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Lecithin

Everything you need to know about an amazing substance

Lecithin – a true all-rounder

Lecithin

Lecithin is a chemical compound composed mainly of fatty acids, glycerol, phosphoric acid and choline and is one of the phospho-lipids. It is purely a natural product, which is found in abundance in egg yolks, soya beans, sunflower seeds and in the cells of plant seeds. Soya and sunflower lecithin contain significantly more essential fatty acids than rapeseed lecithin and are, therefore, nutritionally more valuable.

The main function of lecithin is to stabilise cell membranes, stimulate a variety of metabolic processes, support liver cell regeneration and many more. Synthetic substitutes, which even come close to doing the same, have not yet been found.

Lecithin is an ideal emulsifier, because it combines with fats and oils just as well as with water. Immiscible substances, such as oil and water, become stable emulsions, thanks to lecithin. This property is used, for instance, in the production of chocolate and cocoa powder, spreadable margarine and non-squirting fats as well as crispy pasta.

Even stimulating aromas last much longer with the addition of lecithin. This is because lecithin manages to enclose its active ingredients in oil droplets. Aromas can thus be “encapsulated” and transported. This benefits low-fat foods that can be given an intense taste. The anti-oxidant properties of lecithin also extend the shelf life of foods.

However, the multi-functional emulsifying and dispersing agent lecithin is used not only in the food industry, but also in the production of cosmetic and pharmaceutical products as well as in animal feed production and technology.

How lecithin is produced

Lecithin manufacture

Soya beans, rapeseed and sunflower seeds are the main starting products for obtaining lecithin. They are cleaned, dried and extracted. This produces a vegetable crude oil with a lecithin content of up to 2.5%. The crude oil is heated to a good 90 °C with a small addition of water. Special separators separate the lecithin from crude oil. The wet lecithin gums are dried and cooled to below 50 °C to avoid darkening. The end result is liquid, native lecithin.

The oil portion is removed from the liquid lecithin to get powder or granules. This concentration increases the functional part in lecithin, the so-called acetone-insoluble part.

More than lecithin: Phosphatidylserine (PS)

Phosphatydilserine

Phosphatidylserine (PS) is a natural phospho-lipid that occurs throughout our body, but in more quantities in the brain and nervous system. It is a vital nutrient for the brain cells, where it plays a fundamental role in signal transmission.

Phosphatidylserine (PS) is synthesised in our body and is also taken in with nutrition. A deficiency leads to concentration disorders and possibly also to reduced memory capacity. Various studies have found that older people produce too little phosphatidylserine (PS), which is a key factor in the loss of mental performance in old age. Stress reactions can also be caused by an under-supply of phosphatidylserine (PS) in the brain. Concentration disorders, attention deficits and forgetfulness are frequent consequences, which have an unfavourable effect, particularly at work and at school. Mental stress occurs and the enormous flood of information in our modern working world can no longer be properly managed. A daily supply of 100 to 300 mg phosphatidylserine (PS) increases the ability to concentrate, remember and learn. The brain works more flexibly, with more concentration and more effectively.

Younger people also frequently experience bottlenecks in the body's own production of phosphatidylserine (PS). A too low content has a negative effect on the signal transmission of the brain cells. In schools, about 3 to 5% of children suffer from attention deficits and hyperactivity. In addition, there are learning and adaptation problems. An adequate supply of phosphatidylserine (PS) again leads to normal signal transmission in the brain. Various studies have shown that in children with ADS, the addition of phosphatidylserine (PS) resulted in an improvement in 92% of cases.

When the taking of phosphatidylserine (PS) is started, the recommended dosage is 300 mg, which is reduced to around 100 mg daily after about one month.