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What is Soy Lecithin?
Lecithin is the popular and commercial name for a naturally occurring mixture of phosphatides (also called phospholipids or, more recently by biochemists, phosphoglycerides), which varies in color from light tan to dark reddish brown and in consistency from a fluid to a plastic solid. Lecithin is the gummy material contained in crude vegetable oils and removed by degumming. Soybeans are by far the most important source of commercial lecithin and lecithin is the most important by-product of the soy oil processing industry because of its many applications in foods and industrial products. The three main phosphatides in this complex mixture called "commercial soy lecithin" are phosphatidyl choline (also called "pure" or "chemical" lecithin to distinguish it from the natural mixture), phosphatidyl ethanolamine (popularly called "cephalin"), and phosphatidyl inositols (also called inositol phosphatides). Commercial soy lecithin also typically contains roughly 30-35% unrefined soy oil. Indeed lecithin is one of the most complex and versatile substances derived from the soybean.
The History of Soy Lecithin
The world's earliest research on and production of lecithin and soy lecithin was done in Europe, with first France, then Germany leading the way. Early Research (Pre 1900) . The first indication of the occurrence of complex fatty acids was obtained by the Frenchman Fourcroy in 1793 and in 1812 Vauquelin succeeded in isolating phosphorous-containing fats from the brain. Fremy in 1841 called one of Vauquelin's compounds "oleophosphoric acid." The actual discovery of lecithin, however, is credited to the Frenchman Gobley. Gobley (1846, 1847 Refs??) isolated from egg yolks a soft, viscous, orange colored substance which made an emulsion with water. In 1850 he named it "lecithin." (Maclean and Maclean 1927). Later Gobley found similar substances in the brain of birds, sheep, and humans, in the eggs and milk of carp, in blood, gall, and edible snails. He realized that lecithin was a mixture of substances. In Germany the lecithin described by Gobley was first investigated precisely in the laboratory of Hoppe-Seyler in Tubingen. Diaknow (1867-68 Ref??) succeeded in obtaining very pure lecithin from egg yolk, caviar, and brain, and in proving that the nitrogen-containing portion was choline (Kunze 1941). The classical European treatises on lecithin (such as Thudichum's A Treatise on the Chemical Constitution of the Brain , of 1884 Ref??) dealt mostly with the phosphatides of animal origin.
The Top 5 Reasons You Need Soy Lecithin
The most commonly cited lecithin benefits include: 1. Cholesterol reduction Research indicates that a diet rich in lecithin may increase good HDL cholesterol and lower bad LDL cholesterol. Lecithin supplements have also shown promise in lowering cholesterol. In a 2008 study, participants took 500 milligrams (mg) of soy lecithin a day. After 2 months, the average total cholesterol was reduced by 42 percent, and LDL cholesterol was reduced by 56.15 percent. 2. Improved immune function Supplementing with soy lecithin may increase immune function, particularly in people with diabetes. A Brazilian study on rats found that daily lecithin supplementation increased macrophage activity by 29 percent. Macrophages are white blood cells that engulf debris, microbes, cancerous cells, and other foreign materials in the body. Also, the number of natural killer cells called lymphocytes, which are vital to the immune system, increased by 92 percent in non-diabetic rats. Further research is needed now on humans, to confirm these findings. 3. Better digestion Ulcerative colitis is a form of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) that affects up to 907,000 people in the U.S. Lecithin may help to reduce digestive distress in those with the condition. Research suggests that the emulsifying activity of lecithin improves mucus in the intestine, protecting the gastrointestinal lining. This may be because lecithin contains phosphatidylcholine (PC), which is also a component of mucus. People with ulcerative colitis have 70 percent less PC than people with other forms of IBD or those without the disease. Although research is lacking, anecdotal evidence suggests that people with digestive distress caused by issues other than ulcerative colitis may also benefit from lecithin use. 4. Enhanced cognitive function Choline, a component of phosphatidylcholine, plays a role in brain development and may improve memory. Infant rats who received choline supplements experienced lifelong memory enhancement due to changes in the memory center of their brains. The brain changes were so noticeable that researchers could identify the animals that had taken supplemental choline, even when the rats were elderly. Because of the effect of chlorine on the brain, it has been proposed that lecithin may be beneficial for those with neurologic disorders, Alzheimer's disease, and other forms of dementia. 5. As a breastfeeding aid Some women who breastfeed may experience clogged milk ducts, where the breast milk does not flow correctly through the duct. This condition is painful and makes breast-feeding more difficult. It can also lead to the development of mastitis, an infection of the breast tissue that affects approximately 10 percent of American women who are breast-feeding. To help prevent mastitis and difficulty nursing, the Canadian Breastfeeding Foundation recommend that people who experience recurrent blocked milk ducts take 1,200 mg of lecithin four times a day as a preventative measure. Lecithin does not, however, work as a treatment for those who already have clogged ducts.
Shocking Facts About Soy Lecithin
Most lecithin supplements are made from soybeans. Lecithin supplements are used to treat several medical conditions and health issues, but research on their effectiveness is limited. There are no well-documented interactions between lecithin and any medications, drugs, or medical conditions. People with allergies to eggs or soy should check the source of the lecithin in their supplements and food before consuming. The Benefits of Soy Lecithin
Why Soy Lecithin Is The #1
Lecithin has been promoted as a treatment for: • gallbladder disease • liver disease • bipolar disorder • anxiety • eczema, dermatitis, and dry skin conditions It should be noted that the research on lecithin's effectiveness in treating these conditions is very limited or nonexistent.
Top 3 Questions People Ask About Soy Lecithin
1. What is Soy Lecithin? In the simplest terms, soy lecithin a byproduct of soybean oil production. It’s extracted either mechanically or using a chemical called hexane. It contains pretty much none of the soy proteins that we try to avoid, although it does contain many of the phyto-estrogens inherent to soy.
2. Is Soy Lecithin Paleo? Of all the foods that Paleo people ask about, Soy Lecithin is one of the most popular. Do you know why? You would expect people to ask about foods that have been eaten for a very long time (like potatoes or dairy). And to be sure, those are also popular foods to ask about. But soy lecithin??? People ask about soy lecithin, because they see it listed as an ingredient in their chocolate bars. Most chocolate contains soy lecithin. It’s what holds the chocolate together (an oversimplification).
3. Is Soy Lecithin Healthy? What people really want to know when they ask if Soy Lecithin is Paleo is whether it’s healthy. But like the first question, this question is dumb for the same 2 reasons: First, the answer is pretty obvious: Of Course Not. If you search enough, you’ll find articles about Soy Lecithin contains Choline, which is good for you. (Big deal). Just because it contains one vitamin or mineral does not make it healthy.
Tips for a Soy Lecithin
Soy Lecithin, or lecithin, is commonly used to hold emulsions together. Lecithin is a very common ingredient in packaged foods because it is such a great emulsifier and stabilizer. It's also the main reason egg yolks work so well to stabilize mayonnaise, aiolis, and sauces like Hollandaise. In modernist cooking it is often used to hold vinaigrettes together, create light foams and airs, and add elasticity and moisture tolerance to doughs.