NUMBER OF WORDS: 510
KEYWORD: "Effect of Lecithin" = 8
Effect of Lecithin
Since its discovery in 1850 by French scientist Maurice Gobley, the effect of lecithin has wowed millions of people. The compound is a powerful emulsifier used for a variety of purposes in many industries including commercial food processing, textile, paint, and pharmaceuticals. In addition, the effect of lecithin seems to transcend even the commercial side of things to include health as scientists discovered the important role that the compound plays in the cells of every living organism on this planet.
Lecithin was first derived from egg yolk. And for years after that until the 1930s, most commercial lecithin came from egg yolk. Hence, its name 'lecithin' which itself was derived from lekithos, Greek for 'egg yolk.' But then, lecithin was discovered as a by product in the degumming process of soybean oil. And since then, majority of the lecithin we find sold in the market today is soy lecithin.
The effect of lecithin is numerous, including antioxidant, lubricant, anti-dusting agent, mixing and blending agent, and wetting and separating agent. But while all these functional properties make lecithin extremely useful, the main purpose of lecithin is still a great emulsifier. What is more, it is also one of the safest. In 1998, the US Food and Drug Administration named lecithin as one of the few emulsifiers currently available in the market as generally safe for consumption.
For edible applications, the effect of lecithin is astounding. It is normally added to such food products as shortenings, margarines, baked goods, chocolate, confectionery coatings, peanut butter, powder mixes, and dietary food. It emulsifiers products that are high in fats and oils, as well as promotes stabilization, antioxidation, crystallization, and spattering control.
Animals may also benefit from the effect of lecithin. The compound is often added to animal feed, mainly for the same purpose of stabilizing products and providing antioxidant properties.
Lecithin for Health
Lecithin is one of the major components of the cell membrane, that thin semi-permeable layer that envelope the surfaces of cells. It is mainly comprised of phospholipids, among which are phosphatidylcholine (PC), phosphatidylinositol (PI), and phosphatidylethanol (PE). Most biochemists use phosphatidylcholine synonymously with lecithin and consider this component to be most significant, not only because it can be synthesized to form one essential nutrient called choline but also because of the role it plays in stabilizing fat in the bile.
As one of the major precursors of the effect of lecithin, phosphatidylcholine contributes to the structural integrity of the cell membrane as well as its repair. Its function includes: information flow that occurs within cells from DNA to RNA to proteins; the formation of cellular energy and intracellular communication or signal transduction.
Phosphatidyinositol, on the other hand, as studies have shown, may stimulate reverse cholesterol transport by enhancing the flux of cholesterol into HDL and by promoting the transport of HDL-cholesterol to the liver and bile. This is partly the compound responsible for the effect of lecithin in reducing high cholesterol levels in the blood stream as well helping in the normal functioning of the liver.