Lecithin is a compound consisting of phospholipids, glycolipids and triglycerides. For chemical purposes, this substance is extracted from soybeans or egg yolks. Lecithin helps cholesterol connect to lipoproteins, which help expel cholesterol from the body's tissues.
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- Moderately Easy
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Consult your doctor about your use of lecithin to treat high cholesterol. She may advise you on lecithin consumption based on your diet, exercise and current drug regimen.
Consume lecithin naturally by eating such foods as soybeans, egg yolk, wheat germ, grains, legumes, fish and peanuts.
Take a lecithin supplement pill. Swallow it with water or another liquid.
Add a lecithin powder supplement to shakes, smoothies, sauces or dips. A single tsp. is enough for one serving.
Keep your lecithin supplement dosage between 10 and 30 grams a day. However, normal dosages have not been determined for pregnant or nursing women, young children or those who suffer from severe liver or kidney disease.
Use dandelion leaves in your salad. These leaves are an excellent source of lecithin and are safe to eat. However, do not eat the flower.
Tips and warnings
- Since you may not have the means or know-how to extract phospholipids from egg yolks and soybeans, purchase lecithin in supplement form, particularly to treat high cholesterol.
- Lecithin can be found in most health food and nutrition stores.
- Lecithin, taken in doses of 10 to 30 grams per day, has no known side effects.
- Determine whether a lecithin supplement or powder is soybean or animal derived. People who eat kosher, vegetarian or vegan diets will want to know the difference.
- Be wary of commercials or advertisements that tout the multiple benefits of lecithin. Although known to treat high cholesterol, lecithin may have other unsupported health claims attributed to it.
- Maintaining a healthy diet and exercise regimen while using lecithin supplements is important. This is because lecithin may actually cause weight gain due to its high caloric and fatty-acid content.
- Watch out for side effects. High doses of lecithin can cause side effects, including weight gain, diarrhea, headache, rashes, nausea, dizziness, vomiting or "fishy" body odor.
- If you use lecithin granules in drinks, be sure to drink the liquid right away. Lecithin granules do not dissolve in liquid. Leaving them in the drink will yield a sticky paste.