to a class of lipids (fats) known as phospholipids, because they contain
phosphorus. Lecithin also contains choline, which can be used to make
a brain chemical, acetylcholine
used to transmit information between some nerve cells, and also between
nerve and muscle. Only in one rare disorder of movement,'tardive
has dietary choline supplementation been shown to be of value. Lecithin
also contains fatty acids, which may be saturated, monounsaturated or
polyunsaturated. These same fatty acids can be obtained from lipids
other than lecithin.
Lecithin is not
an essential dietary item as the body can produce enough of its own.
It is a component of bile, produced by the liver, which is used to aid
the digestion of fat.
Lecithin is sometimes
used as a food additive. It acts as an emulsifier and helps to disperse
oils in water. It can be found in chocolate, salad dressings, frozen
desserts and baked goods. The lecithin occurring naturally in eggs helps
to perform the same function.
and adequate intake of lecithin has not been specified.
63: TYPE OF FATTY ACID IN SOME LECITHIN-CONTAINING FOODS