egg yolk

Lecithin was discovered over 100 years ago. It is a major constituent of egg yolks. The active ingredient in this natural substance is phosphatidylcholine. Some readers have reported that this compound lowers their cholesterol and is good for the heart and the brain. This person reports surprising success with supplements:

A Lecithin Success Story:

Q. I am 70 years old and have been taking lecithin for over 35 years. When the doctor viewed images of my arteries, he was amazed to find no plaque or calcification deposits of any kind. He said I had the arteries of a 20 year old. My heart doctor gave 100 percent credit to the lecithin for keeping my arteries clear.

Not being a smoker helped too, I’m sure. Lecithin has been recently credited with helping to prevent Alzheimer’s, according to my regular doctor. I recommend it to everyone.

A. Lecithin is a fatty acid found in egg yolks and soybeans. It is part of an enzyme critical to the production of beneficial HDL cholesterol, which might explain how it could have helped keep your arteries clear of plaque. One study found it may help lower bad LDL cholesterol (Cholesterol, 2010).

Mixed Results on Atherosclerosis:

It also seems to boost beneficial HDL cholesterol levels, but a recent review suggests that it may not protect people from atherosclerosis (Endocrinology and Metabolism, June, 2016). That doesn’t mean it couldn’t be helpful, but lecithin metabolism may be somewhat complicated (Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics, July, 2016). Certain common digestive tract bacteria convert choline, lecithin and carnitine to a toxic compound, trimethylamine N-oxide (TMAO). High levels of TMAO contribute to arterial plaque. Even though lecithin is part of a critical enzyme for producing HDL cholesterol, its role in atherosclerosis is not well understood (Journal of Atherosclerosis and Thrombosis, Feb., 2016).

Could Lecithin Be Beneficial for the Brain?

Lecithin is also a building block for the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, which may become low in Alzheimer’s disease. There are few placebo-controlled studies of lecithin supplements, but it appears to be generally safe.

Rodent research shows that egg yolk-derived lecithin could protect against forgetfulness induced by the drug scopolamine (Lipids in Health and Disease, Aug. 24, 2016). Aged rats also performed better in a water maze when they were given squid-derived lecithin (Progress in Neuropsychopharmacology & Biological Psychiatry, Jan., 2015).

In elderly humans with Alzheimer disease, pilot studies showed that soy lecithin had a positive effect on memory, mood and cognition (Advances in Therapy, Dec., 2014). A related compound, phosphatidylserine derived from soy, was better than placebo for improving cognitive function in aging Japanese people complaining of memory loss (Journal of Clinical Biochemistry and Nutrition, Nov., 2010).

Revised: 9/15/16

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  1. Vonne
    South Africa

    I dropped the statins for a month in 2012 and only took lecithin gel capsules, then had a lipogram again to see what is cholesterol went up considerably in the month i did not take my statins (Crestor) (had a mild heart attack in 2011. (70%) blockage.. 1 stent placed. I went back on statins. Now, been reading about lecithin again, and also read online that lecithin causes the arteries to clog (especially the granules).

    Then again, someone said their (elderly) father had a 95% blockage, and needed a heart bypass operation, doctors would not operate because of his frail condition, so family started giving him 1 tablespoon lecithin granules a day, and within a year the lecithin had cleared the artery so much that it was only 5% plaque in the artery?? Any advice anyone? There are so many conflicting stories!

  2. Roger

    I am a 65 year old male with severe arterial plaque in the arteries surrounding my heart. I was 50 pounds overweight 6 months ago. I lost the 50 pounds by eliminating all animal protein including all dairy, fish, poultry, and red meat. I also eliminated salt and sugar. I eat green leafy vegetables , tomatoes ,onions, fruit, beans ect. I started taking soy lecithin twice a day. My circulation has improved remarkably . It takes about 2 months before you really notice.

  3. Alberto

    My name is Alberto, I am 92 years old. No one believe that I am that old. I feel great, but I have every thing you can find in a Doctor encyclopedia. Cancer 10 years ago, the Doctor tells me it is cured, high blood, cholesterol, and recently the Doctor found a blockage in the artery in my neck for which he recommend surgery. I am very much concerned about having this surgery, as I read online that I can clean the artery without having surgery by taking Lecithin. Please, I need your help, your opinion on what should I do will be appreciated. Even the Doctors tell me that I look like a 70 year old man.

  4. Heide
    Delray Beach, FL

    In the 1980’s I was told by my MD not to eat egss because they contain cholesterol, etc. I was eating 2 eggs, sunny side up fried in PAM, slice of toast and glass of milk for lunch, almost every day. I had “normal” cholesterol readings. Wth all the media against eggs and what the MD suggested I decided to stop the eggs and my cholesterol went throught the roof, so then it was to take statins all of which pulled me down with muscle problems. I believe the lecitin in those eggs were fine for me and I should never have changed my diet. I am left with neuropathy in my toes and I hosestly believe it is from one of the statins I was taking. The neuropathy is “permanent”.

  5. Marra

    When my mother found a lump on her hip in 1998, a surgeon told her it was a cyst and cut it out. It left a big hole the size of a golf ball that wasn’t healing. She was later told she had breast cancer and took chemo. During that time, her surgeon sent a home health nurse to dress mom’s open wound. She cleaned the golf ball sized hole, and poured LECITHIN liquid into the wound and placed tegaderm over it to seal in the lecithin! She came twice a week to do this. Within a month the hole was filling in and healing! Unfortunately my mother died from the cancer, but the wound in her hip DID completely heal from only the LECITHIN! The nurse told us she also used lecithin for cooking, like frying chicken in it.

  6. Mark

    In the late 1960s my father had a mild heart attack and his doctor at the VA put him on several meds, all of which gave him uncomfortable side effects. My dad and I subscribed to Prevention Magazine and he came across an article by a Dutch biochemist named Jacob Riinse, whose angina made it difficult for him to be physically active. Dr. Riinse looked at his diet and came up with a breakfast of oatmeal, lecithin, wheat germ, safflower oil, skim milk and fruit. I believe it was after a year of eating this that the blockage in his arteries began to clear out.

    My dad was an experimental sort, as am I, and embraced this breakfast. I don’t recall how long it took before he noticed improvement, but at 67, he began jogging, working up to 3 miles per day. When rheumatoid arthritis in his feet became too painful, he switched to swimming, working up to a mile per day. He died in December, 1989 of pancreatic cancer, not the heart attack that he was sure was going to come.

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