Lecithin, a lipid material composed of choline and inositol, is found in all living cells as a major component of cell membranes, which regulate the nutrients entering and exiting the cell. The term "lecithin" has two definitions depending on what group is using the term. Scientists define lecithin as synonymous with phosphatidylcholine, the name for one of the principle phospholipids. On the other hand, producers of lecithin for commercial use the term lecithin to refer to a complex mix of phosphatides and other substances that contain phosphatidylcholine.
Lecithin is promoted as a quick fix for weight loss, as well as many other diseases and ailments. Lecithin supplement producers claim that lecithin has a beneficial role in:
- Cardiovascular health
- Liver and cell function
- fat transport and fat metabolism
- reproduction and child development
- physical performance and muscle endurance
- cell communication
- improvement in memory, learning and reaction time
- relief of arthritis
- healthy hair and skin
- treatment for gallstones
Lecithin is a necessary component of every cell in the human body.Considered a keystone in the construction of cells, lecithin prevents the hardening of cell membranes. Healthy cells lead to a healthier body, and the membranes are a critical part in monitoring a cell's intake and output. Protecting cells is integral in maintaining a body's resistance to many diseases that attack damaged cells. Phospholipids such as lecithin are produced in certain amounts throughout the major organs of the body (such as the heart, liver and kidney) but can be supplemented to further enhance unrealized benefits.
In addition to the cardiovascular benefits of lecithin, there are indications that lecithin helps to restore livers that have been damaged as well as working with neurological functions such as memory to improve the brain's effectiveness. Since lecithin is essentially composed of fat, it can act as a protective wall or sheath throughout the body to protect and strengthen membranes and prevent detrimental debris from sticking. Internal parts and mechanisms that may be affected negatively by hardening, such as arteries, are kept malleable by lecithin in a natural way through supplementation. Patients suffering from atherosclerosis often start a regimen of lecithin in an effort to reverse the condition's effects.
As a tool for heart health, lecithin also works to reverse and prevent damages that may arise from coronary artery disease. Preventing cholesterol and other fats from sticking is a vital function for the overall health of anyone with a predisposition to heart disease and other cardiovascular afflictions. The lubrication provided by lecithin creates a slippery lining on which it is difficult for large, fatty deposits to adhere. When large deposits of fat cannot adhere to specific regions of the body, they are transported to the liver where they are metabolized and converted to energy. Improved circulation seen as a result of lecithin supplementation helps to prevent blood clots and maintain the health of the liver through which excess fats and energy-providing substances will pass. Lecithin is also believed to have positive effects in the repair of livers damaged by any number of conditions, including excess consumption of alcohol or other toxins.
Dandelion is one of the biggest sources of lecithin and is found abandoned in nature.
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