms of lecithin probably will become available in the near future, due to popular demand.
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