Soy lecithin is a mixture of phospholipids, naturally occurring fatty molecules, that is derived during the processing of soy beans. It is often found in chocolate bars, and sometimes in ice cream, peanut butter and margerines, where it works as an emulsifier by keeping the ingredients together. It is also added to dough to make it less sticky and easier to rise.
The most basic and natural soy lecithin benefits are the roles that it plays in the breakdown of fats in your body. Not all lecithin supplements are created equal though and some people will experience side effects.
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However, the benefits of soy lecithin can outweigh the negatives, especially if you choose the right supplement with the right source of soy.
5 Amazing Soy Lecithin Benefits Everyone Can Do With
Lecithin is actually a naturally occurring mixture of phospholipids. Although it is not an essential nutrient, it does have a number of health benefits that make it worth including as part of a daily supplement routine. It protects your cells by facilitating movement of fats, wastes, nutrients and ions in and out of the cells, while keeping the cell structure strong to keep its shape.
There are numerous soy lecithin benefits, such as:
Improves brain function. The main nutrient found in soy lecithin is phosphatidylcholine, also known as PC. PC is part of the membrane surrounding your cells and your body breaks it down into choline, which is widely known to be vital for the health of your brain. Choline is especially important for preventing memory loss and, in particular, preventing memory loss from old age.
Promotes healthy weight loss. Lecithin hastens the breakdown of fats, aiding the whole process and as a result can boost metabolism. It has been used quite effectively as part of a healthy diet to promote weight loss. Best of all, since it is natural, lecithin allows your body to lose weight properly without relying on drugs that could cause harm in other areas of your health.
Lowers cholesterol. The benefits of soy lecithin for lowering cholesterol are well known as it has been used for decades in treating patients with high cholesterol. It controls the flow of nutrients in and out of your cells and prevents the build up of fats in the walls of your heart, arteries and brain by breaking down the fatty deposits. For this reason, it not only benefits cholesterol levels, but also your cardiovascular health too.
Prevents disease. There is also strong research that suggests the cell regulation benefits of lecithin may also have significant effects on brain and memory function, including possible improvements for Alzheimer's, dementia, amnesia and more.
Essential for liver health. Doctors and scientists have known for some time that lecithin and choline are both essential for liver function and health. By keeping liver fats dispersed in water, lecithin and choline can prevent those fats from accumulating. Also, because they control the flow of nutrients in and out, they can essentially flush out toxins from your liver before they cause harm.
There are a few soy lecithin side effects you need to be aware of too. The most important of which is that if you have a serious soy allergy, you should avoid all products which contain it. For most people however, the soy lecithin benefits outweigh the other side effects and it is a great source of choline, which as you have seen can promote health in many areas of your body.
How to Get The Benefits of Soy Lecithin Without the Side Effects
Opinions on soy are mixed, but from my own personal experience, and those of others who have tested and experimented as I have, if you choose the right source of soy, there are considerable health benefits that you can experience.
There are three things to look for when choosing a soy lecithin supplement that you absolutely must adhere to if you want only the best quality without negative side effects.
- Choose soy that follows strict guidelines for toxicity. Pesticide levels are high on many soy crops so to avoid the potential health problems these harmful chemicals cause you should always choose a manufacturer that complies with Good Manufacturing Practices for human food products as established by the US FDA, the European Commission and the World Health Organization’s CODEX.
- Ensure the soy is fermented. Many soy sources are unfermented, and while this may seem like the better choice, studies have shown that unfermented soy contains toxins and plant oestrogens that could disrupt menstrual cycles, cause breast cancer, damage your thyroid, lower testosterone and cause prostate problems as well as being difficult to digest. Fermenting soy dramatically reduces these risks but still retains all the good nutrients needed to be healthier.
- Check that the soy is not genetically modified. Genetically modified organisms (GMO) pose considerable health risks and unfortunately, soy is one of the crops most likely to be modified. Long term effects are unknown and there is an increased risk of hidden toxins or interactions with other nutrients that you cannot predict. There are also no label requirements so you really have no idea what you are getting. When you consider that one in four food products are GMO, you really are risking your health by choosing food which has been genetically altered. The get the soy lecithin benefits, always check that the soy source is not genetically modified.
How to Choose the Best Source of Soy Lecithin (And The Supplement I Recommend)
Actually, soy is not the only source of lecithin. It can be found naturally in a number of foods. The best sources of lecithin in food are eggs and bee pollen. It can be found in wheat, peanuts and oatmeal as well, but I would personally avoid these foods as they are high in calories but low in actual nutritional value.
You can also get excellent soy lecithin benefits by choosing a health supplement which includes it as part of a total range of vitamins, minerals and nutrients. The best which I have found is Total Balance by Xtend Life Natural Products.
Although the soy used in Total Balance is not officially certified as organic, it is non-GM and is also manufactured in accordance with Good Manufacturing Practices for human food products as established by the US FDA, the European Commission and the World Health Organization’s CODEX.
Their soy lecithin also complies with the Australian standards for contaminants, natural toxicants, residues and food standards to ensure nothing harmful is present.
While some people will tell you only to choose organic soy beans, I would say that I trust Xtend Life 100% and that if they say their soy is contaminant free, then they will be true to their word. In fact, you can always contact them and you will receive a personal response answering all your questions. This is how I found out about their soy source.
Best of all, with Total Balance you can combine all your supplements into one, which means it is easier to keep track of what you are taking, it is more cost effective, and you do not have to take 20+ pills every day.