Lecithin is an important component of cell walls and cell membranes, and is made up of choline and inositol. In food, lecithin is found in high quantities in egg yolks, fish and legumes as well as some grains. Marketers of supplement products sell lecithin for a wide variety of purposes and under a wide variety of claims, including weight loss, mental health, heart health and even cancer. Triple lecithin is a product in which the choline content has been increased by a factor of three.
One of the biggest claims of marketers of products like triple lecithin is that it helps the body burn off fat. Choline is actually found primarily in fatty food like eggs, meat and dairy products and so in order for it to help the body lose weight it must have some other important characteristic. In a study published in the Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry in October 2000, researchers found that choline, combined with caffeine and the amino acid carnitine, did in fact cause the bodies of healthy volunteers to burn body fat, a process called ¨fat dumping¨. The researchers theorized that this was due to the caffeine's ability to raise metabolism and the choline's ability to help the body process and get rid of fats.
Many manufacturers of triple lecithin and other similar products claim that the substance helps with mental function and nerve health. These claims are based on the fact that choline is a chemical precursor to the neurotransmitter acetylcholine. Acetylcholine has been shown to be involved in mood, memory and cognition in he human brain. A study published in the Annal of the New York Academy of Science in December of 2006 found that patients with Alzheimer's disease showed a slight improvement in cognitive functioning after supplementation with choline.
Another claim, based on the fact that lecithin is involved in the processing of cholesterol, is that products like triple lecithin may be able to help lower the risk of certain heart conditions. According to Dr. David Williams, an international authority on natural health, lecithin helps regulate the levels of cholesterol in your blood, promoting the ¨good¨ and healthy cholesterol while suppressing the bad. Williams also claims that lecithin helps improve overall circulation.
Choline is an essential part of human breast milk and is necessary in the diets of nursing mothers in high amounts. A study published by the FASEB Journal in June 2008 found that out of 3,000 women studied, the women with the highest choline intake also had the lowest risk of developing breast cancer. The Food and Nutrition Board of the Institute of Medicine also recommends that pregnant women and nursing mothers supplement their diet with choline.