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Does liquid lecithin help with psoriasis?

Nutrition

Synopsis

A lot of claims are made as to the benefits of lecithin as a dietary supplement. It has not been shown to help in any way with psoriasis. Some studies suggest that lecithin can be linked with atherosclerosis and to heart disease. Since heart disease is an important comorbidity of psoriasis, it would not be advised for psoriasis patients to add lecithin to their diet.

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Expert Answers

Dr. Ron Vender:

Lecithin is a name that represents fatty substances that come from animals and plants. They are extracted from sources such as soy beans, eggs, milk, cotton seed and sunflower. They are used to prevent sticking like in a nonstick cooking spray. They have many lubrication properties. They’re well tolerated by humans and nontoxic when ingested. Occasionally they are used as a dietary supplement, however it has not been studied in properly randomized clinical trials for psoriasis. Occasionally, when ingested, lecithin can be linked to heart disease by causing hardening of the arteries and heart attacks over time. Although there are anecdotal reports that it may help psoriasis, there is no proof. Some people use it as a moisturizer and it may be its best benefit.

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Carolyn Whiskin:

Lecithin is a fat found in the membranes of all living cells that helps to regulate the movement of nutrients in and out of cells. While lecithin is found in many foods, either naturally or as a food additive, it is also sold as a dietary supplement. Lecithin is found in a variety of foods including egg yolk, soybeans, grains, wheat germ, fish, legumes, yeast and peanuts, as well as liver, cauliflower, grape juice and cabbage. As a dietary supplement, lecithin is available in a variety of forms and strengths, including liquid, capsule and granular. Most often lecithin is sourced from organic soybeans. As a food additive, lecithin can act as an emulsifier, thickener, stabilizer, moisturizer and mild preservative.

Lecithin is taken as a medicine and is also used in the manufacturing of medicines. Some clinical studies have shown benefit in acne, in improving liver function, and in lowering the “bad” cholesterol (LDL) and increasing the good cholesterol (HDL) in the blood of rats. There are some alternative medicine claims that psoriasis results from the faulty utilization of fats resulting in high cholesterol and that lecithin can remedy this. To date there is no scientific evidence to confirm this link or to show that lecithin is beneficial in the treatment of psoriasis.

On a cautionary note, liquid lecithin is not necessarily simply phosphatidylcholine; it is often a mixture of a number of chemical compounds. Although lecithin is likely safe for most people it can cause some side effects including diarrhea, nausea, and abdominal pain. Lecithin would also be problematic for anyone sensitive to soy. A growing body of evidence indicates lecithin can contribute to atherosclerosis (vascular disease) and heart attacks.

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