The benefits of sunflower lecithin for fatty liver prevention and treatment are among my most favorable uses. Although sunflower lecithin is also a popular supplement for the following:
- Improving digestion
- Reducing cholesterol levels
- Boosting brain function and memory
- Preventing fatty liver
- Promoting weight loss
- Supporting phase 3 liver detoxification and thus liver detox
- supporting a sluggish gallbladder
Sunflower lecithin for fatty liver
A surprising benefit of sunflower lecithin is it helps improve liver health by preventing the accumulation of fats in the liver. A primary mechanism in which sunflower lecithin is beneficial for fatty liver is due to the phosphatidylcholine in lecithin that helps transport fats out of the liver. When fats build up in the liver, insulin resistance develops, which is associated with prediabetes and weight gain.
Choline is a nutrient required to make the choline-containing phospholipid: phosphatidylcholine. When there is a choline deficiency, fats cannot effectively be removed from liver cells as phosphatidylcholine is essential for the excretion of fats out of the liver.
Phosphatidylcholine is the dominant essential phospholipid derived from soybeans and sunflowers; thus, sunflower lecithin is an abundant source of phosphatidylcholine.
Non-alcoholic fatty liver is a leading cause of chronic liver disease, and the prevalence is increasing in the population. Fatty liver can be caused by several mechanisms and is characterized by at least 5 % or more of liver cells containing fat droplets observed by microscopy, biopsy, or fatty infiltration revealed by imaging tests.
Causes of fatty liver include:
- Insulin resistance of peripheral tissues leads to high blood sugar and, thus, glucose uptake by the liver and the formation of new fats. The formation of new fats leads to the accumulation of fats in the liver.
- Overload of calories leads to fat accumulation in the liver and, thus, insulin resistance of liver cells.
- Impairment in fatty acids and triglyceride secretion and evacuation from the liver can lead to fat accumulation in the liver.
Frequently fatty liver, insulin resistance, and prediabetes co-occur.
A study on rats fed a basic diet with fats and fats with phosphatidylcholine for ten days revealed that the group of rats that took phosphatidylcholine along with the basic fat diet did not have an increase in liver fat. The rats fed only the basic fat diet had increased liver fat accumulation.
In the group of rats given phosphatidylcholine, there was a decreased expression in enzymes involved in new fatty acid synthesis, while enzymes involved in the breakdown of fats were increased.
Phosphatidylcholine can prevent fatty liver by several mechanisms, including:
- the breakdown of fatty acids in liver cells
- the inhibition of new fat formation in liver cells
- fatty acid evacuation out of the liver followed by the uptake and utilization in muscles
- SNP’s in the PEMT gene can inhibit the body’s production of phosphatidylcholine
Dietary supplements such as sunflower lecithin are one of the best sources of non-soy phosphatidylcholine for fatty liver.
Sunflower lecithin and eggs for weight loss
A fatty liver and insulin resistance can lead to weight gain. Using lecithin helps promote weight loss by transporting fats out of the liver.
When the liver is healthy and free of fat build-up, there is ample storage available in the liver for incoming food to be stored. When storage is available in the liver, the body doesn’t need to store incoming calories in fat cells. Fat storage in adipose tissue leads to weight gain.
Reversing fatty liver is essential for weight loss, and sunflower lecithin helps prevent excess fats from building up in the liver. Here is a delicious green smoothie recipe for weight loss with sunflower lecithin powder.
Eggs are one of the richest sources of choline, and this study reveals that the intake of 2 eggs for breakfast a day for five days out of the week or more for eight weeks helped obese people on a low-fat, calorie-restricted diet to lose weight.
More specifically, those who ate eggs for breakfast lost 65 % more weight, and 83 percent had more significant waist circumference reductions than those who ate a bagel for breakfast. Both the bagel and eggs in this study contained the same amount of calories, yet those who ate eggs had better satiety.
Researchers have found choline intake in parts of the US population to be below adequate recommended levels, with only ten percent of people in one study obtaining recommended choline levels through diet.
The benefits of lecithin for liver detox
Sunflower lecithin is a critical nutrient for liver detox as it promotes bile flow from the gallbladder. The liver detoxifies through a three-step process known as phase 1, phase 2, and phase 3 liver detox.
The liver dumps conjugated and bound toxins from phase 1 and 2 liver detoxification pathways into the bile.
The elimination of toxins out of the liver via the bile is known as phase 3 liver detoxification. The phase 3 liver detox pathway needs to be wide open with healthy bile that flows well so that toxins can get out of the liver.
The phosphatidylcholine in sunflower lecithin is crucial for liver detox by keeping bile flowing smoothly out of the gallbladder. Using lecithin for liver detox is vital for phase 3 liver detoxification and removing toxins from the liver.
Sunflower lecithin for improving gallbladder function and digestion
Phosphatidylcholine is a critical nutrient in sunflower lecithin, essential for optimal gallbladder function. Choline-enriched diets and lecithin-enriched diets have been shown to increase the bile flow rate. A lecithin-enriched diet also enhances bile secretion and prevents bile acid-induced cholestasis.
Cholestasis due to impaired bile flow leads to the accumulation of bile acid in the liver causing liver cell injury and inflammation. Not to mention cholestasis is associated with fibrosis, cirrhosis, and eventually liver failure! As you can see, phosphatidylcholine from sunflower lecithin is a critical nutrient for optimal liver health.
The liver and gallbladder are primary organs involved in digestion, as the gallbladder is responsible for storing and releasing bile to emulsify fats. The liver is involved in the production of bile acids.
When there is a phosphatidylcholine deficiency, the bile becomes thick and sludgy. Vicious thick bile can result in fat malabsorption and trouble digesting fats.
Bile is also antimicrobial and essential for preventing small intestinal bacterial overgrowth. When bile is too thick and not flowing from the gallbladder due to a phosphatidylcholine deficiency, bacteria can overgrow in the small intestine.
Sunflower lecithin contains phosphatidylcholine, essential for optimal fat digestion and preventing SIBO.
Fat malabsorption and SIBO are common digestive problems that can be improved by supplementing with sunflower lecithin.
Sunflower lecithin and ox bile were the two primary supplements I used to beat my SIBO symptoms.
Phosphatidylcholine is needed to make up every cell membrane in the body. The intestinal lining is replaced every few days and requires an ample supply of phosphatidylcholine to make healthy cells that line the GI tract.
Sunflower lecithin for cholesterol
The liver produces bile to remove and excrete cholesterol, and if your liver is not functioning correctly, it cannot manage this effectively, leading to high cholesterol. In turn, high blood cholesterol increases your likelihood of developing a fatty liver and if left untreated can lead to liver damage.
One of sunflower lecithin’s most well-known health benefits is its ability to reduce cholesterol levels by increasing biliary secretion. Sunflower lecithin which is derived from sunflower seeds reduces excess LDL cholesterol (known as the bad cholesterol) and promotes the synthesis of HDL cholesterol (known as the good cholesterol).
In one study, 500 mg of soy lecithin (an alternate form of lecithin) was administered for two months. After two months, the results showed a reduction in total cholesterol by 42% and a decrease in LDL cholesterol by 56%. The most significant reduction in cholesterol levels was observed after one month of taking 500 mg of soy lecithin.
This study suggests that taking a soy lecithin supplement daily can be used to reduce cholesterol levels. The soybean lecithin capsules contained 22% phospholipids, 10% triacylglycerol, and 68% phosphatidylcholine.
Optimal PC by Seeking Health contains 800 mg of phospholipids derived from sunflower lecithin, including phosphatidylcholine.
The sunflower lecithin in Optimal PC is not genetically modified and is an alternative if you are looking to avoid soy sources of lecithin. Many soy lecithin products are genetically modified, so read any soy or sunflower lecithin supplement labels. High-quality soy or sunflower lecithin supplements will not be genetically modified.
Brain function and memory
Sunflower lecithin is rich in choline, which speeds up the creation and release of acetylcholine in the brain. Acetylcholine is a critical neurotransmitter involved in learning and memory.
The neurotransmitter acetylcholine carries signals across brain cells, which is necessary for optimal brain function. High choline consumption has been associated with healthier brain tissue.
People with choline-rich diets were likelier to do well on memory and cognitive tests. Individuals with cognitive decline have been shown to have lower levels of acetylcholine.
Eating choline-rich foods such as egg yolks and eggs is a fantastic way to boost brain function and memory through diet.
Some of the primary health benefits of sunflower lecithin are improving gallbladder function and gut health, lowering cholesterol, preventing fatty liver, promoting weight loss, supporting optimal liver function, and boosting brain health.
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