Sunflower Lecithin has started popping up a lot on different mediums. Many people have heard of it, and some have even started taking it in supplement form for its many health benefits.
While soy lecithin is the more common form of lecithin, sunflower lecithin is becoming popular for the benefit of things such as its likelihood to be organic, certified non-gmo, and as an alternative for people with soy allergies. However, many people still have no clue what it is, and the many amazing benefits of sunflower lecithin.
Table of Contents
- What is Lecithin?
- How Good is Lecithin for you?
- What are the Benefits of Lecithin?
- What are the Differences Between Sunflower Lecithin and Soy Lecithin?
- Sunflower Lecithin Benefits
- What Does Lecithin Do For Breastfeeding?
- Is Sunflower Lecithin a Fat?
- Is Sunflower Lecithin a Protein?
- Can you be Allergic to Sunflower Lecithin?
- The Takeaway
What is Lecithin?
Here’s what you probably didn’t know…Back in 1845 French Pharmacist and Chemist Theodore Gobley first isolated Lecithin from egg yolks. Lecithin is the term that identifies any yellow-brownish fatty substances occurring in animal and plant tissues. These yellow-brownish tissues are termed as amphiphilic as they both attract water and fatty substances that are used for repelling viscous materials. Lecithin in most cases is extracted from a variety of different sources such as eggs, milk, rapeseed and more popularly soybeans and sunflowers.(1)
How Good is Lecithin for you?
We’re sure you’ve seen all the craze about lecithin and wondered why so many people are advocating the use of the supplements. Well, here’s why it’s useful to you: Lecithin, in whatever form you wish to take it, is an excellent source of choline. This vitamin-like nutrient is essential to the human body and is found in many plants and animals. Many researchers consider lecithin a superfood since it is used is by every cell in your body, and is vital for proper brain function. The liver, heart, and kidneys automatically produce the vital nutrient choline; however, just like most vitamins and nutrients, people have deficiencies and supplementing can often times help solve it.
What are the Benefits of Lecithin?
Lecithin has been shown through studies to improve acne conditions, enhance impaired liver function and lower high cholesterol. Women have also been supplementing with lecithin as it is beneficial in combatting plugged ducts. Many mothers have argued that, for this purpose, there is possibly no better natural remedy to get rid of plugged ducts.
What are the Differences Between Sunflower Lecithin and Soy Lecithin?
As lecithin is such a beneficial supplement, many people have become interested in using it to solve whatever condition they may have. Two of the most popular lecithin supplements today are Soy and Sunflower lecithin. There isn’t really a difference in the health benefit, but unlike sunflower lecithin, soy lecithin can potentially be more harmful to you because of the way the lecithin is extracted. The main differences between Soy Lecithin and Sunflower Lecithin are:
- The extraction process of sunflower lecithin and soy lecithin differs in that: lecithin from sunflowers are extracted similarly to olive oil by the use of a cold press.
- Soy lecithin is derived using harsh chemical solutions such as hexane or acetone which can cause damaging side effects.
- Sunflower lecithin has more essential nutrients such as choline and fatty acids than soy lecithin.
- Some people are allergic to Soy and are advised to stay away from soy products while Sunflower does not commonly cause allergic reactions.
- It is difficult to know whether the soy used to extract lecithin is genetically modified.
- Consuming too much soy can lead to elevated levels of estrogen.
- Soy lecithin comes with side effects such as bloating, diarrhea, nausea, and stomach pain. Even though it is deemed safe, there is still a chance for these side effects.
Sunflower Lecithin Benefits
As discussed earlier, lecithin, in general, is an essential nutrient that supports nearly every cell in your body. It is rich in phospholipid and is a potent antioxidant that helps to reduce oxidative stress in your cells. Sunflower is an all natural source of lecithin that has many health benefits which we will be discussing. It is in many food products such as bread, crackers, and even your favorite chocolate. Lecithin itself can be found in many food sources, but typically not in an amount to provide the benefits it does as a supplement. Sunflower lecithin’s extraction process mostly follows an entirely natural process. The sunflower seeds are put out to dry for a few days, after which it is separated using cold presses to garner oil, solids, and gum. This process does not require the use of any chemical solvents. The lack of chemical solvents is what makes sunflower lecithin such an excellent choice for supplements and baked goods.
1. Great for A Healthy Heart
Coronary Heart Disease is one of the worlds top killers. Many doctors and medical professionals have concluded that excess fat is one of the leading causes of this disease. Lecithin’s ability to emulsify fat is a great way to help break down the excess fats in the bloodstream. By reducing the excess fat from your bloodstream, you will, in turn, be lowering your cholesterol and triglyceride levels. Sunflower lecithin, like Olive oil, has a high concentration of linoleic acid which is beneficial in improving overall heart health. Soy which has minimal linoleic acid and is less favorable for improving your heart health. Therefore, it is more beneficial to use sunflower lecithin than soy lecithin for a healthy heart.
2. Exceptional Antioxidant Ability
It is also an excellent antioxidant because of a crucial substance called Phosphatidylcholines. This substance is essential to the human body and is in every cell. Because of the Phosphatidylcholines found in sunflower lecithin which is a plant-based source of lecithin; it is very good at reducing oxidative stress in the body. Oxidation and inflammation of our cells cause most diseases. By supplementing with it, we can efficiently get more antioxidants in our diets thus reducing the oxidative stress of our cells.
3. Good For The Liver
Your Heart is not the only organ in your body that is susceptible to diseases caused by excess fat. The liver is one of the several critical organs in your body. Its primary function is to act as a filter to remove waste from your bloodstream.(2) And if your liver is unable to remove fat, you end up with a condition known as Nonalcoholic Fatty Liver Disease. This situation happens as a result of having too much fat stored in the liver. Since lecithin contains unusual phospholipids, it can help the liver by removing some of the excess fat thus preventing Nonalcoholic Fatty Liver Disease. It is also able to help your body to maintain the right blood glucose levels.
4. Improves Brain Health
Recent studies have concluded that essential fatty acids necessary for excellent brain health and function. Sunflower lecithin phospholipids are a great help in repairing nerves and strengthening brain cells. Most people lack essential fatty acids and supplementing with them is a great way to ensure that you have optimal health.(3) Therefore, ensuring that you take in adequate amounts of omega 3s and sunflower lecithin for its phospholipids is very helpful in preventing degenerative brain diseases.
5. Regulates Blood Pressure
Your blood pressure is also a vital part of your bodies overall health. And having optimal blood pressures below 120/80 is essential for everyone. The linoleic acid found in sunflower lecithin is a potent natural remedy for lowering blood cholesterol and triglycerides. Most heart diseases start from the blood. The elevated levels of cholesterol and triglycerides have a direct connection with your blood pressure. And lowering them will help you to reduce your blood pressure.
6. Nervous System
Maintaining a healthy nervous system is very important for your bodily functions. And sunflower lecithin is capable of helping to support optimal function in your nerves because of its abundance of essential fatty acids. Each nerve fiber is made up of protective myelin sheaths which allow for the transfer of nerve impulses. And if they are disrupted or damaged your nervous system will not function as it should. Supplementing daily with sunflower lecithin helps in the repair and upkeep of your nerves.
7. Aids In Healing Wounds
Lecithin can also be applied directly to wounds to speed up healing. It does this by speeding up the release of cytokines which improves the communication between cells. This will help to reduce the inflammatory aspect of a wound, thus speeding up your healing.(4)
8. Promotes Healthier Joints
Sunflower lecithin also helps to reduce joint pain similarly to the way it helps with strengthening and healing your nerves. Choline, a primary component of lecithin is very helpful in supporting joint movement. Being deficient in this substance could be the cause of most person arthritis and can be improved by daily supplementation of sunflower lecithin.
What Does Lecithin Do For Breastfeeding?
One of the most known benefits of lecithin is its ability to emulsify fat. Sunflower lecithin has become one of the most popular and highly recommended supplements for breastfeeding mothers to combat recurrent plugged ducts. The exact reason lecithin can help in unclogging plugged ducts has not been proven. However, it is theorized to do so by lowering the viscosity of the milk by increasing the polyunsaturated fatty acids found in breast milk.(5)There have been a lot of mothers who have gained relief from their plugged ducts by supplementing with sunflower lecithin.
Is Sunflower Lecithin a Fat?
Lecithin is a fat emulsifier that is naturally produced by different organs in the body. One of its primary purposes is removing the excess fats from the bloodstream.
Is Sunflower Lecithin a Protein?
No, lecithin is not a protein. However, there are related protein functions that can be impacted by it.
The reason many people ask if lecithin is a protein is because soy lecithin is often found in protein powder. It is not necessarily there for its nutrition aspects, but rather as a preservative and to improve the way the protein powder can be blended with other sweeteners.
Can you be Allergic to Sunflower Lecithin?
Even though the supplement has been approved and deemed safe and hypoallergenic; there are still people that might be allergic to it.
If you have ever had an allergic reaction to sunflower products, then you should probably not use a sunflower lecithin supplement.
If you think you are reacting to the supplement, please seek immediate medical assistance.
Symptoms of a Reaction Include:
- Itchy Patches
- Difficulty Breathing
- Swelling of the tongue, lips or face
- Upset stomach
Lecithin is a crucial component of every cell in our bodies. Without it, our organs would not be functioning optimally. Supplementing with sunflower lecithin is just one way to get the right nutrients needed for healthy cells. Eating properly, getting adequate exercise, drinking water and getting proper rest all play crucial roles in our well being. However, since most of us fail to do these things regularly, our cells will not have all the essential substances needed to function correctly. That is where supplementing plays its part. Sunflower lecithin, in particular, is a great supplement that helps eliminate many of the illnesses that plague our modern society. From stabilizing blood pressure, lowering high cholesterol, reducing arthritis pain, healing wounds and even providing relief from plugged ducts. It is indeed a well-rounded essential supplement. And it is one of our favorite natural supplements that we can recommend adding to your daily supplement arsenal.