Lecithins are a group of naturally occurring fatty substances sharing similar chemical composition. They can be derived from plant and animal sources. It is used primarily as an emulsifier or lubricant. It can help extend shelf life and improve product quality. Lecithin is used throughout the food manufacturing system, including confections, condiments, and bakery products.

Health considerations

Lecithins contain phosphatidylcholine, these provide choline, which is essential to human health. Lecithin is non-toxic and metabolized completely. Lecithin supplementation has been associated with reduction in serum cholesterol and triglyceride levels. It has been used as a therapeutic treatment in ulcerative colitis and neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer’s and dementia. However, studies have not conclusively found benefit to lecithin in these disorders.

Keep in mind

Soy lecithin is likely to be sourced from GMO soy unless otherwise declared. Lecithin may be animal derived so, unless otherwise specified, clarification is required before assuming suitability to a vegetarian or other specialty diet.

May be found in

Chocolate, dairy products, baked goods, bread, margarine, salad dressing, tofu, soybeans, eggs, peanuts, meat, oranges, cauliflower


Digestive Diseases (Basel, Switzerland)
Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery, and Psychiatry
Annals of Neurology
Nutrition and Metabolism

Alternative Spellings and Names


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