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Lecithin

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About Lecithin Edit

Wikipedia Article About Lecithin on Wikipedia

Lecithin is regarded as a well tolerated and non-toxic surfactant. It is approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration for human consumption with the status "Generally Recognised As Safe". Lecithin is an integral part of cell membranes, and can be totally metabolized, so it is virtually non-toxic to humans. Other emulsifiers can only be excreted via the kidneys.

Lecithin is used commercially for anything requiring a natural emulsifier and/or lubricant, from pharmaceuticals to protective coverings. For example, lecithin is the emulsifier that keeps chocolate and cocoa butter in a candy bar from separating.

Various studies (Brook et al. 1986, Spilburg et al. 2003) indicate that soy-derived lecithin may positively affect cholesterol and triglyceride levels in the blood.

Commercial lecithin, as used by food manufacturers, is a mixture of phospholipids in oil. The lecithin is obtained by degumming crude oil. The lecithin is a mixture of various phospholipids, and the compositions depends on the origin of the lecithin. A major source of lecithin is soybean oil. Due to the EU-requirement to declare the addition of allergens in foods a gradual shift to other sources of lecithin, e.g., sunflower oil, is taking place.

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