The dietary supplement phosphatidylcholine is found within soy lecithin. It is often used a dietary or lecithin supplement for those who have high cholesterol, fat deposits on their arteries, liver problems, dementia, gallbladder disease, headaches, bipolar depression, high blood pressure, or multiple sclerosis. In addition to ingesting it as a supplement, phosphatidylcholine can actually be used directly on the skin as a treatment for psoriasis and acne.
Phosphatidylcholine is part of the phospholipids class of molecules. These are sometimes called the essential phospholipids because they are necessary for a healthy body. The difference between these essential phospholipids and simple phospholipids is that the essential phospholipids contain choline and polyunsaturated essential fatty acids in them. These essential fatty acids include Omega-3 and Omega-6, two of the essential acids our bodies must have to be healthy yet cannot manufacture themselves.
In addition to fatty acids, choline also plays a very important part in keeping our bodies healthy. It helps to move fats in and out of our cells, and it helps keep the liver functioning properly. Without it, fat actually becomes trapped in the liver and leads to a backup in body functions. This can lead to a number of liver disorders.
Because of this, phosphatidylcholine is used to treat several different liver disorders. This includes viral hepatitis, cirrhosis of the liver, diabetic fatty liver, toxic liver damage, and it may even be helpful in treating alcohol related liver disease. However, so far, phosphatidylcholine has only been helpful in treating alcohol damage in baboons, not in humans, although it may provide some general benefits.
Phosphatidylcholine has also been show to be somewhat helpful in the treatment of bipolar depression. Those suffering from bipolar depression have shown some improvement when given phosphatidylcholine supplements. In related treatments, phosphatidylcholine may also be helpful in treating those suffering from Alzheimer’s disease. However, some studies have shown no improvements at all, while others have shown some small improvements. Because of this, more studies are necessary.
Before you take phosphatidylcholine, you should discuss the supplement with your doctor. If you’re taking any medicines or if you’re allergic to any medication, it’s important that your doctor know what kinds and what dosages you’re taking. Likewise, women should tell their doctors if they are going to take phosphatidylcholine while pregnant or breastfeeding. Also tell your doctor if you have any kind of blood vessel or heart disease or if you have high blood pressure.
Phosphatidylcholine does have a number of side effects. If you take large amount of it, you may find yourself feeling depressed. Because of this, you should only take phosphatidylcholine as a depression medication as directed by your doctor. Other serious side effects of phosphatidylcholine include chest pains, breathing difficultly, tightness in the chest or throat, swollen skin, hives, or a rash. If you experience any of these side effects, you should immediately stop taking phosphatidylcholine and contact your doctor. Other non-threatening side effects of phosphatidylcholine may include a reduction in appetite, gas, diarrhea, upset stomach, and unexpected weight gain.
When it comes to taking phosphatidylcholine as a supplement, many take it three times a day with meals. For liver disorders, the standard dosage is between 350 and 500 mg. For lowering cholesterol, a higher dosage of 500 to 900 mg is usually recommended. Those who are using phosphatidylcholine as a treatment for bipolar disorder or for Alzheimer’s disease will take huge amounts of phosphatidylcholine—between 5,000 and 10,000 mg.
While you can take phosphatidylcholine as a supplement, you can also get it from eating a number of different foods. It is present in cauliflower, lettuce, liver, soy, whole grains, legumes, egg yolks, and most meat. Small amounts of phosphatidylcholine are also present in many vegetables. Rarely does true phosphatidylcholine deficiency occur since it appears in so many different types of foods. However, a low phosphatidylcholine diet can be dangerous.
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