A fat-like substance found in every cell of the body, the nutrient lecithin is involved in all processes of life. Written by a leading lecithin authority, Lecithin and Health documents the many benefits of lecithin, from improving reproductive health to enhancing function of the cardiovascular system, increasing physical performance, and reducing the risk of cancer. It then guides you in improving your well-being through a lecithin-rich diet and lecithin supplementation
Frank Orthoefer, PhD, earned his master of science degree from Ohio State University and his doctorate from Michigan State University. He has published numerous papers in scientific journals, texts, and reference books, and also holds several patents.
1. Description of Lecithin
The Importance of Lecithin
A Word of Caution
Definitions and Structures of Lecithin
The Major (and most important) Components of Lecithin for Human Health
Properties of Lecithin
Where Lecithin is Found
Commercial Lecithin and Its Composition
2. Lecithin Biology (How it Works)
Central Nervous System and Nerve Cells
3. Lecithin in Relation to Other Nutrients
Cholesterol, Lecithin and Lipids
Serum (blood) Lipids (fats)
4. Lecithin in Nutrition
Lecithin is Fundamental to Nutrition
5. Associated Diseases
Cardiovascular Disease (CVD)
Nerve and Brain Function
6. Lecithin in Your Diet
Specifications and Types
What Forms of Lecithin Are Available
7. A Healthy Diet with Lecithin
Appendix. Lecithin Uses
Utilization of Lecithin
Lecithin as an Emulsifier (Nature’s Surfactant)
The U.S. population is aging. Over the past 96 years in the U.S., life expectancy increased from 47.3 years in 1990, to 74.1 years in 1981 and to age 76 in 1996. From 1960 to 1994, the population 85 years and older grew by 274%. As we collectively grow older, we become more concerned about our own health, evaluating our nutritional status and learning how nutrition affects our longevity. The thousands of books, pamphlets, and commercials that continually bombard us promote various products and theories of what is “good for you.” Each one attempts to provide a product, an ingredient, a supplement, or an alternative therapy that will satisfy a health need, help a medical problem, or guide us toward a long and healthy life. We, as consumers, are also continually looking for a product that will slow aging, cure an illness, prevent a disease or promote wellness. Through all the scientific and popular journals and articles, there is one such substance that has not been mentioned often enough nor has it been the subject of many promotions. That substance is lecithin. Those people who are already familiar with health foods and nutrition may be knowledgeable of lecithin, but for the most part it is a little-known essential nutrient that is basic to all aspects of life. Consequently, lecithin is an important nutrient for us to include in our daily diets.
Lecithin’s use as a nutrient and as a supplement has been reported to be an aid for various illnesses ranging from curing cardiovascular disease to improving mental function. Lecithin is widely utilized in almost all food preparations and many cosmetics as a mixing or blending agent (emulsifier). In this crucial function, it acts to promote the mixing of oil with water. Health food stores, some pharmacies and drug stores are the only places that carry lecithin on their shelves in various pure forms that range from liquid to powders, granules to encapsulated forms. All are intended for oral consumption. We have known about lecithin for years, but little has been understood about its function, metabolism, and critical physiological role in our bodies. As research continues and we discover the many important roles of lecithin in our bodily functions, it expands in importance from its role as a simple emulsifier to a more important role as a vital nutrient. It is now possible to describe this growing role based on the recent cellular research and molecular biology studies being done on lecithin. This research has significant implications toward our health. We should all know more about lecithin as a nutrient and its importance as a supplement to our diet. Its role is essential. The topics that will be discussed in this book include some technical definitions of lecithin terminology; food sources of lecithin; how lecithin is made or isolated; its properties, uses and biochemistry; its effects on our body; how lecithin affects our health; and some recipes for lecithin as an addition to foods.
You are invited to read through this discussion of the latest scientific findings. It is my aim to provide you, the health conscious consumer, with greater insight into this natural substance and to describe its properties and characteristics. Once you are aware of what lecithin is, its role in your biochemistry and nutritional status, and its importance to health, you will want to make lecithin a part of your daily diet. It may well be the miracle nutrient that serves as your pathway to optimal health.