Benefits of Soy Lecithin
Soy lecithin supplements can supposedly help treat a wide range of conditions. The dietary supplement is often claimed to be beneficial for treating conditions such as anxiety, dementia, and eczema. However, there is little evidence to suggest that soy lecithin really works for most of these uses. There are no known soy lecithin benefits for children, and it is not clear if these supplements are safe for children.
Purported Soy Lecithin Benefits
Soy lecithin is claimed to be beneficial for a variety of different uses. Some of the claimed benefits of soy lecithin include treatment of the following conditions:
- High cholesterol
- Dementia (including Alzheimer's disease)
- Bipolar disorder
- Extrapyramidal symptoms (a group of symptoms, such as uncontrollable body movements, caused by some medications)
- Fatty liver (hepatic steatosis) due to IV feeding
- Gallbladder disease
- Liver disease
- Dry skin (when applied to the skin).
Soy lecithin is sometimes claimed to increase semen production in men and to aid in weight loss. However, there is little evidence to suggest that it really works for most of these uses (see Does Lecithin Work?).
When used as a food or medication additive, soy lecithin typically serves as an emulsifier or a stabilizer. In these situations, soy lecithin is not considered a dietary supplement and is usually used in fairly small amounts (and should not be expected to provide benefits or cause side effects).
How Does Soy Lecithin Work?
Soy lecithin contains a mixture of numerous different compounds, such as:
- Fatty acids
Because soy lecithin is a complex mixture of different compounds, it is not entirely clear how it might work.
Soy lecithin contains choline, a compound that the body can use to make acetylcholine, an important brain chemical that is low in people with Alzheimer's disease. Interestingly, soy lecithin contains more omega-6 fatty acids than omega-3 fatty acids, which could potentially cause negative effects for heart health.