The Broad-Spectrum Wonder Nutrient – Lecithin

may-_2-hh.jpgIf lecithin were a drug instead of a nutrient, it would be prescribed to nearly everyone interested in health and wellness.

For those in middle age and beyond, the leading cause of death is cardiovascular disease. Over twenty-five hundred people die every day in America from heart disease! Lecithin can help maintain good heart health by its ability to prevent the accumulation of fats and cholesterol in your blood vessels.

Best known for helping to reduce cholesterol levels and for aiding fat metabolism, its benefits don’t stop there. Disorders of the brain, nerves, liver, arteries or heart can all benefit from the remarkable properties of lecithin. Aiding the body’s ability to absorb vitamin A and thiamin, improving neurologic communication within the brain, protecting arteries to maintain heart health — lecithin is even able to repair alcoholic damage to the liver. Few other nutrients can do so much to enhance your health in such a variety of ways.

Research studies show that supplementation with lecithin can decrease cholesterol by slowing its absorption from foods while also lowering the production of LDL cholesterol in the liver. As an emulsifying agent lecithin binds cholesterol and other fats to water, so they can’t build up in the liver or clog arteries.

Much of the extensive research on lecithin has been related to its benefits for memory and neurological disorders as much as its help in cardiovascular functions. Lecithin is primarily phosphatidyl-choline — made up of phospho-lipids and choline. The choline is a precursor (chemical compound preceding another in a metabolic pathway) to acetylcholine, a vital neurotransmitter (chemical messenger between nerves). As such, it is indispensable to the brain and is required for maintaining memory.

Lecithin is used to treat dementia caused by a variety of reasons — drugs, stroke, brain trauma, Alzheimer’s — anything which causes cognitive impairment. By increasing levels of acetylcholine, chemical signals in the brain can be restored and alleviate many of the symptoms of dementia.

Alzheimer’s disease is caused by tangled dendrites (the nerve-to-nerve extensions) and low levels of acetylcholine. Supplying lecithin (phosphatidyl-choline) allows the brain to produce more acetylcholine, prompting the neurons to communicate better and regulate the processes responsible for memory. Some people with dementia respond dramatically, some only minimally, but the lecithin is non-toxic and has many anti-aging health benefits regardless.

Since we become less efficient at processing fats as we age, they remain in the blood much longer. High blood fat levels are a risk factor for heart disease and stroke. Taking lecithin before or with any fatty meal helps emulsify fats into smaller particles. Cholesterol and blood-born fats then return to normal levels much quicker and are more easily utilized, thus decreasing this risk factor of high blood fat levels.

Whether taken for the sake of heart health, liver health, brain function or the maintenance of memory, lecithin should be a part of everyone’s dietary supplements.

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