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  Important basics  
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- Other Chemical Elements in Food -

48: LECITHIN

Lecithin belongs 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 Find out more about this term, used to transmit information between some nerve cells, and also between nerve and muscle. Only in one rare disorder of movement,'tardive dyskinesia' Find out more about this term, 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.

LECITHIN INTAKE

The safe and adequate intake of lecithin has not been specified.



FIGURE 63: TYPE OF FATTY ACID IN SOME LECITHIN-CONTAINING FOODS

  FOOD   MAIN TYPE OF FATTY ACIDS PRESENT
Good source:  
Brains
Egg yolks
Kidney
Liver
Meat
Soya beans
Whole grains
Milk

Polyunsaturated
Saturated
Saturated
Saturated
Saturated
Polyunsaturated
Polyunsaturated
Saturated

Poor source:  
Fruits
Vegetables

Various
Various

 

Other Chemical
Elements in
Food
- Other Elements
Lecithin
- Caffine
- Gluten

Also on this page:

-  Lecithin intake
-  Figure 63: Fatty acid
   types in lecitin foods

 

 

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