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  Lecithin / Choline / GPC  
 
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When medical researchers use the term “lecithin”, they are referring to a purified substance called phosphatidylcholine (PC). Supplements labeled as “lecithin” usually contain 10–20% PC. Relatively pure PC supplements are generally labeled as “phosphatidylcholine”. PC best duplicates supplements used in medical research. Choline by itself (without the “phosphatidyl” group) is also available in foods and supplements. In high amounts, however, pure choline can make people smell like fish, so it’s rarely used, except in the small amounts found in multivitamin supplements.

PC acts as a supplier of choline. Choline is now considered an essential nutrient, needed for cell membrane integrity and to facilitate the movement of fats in and out of cells. It is also a component of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine and is needed for normal brain functioning, particularly in infants. For this reason, PC has been used in a number of preliminary studies for a wide variety of neurological and psychiatric disorders [Am J Psychiatry 1995;152: pp.1084–6] , though not every study suggests that supplemental choline is capable of reaching the brain.[Biol Psychiatry 1999;46: pp.406–11] Choline participates in many functions involving cellular components called phospholipids.

Choline, the major constituent of PC, is found in soybeans, liver, oatmeal, cabbage, and cauliflower. Egg yolks, meat, and some vegetables contain PC. Lecithin (containing 10–20% PC) is added to many processed foods in small amounts, for the purpose of maintaining texture consistency.


While scientists have investigated the potential therapeutic benefits of natural acetylcholine precursor compounds such as lecithin and choline, the results have been disappointing. After it became clear that choline and lecithin were not significantly reversing cognitive decline, researchers began looking at a newer compound derived from PC called L-alpha glycerylphosphorylcholine (GPC). Results were dramatically different. The brain converts GPC into acetylcholine, an essential neurotransmitter whose decline is centrally implicated in brain aging and neurodegeneration. GPC is currently available in the US as an OTC supplement.

GPC has been directly compared to some popular, brain-enhancing substances like oxiracetam and acetyl-L-carnitine. Cognitive improvement scores among GPC patients were similar to those seen in patients taking oxiracetam. Tests comparing the efficacy of GPC versus acetyl-L-carnitine demonstrated that GPC delivers superior cognitive benefits.

GPC therapy has already been proven beneficial in humans and is available for about 1/3 the cost of some popular prescription drugs used for the treatment of Alzheimer's symptoms like the acetylcholinesterase inhibitors Aricept (donepezil HCl) and Exelon (rivastigmine tartrate).

The minimum suggested dose for healthy people is 600mg a day. For those desiring reversal of cognitive decline the suggested dose is 600mg BID (1200mg per day). Less than 10% of patients experienced any side effects, the most common being constipation and nervousness.

Do not use this product if you are pregnant or breastfeeding. Consult your health care professional before using this product if you are currently taking acetylcholinesterase inhibitors such as rivastigmine (Exelon) or Donepezil (Aricept) or if you experience side effects such as heartburn, nausea, insomnia or headache.

 

 
 

Lecithin / Choline / GPC can help with the following:
 
 
Aging  Alzheimer's Disease
 Study participants received 1200mg GPC daily for six months. On a variety of assessment scales for Alzheimer's disease (AD), GPC patients scored more favorably than patients from the control group, all of whom received placebo. The mental status of patients on GPC therapy improved, while those receiving the placebo worsened. These findings are comparable to the results obtained with the use of the prescription drugs Aricept (donepezil HCl) Exelon (rivastigmine tartrate) and Reminyl (galantamine hydrochloride) in the treatment of AD patients, and with fewer side effects. [Mech Ageing Dev 2001 Nov: 122(16): pp.2041-2055]

In another study, Richard Wurtman, from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT; Massdachusetts, USA), and colleagues have formulated a mixture of three naturally occurring dietary compounds: choline, uridine and docohexaenoic acid (DHA).

Choline can be found in meats, nuts and eggs, and omega-3 fatty acids are found in a variety of sources, including fish, eggs, flaxseed and meat from grass-fed animals. Uridine is produced by the liver and kidney, and is present in some foods as a component of RNA. Docohexaenoic acid (DHA) is an omega-3 fatty acid, best known for its role in promoting cardiovascular health. Collectively, these three nutrients are precursors to the lipid molecules that, along with specific proteins, make up brain-cell membranes, which form synapses. To be effective, all three precursors must be administered together.

The researchers followed 259 patients for six months. Patients, whether taking the nutrient blend or a placebo, improved their verbal-memory performance for the first three months, but the placebo patients deteriorated during the following three months, whereas the nutrient blend patients continued to improve. Further, electroencephalography (EEG) studies revealed changes in brain-activity patterns throughout the study: as the trial went on, the brains of patients receiving the nutrient blend started to shift from patterns typical of dementia to more normal patterns. Because EEG patterns reflect synaptic activity, the researchers submit that synaptic function increased following treatment with the nutrient blend. [“Nutrient Cocktail” Improves Alzheimer-Related Memory Decline. Posted on Aug. 3, 2012, 6 a.m. in Alzheimer's Disease Dietary Supplementation Fatty Acids, Lipids & Oils]

  Senile Dementia
 With respect to the older population, in a comprehensive meta-analysis of GPC's benefits published in 2001, veteran Italian researcher Dr. Lucilla Parnetti concluded, "The extent of improvement of cognitive functions observed was generally high." From an earlier double blind trial that she coordinated, Parnetti concluded, "GPC induces global functional improvement, to a degree which may improve the patients' quality of life." [Mech Ageing Dev 122(16):2063-9, 2001, Drugs Aging 3(2): pp.159-64, 1993]

GPC is also unique for its capacity to improve cognition in brain trauma patients. One large study on stroke recovery involved 176 hospital centers within Italy and more than 2,000 seriously ill patients. After six months, investigators judged GPC had significantly helped more than 95% of the patients. They noted that GPC was excellently tolerated by this fragile patient population.

Autoimmune

  Multiple Sclerosis / Risk
 Please also see the article about the approach that Fred Klenner, MD used with MS.

Circulation

  Increased Risk of Stroke
 Research on GPC's therapeutic effect in cases of vascular dementia caused by stroke suggests that GPC may promote functional recovery. These studies were uncontrolled so additional research will be necessary to confirm this benefit.

  Varicose Veins

Digestion

  Heartburn / GERD
 The use of phosphatidylcholine (PC) has provided relief to some patients as the signal to close the lower esophageal sphincter is controlled by acetylcholine. Suggested dose is 400mg PC BID. This could come from approximately 2 to 4gm of lecithin BID. One teaspoon of lecithin granules is about 2 grams.

If the use of PC is helpful, further improvement may be seen with the addition of Huperzine (extract of Chinese club moss) 50mcg BID. Huperzine inhibits the breakdown of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine.

Hormones

Not recommended for:
  Histadelia (Histamine High)
 Choline is anti-dopaminergic and often makes undermethylated patients worse. [Principles of orthomolecularism, R.A.S. Hemat, MB;BCh, FRCSI, Dip. Urol.]

Mental

  Bipolar Disorder, Manic-Depressive
 A number of studies suggest that lecithin has significant effects on the manic-depressive, with some claiming that it stabilizes moods or serves as a mood depressant. Although lecithin may be useful in helping to stabilize moods, it should be used cautiously since there may be a predominantly depressing action in certain individuals.

  Poor Memory

Metabolic

  Methylation, Excess
  Insomnia
 Besides playing a critical role in memory, attention and general cognition, acetylcholine is vital to the maintenance of normal sleep. Often, those who were once sound sleepers find themselves transformed into light sleepers as they age. The inability to screen out extraneous stimuli is a direct result of acetylcholine depletion. Acetylcholine drives the 'stimulus barrier', a faculty of the brain that allows us to screen out distractions while concentrating on a task or problem, and to ignore intrusive sounds when sleeping. The use of GPC, an acetylcholine precursor, may raise this stimulus barrier.

  Blood Type B

Not recommended for:
  Metabolic Diet Type

Organ Health

  Hepatitis
 Taking 3gm per day of phosphatidylcholine (found in lecithin) was found to be beneficial in one investigation of people with chronic hepatitis B. Signs of liver damage on biopsy were significantly reduced in this study. [Jenkins PJ, Portmann BP, Eddleston AL, Williams R. Use of polyunsaturated phosphatidylcholine in HBsAg negative chronic active hepatitis: Results of prospective double-blind controlled trial. Liver 1982;2: pp.77–81]

  Fatty Liver
 Lecithin protects the cells of the liver and acts as a fat mobilizer, thus helping to prevent a fatty liver.

Risks

  Increased Risk of Alzheimer's / Dementia
 Study participants received 1200mg GPC daily for six months. On a variety of assessment scales for Alzheimer's disease (AD), GPC patients scored more favorably than patients from the control group, all of whom received placebo. The mental status of patients on GPC therapy improved, while those receiving the placebo worsened. These findings are comparable to the results obtained with the use of the prescription drugs Aricept (donepezil HCl) Exelon (rivastigmine tartrate) and Reminyl (galantamine hydrochloride) in the treatment of AD patients, and with fewer side effects. [Mech Ageing Dev 2001 Nov: 122(16): pp.2041-2055]

In another study, Richard Wurtman, from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT; Massdachusetts, USA), and colleagues have formulated a mixture of three naturally occurring dietary compounds: choline, uridine and docohexaenoic acid (DHA).

Choline can be found in meats, nuts and eggs, and omega-3 fatty acids are found in a variety of sources, including fish, eggs, flaxseed and meat from grass-fed animals. Uridine is produced by the liver and kidney, and is present in some foods as a component of RNA. Docohexaenoic acid (DHA) is an omega-3 fatty acid, best known for its role in promoting cardiovascular health. Collectively, these three nutrients are precursors to the lipid molecules that, along with specific proteins, make up brain-cell membranes, which form synapses. To be effective, all three precursors must be administered together.

The researchers followed 259 patients for six months. Patients, whether taking the nutrient blend or a placebo, improved their verbal-memory performance for the first three months, but the placebo patients deteriorated during the following three months, whereas the nutrient blend patients continued to improve. Further, electroencephalography (EEG) studies revealed changes in brain-activity patterns throughout the study: as the trial went on, the brains of patients receiving the nutrient blend started to shift from patterns typical of dementia to more normal patterns. Because EEG patterns reflect synaptic activity, the researchers submit that synaptic function increased following treatment with the nutrient blend. [“Nutrient Cocktail” Improves Alzheimer-Related Memory Decline. Posted on Aug. 3, 2012, 6 a.m. in Alzheimer's Disease Dietary Supplementation Fatty Acids, Lipids & Oils]

Uro-Genital

  Motherhood Issues
 According to a study, the important nutrient choline “super-charged the brain activity of animals in utero, which resulted in the creation of larger cells that were quicker at firing electrical “signals” that release memory-forming chemicals.

These significant changes in the brain could be used to explain how choline improved learning and memory in animals in earlier behavioral studies. Researchers said this data could mean boosting cognitive function, diminishing age-related memory decline and decreasing the brain’s vulnerability to toxic insults in children. This research has led to the decision to raise choline to the status of an essential nutrient, particularly for pregnant and nursing women.

Choline can be found as a naturally occurring nutrient in egg yolks, milk, nuts, fish, liver and human breast milk. [Journal of Neurophysiology April 2004;91(4): pp.1545-55]

  Possible Pregnancy-Related Issues
 According to a study, the important nutrient choline “super-charged the brain activity of animals in utero, which resulted in the creation of larger cells that were quicker at firing electrical “signals” that release memory-forming chemicals.

These significant changes in the brain could be used to explain how choline improved learning and memory in animals in earlier behavioral studies. Researchers said this data could mean boosting cognitive function, diminishing age-related memory decline and decreasing the brain’s vulnerability to toxic insults in children. This research has led to the decision to raise choline to the status of an essential nutrient, particularly for pregnant and nursing women.

Choline can be found as a naturally occurring nutrient in egg yolks, milk, nuts, fish, liver and human breast milk. [Journal of Neurophysiology April 2004;91(4): pp.1545-55]
 
 


KEY
May do some good
Likely to help
Highly recommended
May have adverse consequences
Reasonably likely to cause problems







GLOSSARY

Acetylcholine:  A neurotransmitter widely distributed in body tissues with a primary function of mediating synaptic activity of the nervous system and skeletal muscles.

Acetylcholinesterase:  Neurotransmitter enzyme that hydrolyzes acetylcholine, affecting functioning of the parasympathetic nervous system.

Alzheimer's Disease:  A progressive disease of the middle-aged and elderly, characterized by loss of function and death of nerve cells in several areas of the brain, leading to loss of mental functions such as memory and learning. Alzheimer's disease is the most common cause of dementia.

BID:  Twice per day.

Choline:  A lipotropic substance sometimes included in the vitamin B complex as essential for the metabolism of fats in the body. Precursor to acetylcholine, a major neurotransmitter in the brain. Choline prevents the deposition of fats in the liver and facilitates the movement of fats into the cells. Deficiency leads to cirrhosis of the liver.

Constipation:  Difficult, incomplete, or infrequent evacuation of dry, hardened feces from the bowels.

Hydrochloric Acid:  (HCl): An inorganic acidic compound, excreted by the stomach, that aids in digestion.

Lecithin:  A mixture of phospholipids that is composed of fatty acids, glycerol, phosphorus, and choline or inositol. Lecithin can be manufactured in the body. All living cell membranes are largely composed of lecithin.

Milligram:  (mg): 1/1,000 of a gram by weight.

Nausea:  Symptoms resulting from an inclination to vomit.

Neurotransmitters:  Chemicals in the brain that aid in the transmission of nerve impulses. Various Neurotransmitters are responsible for different functions including controlling mood and muscle movement and inhibiting or causing the sensation of pain.

Over-The-Counter:  A drug or medication that can legally be bought without a doctor's prescription being required.