Lecithin: The Emulsifier
An emulsifier basically breaks down fat (or lumpy food) particles so they can be combined with the water and blood in your body. That helps to make sure they don’t “stick” to the arterial walls and other tube-like “pipes” in the body.
Confectionery manufacturers use lecithin to make chocolate. The reason is that chocolate consists of lumpy pieces. Customers will only pay top dollar for chocolate if it’s not lumpy and its smooth to the taste. That’s why they use lecithin to emulsify (dissolve) the pieces. That means we can get delicious smooth chocolate or ice cream and other yummy stuff. The smoother it is, the more customers will pay for it.
History of the Word
The word Lecithin basically comes from the Greek word “lekithos”. It means “yolk” because it was first isolated from the egg yolk.
(lecithin. fatty substance found in the yolks of eggs (among other places), 1861, from French lécithine (coined 1850 by N.T. Gobley), from Greek lekithos “egg yolk.”)
Paint manufacturers also use lecithin to make paint because it’s such a good emulsifier. That’s because paint has lots of lumpy bits in it. If you painted that on your walls, it would not look cool unless you wanted that kind of texture. Lecithin “breaks” down those lumps and combines them with the liquid part to make a texture that looks good on your walls.
“The lecithin in vegetable oil destined to be used for paints is removed because it makes paint smear; hence it is available in a mild flavored, granular form which can be added to foods. This lecithin is used commercially as an emulsifying agent in the candy and baking industries and in heavy industries where oil must be broken into minute particles.” Adelle Davis, Let’s Get Well in the chapter Those Cholesterol Problems.
(NOTE: I don’t recommend soy lecithin due to it’s dubious track record. I do recommend sunflower or egg lecithin though.)
On the right is a demonstration we did. What you see in both glasses is the same amount of water and oil. The glass on the right also has lecithin which demonstrates how it works in the body. As you can see, it breaks down the fat particles and combines them with the blood and other body liquids. In this way they can’t “stick” to the tubes (liver, arteries, etc). Lecithin, therefore, helps to “unplug” the liver and all the other tubes in the body.
If you have fats and other lumpy bits of food particles floating around they start attaching to body parts.
Behind your eyes (glaucoma)
Blocking the tubes in the liver (what is often called high cholesterol)
There are different names for this condition and it depends on the location of the deposits (such as atherosclerosis, etc).
Lecithin emulsifies (dissolves) these particles so they can freely flow through your arteries or other tubular body parts like a smoothly-flowing river.
Good Food Sources
- Egg yolks (one of the best sources and yet this is the one food that people are advised to cut out of their diets if they have high cholesterol)
- Sunflower seeds
- Brazil nuts and other nuts such as peanuts
- Sesame seeds
- Black lentils
- Whole grains – wheat germ
What to Buy
The best sources of lecithin are egg or sunflower lecithin.
Phosphorus and Calcium
Because of the high phosphorus content of lecithin (a vital nutrient for the body too), it is important to make sure you have calcium to keep these two minerals in balance. Instant CalMag-C contains the correct balance of calcium gluconate and magnesium carbonate (2:1 ratio) that will help balance the phosphorus. Order here.
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DISCLAIMER: Nothing in this article or e-mail is meant to treat, diagnose, prevent or cure any medical condition. This information is not a substitution for medical care provided by a licensed medical doctor.