Though lecithin is thought by many to aid in weight loss, there is no scientific indication that lecithin is an effective nutrient for losing weight. Lecithin is a fat emulsifier, however, and helps the body to process and metabolize fats more effectively. It also aids the liver in fat processing, through which it may also assist in fat metabolism.
Lecithin is a lipid composed of choline, inositol, phosphorus and linoleic acid. It is thought to protect against cardiovascular disease, promote brain function and protect the liver and kidneys; some also purport that it aids in weight loss, though this hasn't been scientifically proven.
Lecithin can naturally be found in many foods, including eggs, cabbage and lentils. To take lecithin for weight loss, it can also be consumed in supplement form or as a powder sprinkled onto food, mixed into yogurts or cereals, or made into shakes. The lipid can be produced from many products, but commercial varieties of lecithin are often produced from soy.
Many think that using lecithin for weight loss is effective because of lecithin’s role in processing fats in the body. Lecithin is a fat emulsifier, which means it keeps fats dissolved in liquid, and because of this it does aid in the body’s processing and movement of fats. Some believe that the fat emulsifying powers of lecithin may even “dissolve” stored fat reserves in the body. Lecithin also aids in the health and performance of the liver, the part of the body that processes fats, and therefore also may affect fat metabolism.
It should be noted that there is very little scientific evidence to back to these claims of the effectiveness for lecithin for weight loss. Although it does act as a fat emulsifier in the body, it has not been connected to weight loss. There is no evidence to date that supports the theory that lecithin breaks down existing fat stores in the body.
Even if using lecithin for weight loss may not be effective, the nutrient has many other positive side effects on the body. Lecithin is thought improve brain function and memory. It also helps to breakdown cholesterol in the blood so it does not clog up veins and arteries. Lecithin is also known for its beneficial effects for overall liver health.
Before adding lecithin to the diet, users should be aware of some possible side effects. Doses under 30 grams per day rarely result in side effects, yet occasionally have been associated with low blood pressure, which has the side effect of confusion, dizziness and fainting. Daily intake of lecithin higher than 30 grams has been associated with gastrointestinal issues such as nausea, diarrhea, or vomiting as well as headaches and rashes. Individuals experiencing these symptoms should stop taking lecithin and speak with their doctors.