What are the Side Effects of Lecithin ?

You might have heard about the use of lecithin as a nutritional supplement. But, do you have any idea about lecithin side effects? If no, go through this page for some information about such side effects.

egg yolks, soy bean, and brain : 3 delicious source for dietary supplement


Lecithin is getting increasingly popular as a dietary supplement. In fact, it is a fatty substance found in both animal and plant tissues. It is mainly found in the cell membranes and even the myelin sheaths (membranous covering of neurons) have this lipid material. It is also found in soybeans, egg yolks, wheat germ, legumes, yeast, peanuts, etc. Studies show that lecithin plays an important role in the entry and exit of nutrients in cells, in cell communication, brain functioning, etc. As it is claimed to be beneficial for various bodily functions, lecithin is now widely used as a dietary supplement. However, there are some possible lecithin side effects too.

It has been observed that lecithin is free of side effects in most of the users. But, you cannot completely rule out the possibility of lecithin side effects that are mostly seen in case of over dosage of the supplement. Studies show that people, who use less than 30 grams of lecithin per day, as found to experience no side effects. But, intake consumption of large amounts of lecithin supplements are sometimes associated with problems. The following are some of the possible lecithin side effects :

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Abdominal pain
  • Bloating
  • Bad breath
  • Fishy body odor
  • Sudden weight gain/weight loss
  • Low blood pressure
  • Dizziness and fainting
  • Allergic reactions
  • Increased salivation

Even lecithin injections may cause side effects, like, swelling and redness of the site, burning sensation, etc. While, some of these side effects are mild, severe allergic reactions need immediate medical attention. As lecithin in supplements is mainly derived from soy and egg, people, who are allergic to soy products and egg, may develop allergic reactions, as they use lecithin supplements. So, allergic reactions are among the possible soy lecithin side effects. So, use of nutritional supplements with medicinal effects (as in case of lecithin) has to be under the supervision of a health expert. Apart from that, stick to the dosage, as prescribed by your health expert. Even though, there is no standard dosage for lecithin, high doses must be avoided, due to the possible lecithin side effects.

Lecithin appears to be generally safe for most people, and side effects are unusual in people consuming less than about 30 g per day. At higher levels, lecithin side effects have been reported, most commonly nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea. These higher levels are usually from supplementing with lecithin and would be almost impossible to reach when consuming a normal diet or from using food products that have been treated with lecithin.

Lecithin is believed to be generally safe. However, some people taking high dosages (several grams daily) experience minor but annoying side effects, such as abdominal discomfort, diarrhea, and nausea. Maximum safe dosages for young children, pregnant or nursing women, or those with severe liver or kidney disease have not been determined

Therapeutic Dosages

Ordinary lecithin contains about 10% to 20% phosphatidylcholine. However, European research has tended to use products concentrated to contain 90% phosphatidylcholine in lecithin, and the following dosages are based on that type of product. For psychological and neurological conditions, doses as high as 5 to 10
g taken three times daily have been used in studies. For liver disease, a typical dose is 350 to 500 mg taken three times daily; for high cholesterol, 500 to 900 mg taken three times daily has been tried.

lecithin granule can be eaten like juice


Therapeutic Uses

For a while, lecithin/phosphatidylcholine was one of the most commonly recommended natural treatments for high cholesterol.

However, this idea appears to rest entirely on studies of unacceptably low quality. The best designed studies have failed to find any evidence of benefit. In Europe, phosphatidylcholine is also used to treat liver diseases, such as alcoholic fatty liver, alcoholic hepatitis, liver cirrhosis, and viral hepatitis. However, research into these potential uses remains preliminary and has yielded contradictory results.
Researchers have recently become interested in the use of phosphadylcholine as a supportive treatment in severe ulcerative colitis. There may be an insufficient quantity of phosphatidylcholine in the mucus lining the colon in patients with ulcerative colitis. Taking phosphatidylcholine may correct this deficiency. A small double-blind, placebo controlled study of 60 patients whose ulcerative colitis was poorly responsive to corticosteroids were randomized to receive either phosphadylcholine (2 g per day) or placebo for 12 weeks. Half of the participants taking phosphadylcholine showed a significant improvement in symptoms versus only 10% taking placebo. Moreover, 80% taking phosphadylcholine were able to completely discontinue their corticosteroids without disease flare-up compared to 10% taking placebo.
Some evidence hints that phosphatidylcholine may reduce homocysteine levels, which in turn was for a time thought likely to reduce heart disease risk
Because phosphatidylcholine plays a role in nerve function, it has also been suggested as a treatment for various psychological and neurological disorders, such as Alzheimer's disease, bipolar disorder, Parkinson's disease, Tourette's syndrome, and tardive dyskinesia (a late-developing side effect of drugs used for psychosis). However, the evidence that it works is limited to small studies with conflicting results.


The Effect of Lecithin for Health

Lecithin can be found in anywhere. Not only as a food additive, we can use lecithin as pharmaceutical, and cosmetic (eg, creams, lipsticks, conditioners) industries. although problems are unlikely to occur with soy lecithin, side effects may occur with the supplementation form, as there are higher amounts of soy lecithin in these supplements.

There are many types of
lecithin supplementation. Lecithin is available in the following forms:
  • Capsules - lecithin powder is added to capsules
  • Tablet - lecithin is compressed and f ormed into tablets
  • Powder - extracted from soybeans and crushed into a powder
  • Granules - soybeans that have been granularised
  • Soft gel Capsules - filled with soybean lecithin liquid
  • Liquid - soy lecithin is extracted into a liquid oil


People who wish to take a lecithin supplement should talk to a medical professional BEFORE taking it. Since different lecithin supplements may contain different amounts of the active components, it is reasonable to follow the dosing instructions provided on the label of your particular product.
Since soy lecithin, when used as a food additive (usually in tiny amounts), is unlikely to cause side effects. However, the use of soy lecithin as a dietary supplement (usually in higher amounts) may cause side effects. People often assume that dietary supplements are always free of side effects. However, this is simply not the case. It is reasonable to assume that any supplement potent enough to have medicinal properties may also have side effects. Most of the reported soy lecithin side effects are problems with the digestive system.
In clinical studies, reported soy lecithin side effects included:
  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea
  • Abdominal (stomach) pain or fullness.

Soy lecithin is derived from soy. Therefore, people with soy allergies may develop allergic reactions to soy lecithin, although this is not always the case, depending on the exact type of soy allergy. Seek immediate medical attention if you develop signs of an allergic reaction, such as:
  • Swelling of the lips, mouth, or throat
  • A rash or hives
  • Itching
  • Wheezing or difficulty breathing.

Lecithin granules are an herbal medication used in the treatment and prevention of high cholesterol, neurological disorders and liver disease. This herbal combination is made up of nutrients found in eggs, beef liver, steak, cauliflower and oranges. As with most herbal medications, a number of side effects are associated with using this drug. This medication has not been evaluated by the FDA for safety, effectiveness or contents, and should be taken with extreme caution. Before beginning use with this medication, consult with your doctor if you have any existing medical conditions, allergies or illnesses. If you are breast feeding or are about to have a baby, do not take this medication without first talking to your doctor.

Always use this medication exactly as prescribed to you by your doctor and never in doses larger than recommended on the label. This medication is administered as a granule and should be taken with a large glass of water. Lecithin can be taken with or without food and should be stored as directed on the label away from sources of moisture and at room temperature.

If you experience any of the aforementioned side effects, contact your local doctor immediately. If an overdose of Lecithin is suspected, contact your local poison control center and head directly to the nearest emergency room. Lecithin granules are meant to treat the above ailments only and should never be used recreationally or without the guidance of a doctor. It is difficult to recommend a safe and effective dosage for lecithin. The best doses for lecithin have not been scientifically established yet, as is common with dietary supplements. Because dietary supplements do not need to be approved by the FDA, studies to find the safest and most effective dosages for dietary supplements are rarely performed. Without such studies, typically, only vague "trial and error" information is available. Even if good dosing information were available, there may be significant variability of the content, purity, and strength between different brands of the same dietary supplement, making consistently safe and effective dosing difficult. With lecithin, the source (egg or soy) can significantly affect the composition of the supplement, leading to further problems recommending a lecithin dosage. Dosage of lecithin depends on the condition that is being treated. A medical doctor and/or alternative health care provider can advise on individual cases - this information is provided as a guide only:

AMOUNT (per day)
Not recommended
Seek medical advice before taking it
Seek medical advice before taking it
1 Tbsp granules or 1 capsule per day
1 Tbsp granules or 1 capsule per day

Not recommended

Not recommended
One study of lecithin to enhance athletic performance used a dose of 3.6 grams of lecithin twice daily. To treat tardive dyskinesia (a movement disorder caused by certain medications), a dose of 20 to 50 grams a day has been used in studies. To treat bipolar mania, one study used 10 mg of lecithin three times daily.