Bipolar Disorder and Lecithin
For decades, lecithin has been a popular treatment for high cholesterol (although there is surprisingly little evidence that it works). More recently, lecithin has been proposed as a remedy for various psychological and neurological diseases, such as Tourette's syndrome, Alzheimer's disease, and bipolar disorder (also known as manic depression).
Lechithin is most oven manufactured from soy.
Effect of Lecithin on Bipolar Disorder
Lecithin contains a substance called phosphatidylcholine (PC) that is presumed to be responsible for its medicinal effects. Phosphatidylcholine is a major part of the membranes surrounding our cells. However, when you consume this substance it is broken down into the nutrient [choline] rather than being carried directly to cell membranes. Choline acts like folate, TMG (trimethylglycine), and SAMe (S-adenosylmethionine) to promote methylation. (See the article on TMG for further discussion of this subject.) It is also used to make acetylcholine, a nerve chemical essential for proper brain function. Weak evidence suggests that lecithin might be helpful in the treatment of bipolar disorder.7
Side Effects and Warnings
Lecithin is believed to be generally safe. However, some people taking high dosages (several grams daily) experience minor but annoying side effects, such as abdominal discomfort, diarrhea, and nausea. Maximum safe dosages for young children, pregnant or nursing women, or those with severe liver or kidney disease have not been determined.
Also, because lecithin is typically derived from soy, people with soy allergies may want to avoid it.
- Barbenel DM, Yusufi B, O'Shea D, et al. Mania in a patient receiving testosterone replacement postorchidectomy taking St John's Wort and sertraline. J Pscyhopharmacol. 2000;14:84-86.