Soy lecithin, a type of phospholipid, is a by-product of soybean oil. It contains the nutrient choline which ensures proper functioning of brain. To get soy lecithin, soybeans are tempered and stored at a specific temperature, maintaining the moisture, for more than a week. This hydrates them well and helps loosening of the hull. The hull is then removed and the oil is extracted from the beans. Soy lecithin is produced during the procedure of extraction of the oil.

Soy Lecithin Side Effects

Though soy lecithin is used as an additive in everyday foods, it hardly exceeds more than 1 percent of the weight of any food product. When used as a food additive, it does not cause any side effects but when it is used as a dietary supplement, it can seriously affect your health. People who chronically take more than 3.5 grams of choline per day are likely to suffer from some health problems. They may suffer from digestive system problems. Manufacturers of the supplements may not provide information about soy lecithin dangers on the labels or leaflets. Take a look at the list of adverse effects of the supplements:
  • Low blood pressure, marked by fainting or dizziness.
  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea
  • Headache
  • Abdominal pain
  • Bad breath
  • Loss of Appetite
  • Excessive weight gain
  • Fullness of stomach
  • Confusion
  • Blurred vision
  • Coughing, sneezing, runny nose
  • Excessive perspiration
  • Allergic reaction in case you have soy allergy.
  • Anaphylactic shock and in very severe cases, even death
  • Soy lecithin that contains genetically modified soy may affect the function of the pancreas and may lead to serious diseases and disorders.
  • Excessive consumption of the supplements may lead to cerebral abnormalities and poor mental reflexes. It can even affect the physical growth of the person.
  • The element genistein present in soy lecithin can adversely affect the fertility of a man leading to sexual dysfunction and abnormalities in reproductive functions.
  • Studies show that phytoestrogens present in soy promote development of certain types of breast cancer in adult women, by lowering or raising the level of natural estrogen in their bodies.
Researchers say that soy-derived lecithin can lower cholesterol and triglycerides, and it can increase HDL (good cholesterol) levels in the blood. Choline and inositol are the main elements of soy lecithin. Choline is especially considered good for brain development and heart disease prevention. These two components enhance the flow of nutrients in and out of the cells. But you should be aware of soy lecithin dangers, if you are planning to take it over an extended period. Many people take these nutritional supplements regularly; but excessive consumption of soy lecithin can seriously affect your health, especially if you have a weak immune system.

Soy Allergy Symptoms
  • Swelling of the lips, mouth, or throat
  • Swollen throat, facial swelling, difficulty in swallowing
  • Skin rash or hives
  • Wheezing or difficulty in breathing.
  • Itching
Lecithin Facts

Lecithin is naturally present in various foods like liver, cauliflower, milk, legumes, yeast, egg yolk, soybean, wheat germ, peanuts, etc. These are all natural sources of lecithin. Minimum quantity of lecithin is obtained through these foods and hence, you don't have to think about lecithin dangers while consuming these foods. These foods are usually incorporated in a high protein diet.

Lecithin is consumed as a food supplement and is known for its use in protective coverings in pharmaceuticals. Sometimes in cooking, it is used as an emulsifier or lubricant. For instance, lecithin as an emulsifier, prevents separation of cocoa and cocoa butter in a candy bar or lecithin is added to margarine containing high levels of fat, as an 'anti-spattering' agent for shallow frying. It is used in baking to make the dough less sticky and help it rise. It plays a role of wetting agent. It becomes easy to spread the cake-mix into a pan when lecithin is added to the mixture.

People may have to face one or more health problems, if they take soy lecithin supplements in large amounts. It is possible that some people would not notice any adverse effects of the supplements. As there is no way to know in advance whether you will experience side effects of a dietary supplement that you have never tried before, it is always safe to consume it in a moderate quantity only. You should consult your physician before opting for any dietary supplement.

Disclaimer: This Buzzle article is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.