Side Effects of Lecithin


Lecithin is a chemical substance found in all cellular organisms. It is a major ingredient of the covering of the brain neurons (cells that transmit information) and of our nerves, called the myelin sheath. Lecithin is commercially produced mainly from soybeans and is lauded for its nutritional and health benefits such as the ability to reduce cholesterol levels in the blood. It is best to know the function and side effects of lecithin before taking it.


According to, lecithin has been known for improving brain function and memory, while keeping the liver healthy and promoting weight loss. In addition lecithin is lauded for other health benefits (which have not been scientifically proven) such as promoting healthy skin and hair and treating gallstones. Lecithin can be obtained naturally from egg yolk, wheat, peanuts, yeast legumes and soybeans. It is available in powder, capsule and granular form.

Side Effects

When lecithin is taken in doses that are higher than 10 to 30 grams of soy lecithin, there have been reports of the following side effects: nausea, vomiting and loss of appetite, along with diarrhea and weight gain. Other side effects include rashes, headache and dizziness, bad breath and unpleasant body odor.

Other Side Effects

According to, regular doses of choline (an ingredient in lecithin) over 3.5 grams daily caused occurrences of low blood pressure in a few people. The symptoms included dizziness and blurred vision, along with confusion and the possibility of fainting.

Allergic Reaction

With the rise in popularity of lecithin and the use of the soy commercial product some people with a sensitive immune system may develop an allergic reaction to lecithin. An allergic reaction can be a serious medical emergency. Seek immediate medical advice for any of the following symptoms: swelling of the face, mouth, tongue and throat or shortness of breath or difficult breathing. Warning signs also include excessive perspiration, sneezing and runny nose.


According to, there may be a delayed reaction to soy lecithin allergens. This is a more common allergic reaction but less dramatic, wherein the immune system produces immunoglobulins A, G or M instead of the antibody immunoglobulin E. This causes a reaction to occur anywhere from two hours to several days after being exposed to soy lecithin allergens.


Anaphylactic shock could occur, which is a very serious allergic reaction that requires immediate emergency treatment. The symptoms include dizziness, labored breathing and swelling of the face along with swelling of the tongue, throat and breathing tubes and cyanosis, which is blue discoloration of the skin. Hypotension (low blood pressure) may occur leading to heart failure and possibly to death.

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