7 Phosphatidylcholine Benefits That Can Improve Your Long-term Health
Before pinpointing how phosphatidylcholine benefits your long-term health, I want to express the importance of finding solutions to health care issues that go to the root of any particular problem. One of the greatest frustrations we experience from our healthcare system is the focus on treating symptoms instead of causes.
If you're diagnosed you with high blood sugar, instead of working with you to reduce body weight and eat fewer processed carbs, your doctor prescribes a drug that forces your liver to release less sugar into your blood and make your body respond better to insulin. Whatever caused the high blood sugar is not addressed.
If you're diagnosed with high LDL cholesterol, instead of working with you to eat less saturated fat and dietary cholesterol, your doctor prescribes a drug that forces the liver to reduce its production of cholesterol. Whatever caused the high LDL is not addressed.
I'm not really blaming doctors. They don't get paid to take the time to try to help patients reinvent their lifestyles. Typically, they get paid to diagnose and prescribe drugs to suppress the symptoms that without regard to whatever created them in the first place.
Where all this is leading it to the proposition that you're a lot better off if you can find interventions that focus on the root causes that produced the unwanted symptoms. This applies to your nutritional supplements; namely, Phosphatidylcholine.
There are at least seven reasons that phosphatidylcholine is worth learning about and adding to your anti-aging supplement arsenal. As you continue reading, it will soon become apparent that phosphatidylcholine benefits you in various ways because it addresses a contributing cause of many chronic illnesses and ailments. It may help with memory and learning, reduce inflammation, reduce LDL cholesterol and triglycerides, reduce fat deposits, alleviate PMS and painful menses, reduce the side-effects of some medicines and improve exercise performance.
The reason phosphatidylcholine may potentially improve many health issues is because it improves a common causative factor behind them - the integrity and health of your cell membranes. The phosphatidylcholine level in your body is an important factor essential to maintaining, or improving, the robustness of your cell membranes. Cell membrane integrity is essential for health.
It's Thin, But Your Cell Membrane Is Essential
I first heard about phosphatidylcholine in 2010 when reading Ray Kuzweil's and Terry Grossman's book, Transcend, Nine Steps To Living Well Forever. I knew that the health of the mitochondria - the so-called cellular power plants that produce our energy - was extremely important to maintaining vitality as we age, but what was surprising was the important multifaceted role of the amazingly thin cell membrane.
Only five nanometers thick (about the length of 100 atoms placed side by side), the cell membrane is made of four phospholipids that link together to form it. Stack 10,000 membranes one upon the other and they would be as thick as a sheet of paper. And yet, thin as they are, the health of your cell membrane is essential to overall health.
Cell membranes protect cells from their surroundings by being selectively permeable to specific substances, such as ions and organic molecules, so they can move in and out of the cell. Phosphatidylcholine acts as a surfactant, which means that it's responsible for maintaining the surface tension of cell membranes and controls what enters and leaves the cell through the membranes.
Cell membranes are also responsible for the propagation of neuronal messages, both sending and receiving, managing the production of energy in the mitochondria and managing our senses, particularly sight.
Why Are Phosphatidylcholine Benefits So Important?
Let's begin with what it is. Phosphatidylcholine is a major component of lecithin, a compound that naturally occurs in all cell membranes and essential for biological functions. Lecithin is found in eggs and plants such as mustard, soy, and sunflower.
Egg lecithin contains about 69% of phosphatidylcholine, but most of it is extracted from plant lecithins, containing about 24% phosphatidylcholine, as they're considered safer than animal sources.
In the body, phosphatidylcholine is the major supplier of choline, which is a precursor to the neurotransmitter acetylcholine. Acetylcholine is necessary for optimal brain and nerve function. As a result, researchers are interested in using phosphatidylcholine for improving memory and treating neurological conditions such as multiple sclerosis and Alzheimer's disease.
Unfortunately, the older you get, the less phosphatidylcholine is produced by your body; that's the bad news.
A 2012 study investigating the stability of membrane lipids showed them to have low turnover rates as we age. "Low turnover" refers to those cells that reproduce less often than most others. Such cells are ideal for examining how their membranes change over time. The amount of phosphatidylcholine present in individual human lens nuclei declines dramatically as we age, resulting in diminished eyesight. A similar effect also happens for all low reproductive cells, like the cells of the eye lens, neurons and muscle.
Even though phosphatidylcholine declines as we age and may lead to many ills, there is some good news. The good news is that by taking supplemental phosphatidylcholine, you may experience a slowing down in the age-related decline of phosphatidylcholine in your cell membranes, keeping it closer to youthful levels.
Seven Health Benefits of Phosphatidylcholine
Remember what I wrote in the beginning of this piece about seeking treatments or interventions that are directed to the root cause of an issue rather than the symptoms? Well, as mentioned, and as you're about to see in some detail, phosphatidylcholine benefits so much of your physiology because it's an important structural component of cell membranes, and thereby supports many facets of your health.
1. Improves memory performance and learning during aging
A 2015 study showed that lower phosphatidylcholine concentrations are associated with lower memory and cognitive performance in non-demented older individuals, and that Alzheimer's patients have less phosphatidylcholine relative to healthy people. A 2017 study has found that levels of phosphatidylcholine are directly related to Alzheimer's disease. Together, these two studies suggest that maintaining youthful levels of phosphatidylcholine is important for learning and cognitive performance.
2. Reduces inflammation in stress conditions
Choline derived from phosphatidylcholine exhibits anti-inflammatory properties in stress conditions. Systemic or chronic inflammation is a precursor for many chronic disease conditions associated with aging, so it's very important that it's kept in check. An animal study conducted in 2009 indicated dietary phosphatidylcholine supplementation in conjunction with two other lipids decreased inflammation in mice with pleurisy, an inflammation of the membrane surrounding the lungs. In a 2005 human study of patients with chronic active ulcerative colitis, phosphatidylcholine was shown to alleviate inflammation.
3. Reduces cholesterol and triglyceride levels
Dialysis patients have a high incidence of cardiovascular complications; therefore, hyperlipidemia is of particular concern. Phosphatidylcholine makes cholesterol more soluble and less able to cause hardening of the arteries. In a 1989 study, dialysis patients with cholesterol greater than 260 mg/dl, LDL cholesterol greater than 180 mg/dl and triglycerides greater than 200 mg/dl were given a placebo or phosphatidylcholine. The phosphatidylcholine group showed a decrease in total cholesterol levels and triglyceride levels indicating phosphatidylcholine supplementation is effective for hyperlipidemia.
Two weeks after phosphatidylcholine application, a decrease in LDL-cholesterol had occurred as compared to stable placebo values, and triglycerides decreased within four to six weeks after initiation of treatment, as compared to the placebo group.
4. Reduces fat deposits
Phosphatidylcholine injections have been used in Europe since 2002 for to cause lipolysis, the breakdown of fat in fat cells. In a 2005 study, patients with lower eyelid fat pads were given phosphatidylcholine injections that were cosmetically beneficial, and still observable after nine months.
According to a 2014 study, injecting phosphatidylcholine into a lipoma can kill its fat cells and reduce its size, but further study is needed to determine the long-term safety of this treatment.
5. Alleviates PMS and painful menses
Studies have shown that omega-3 phospholipids from the tiny Antarctic shrimp known as Krill, which contains mostly phosphatidylcholine in conjunction with other phospholipids outperformed conventional fish oil in the treatment of symptoms of PMS and dysmenorrhea.
6. Reduces medication side effects
Some medications, such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), can cause severe gastrointestinal side effects with extended use. This includes stomach pain, gastric bleeding, and intestinal perforation.
According to a 2012 studyTrusted Source, long-term NSAID use may disrupt a phospholipid layer of the gastrointestinal tract. This may cause gastrointestinal injury. Research has shown that phosphatidylcholine may help prevent NSAID-related gastrointestinal damage.
7. Improves exercise performance
Studies indicate oral phosphatidylcholine supplementation improves performance in various sports activities where exercise has depleted choline concentrations. It was shown to improve perceived well-being, and reduce perceived muscle soreness after exercise.
Now that you have an appreciation of how phosphatidylcholine is beneficial to your health is so many ways, let's take a look at how you should use it and the various supplements that provide synergistic effects when used with phosphatidylcholine.
Use Liposomal Phosphatidylcholine
ProHealth offers several phosphatidylcholine products that are combined with other synergistic compounds, as well as one product that consists mainly of phosphatidylcholine called LipoSorb™. All of the supplements we offer that have phosphatidylcholine are designed to be highly bioavailable through a liposomal process.
Liposomal supplements contain a nutritional delivery system with rapid uptake and effective delivery into the cells. Liposomes are highly efficient in terms of facilitating antioxidant delivery, and because they are prepared from natural phospholipids, they are biocompatible and nontoxic. Liposomal delivery systems are becoming increasingly popular for nutraceuticals because they protect these therapeutic molecules from breakdown in the digestive system. In cell culture studies liposomes were found to increase intracellular delivery 100-fold over non-liposomal delivery.
You can consume 5 ml (approx 1 teaspoon) of LipoSorb™ one to two times daily, or as directed by your health care practitioner. It may be taken directly by mouth or mixed into water or juice.
Use Phosphatidylcholine with Glutathione
Glutathione is one of the body's most powerful detoxifiers. It can support healthy immune function and neutralize a broad spectrum of free radicals. And it's made better when combined with phosphatidylcholine.
Phosphatidylcholine liposomes optimize the absorption and bioavailability of many other compounds it's combined with, like glutathione. Quicksilver's Etheric Delivery™ Phospholipid Encapsulation System improves upon liposomal technology with smaller, more stable, single layer nanospheres that can cross the blood-brain barrier, deposit their cargo intracellularly and enter lymphatic circulation. Additionally, the phospholipids that compose the liposome shell feed the cell membranes. This ensures the proper function for the absorption of nutrients and the excretion of cellular waste products and toxins.
Use Phosphatidylcholine with Milk Thistle
Those of you who use milk thistle for liver health and/or detoxification will be interested to know that combining it with phosphatidylcholine will improve it's absorption ten-fold. A milk thistle/phosphatidylcholine combination makes them both more bioavailable, as it's believed that phosphatidylcholine molecularly bonds to the silybin molecule in milk thistle and wraps around it, ushering it through the membranes of cells in the intestinal tract.
Milk thistle has been utilized worldwide for over 2,000 years for its remarkable ability to protect and support the liver and can aid healthy digestive function. Quicksilver Scientific made this natural affinity between the two supplements even better with its Nanoemulsified Milk Thistle.
Use Phosphatidylcholine with Phosphatidylserine
Yes, they sound the same, and phosphatidylcholine and Phosphatidylserine are similar in that they're both phospholipids that our body needs to function.
Phosphatidylserine is a building block compound which is necessary for the formation of healthy cell membranes, particularly those of the brain and peripheral nervous system, and thereby functions better than phosphatidylcholine in supporting brain health.
In contrast, although phosphatidylcholine is also critical for the brain, it also supports cell membrane integrity for live function and is an important part of the bile complex that emulsifies fats to facilitate absorption during digestion.
ProHealth Longevity has a Phosphatidylserine product simply called Phosphatidyl Serine that you may take once to three times daily with food and with your favorite phosphatidylcholine supplement, such as LipoSorb™.
Use Phosphatidylcholine with Vitamin D and CoQ10
When asked what are the three most important supplements you can take, anti-aging expert and futurist Ray Kurzweil replied: phosphatidylcholine, vitamin D and CoQ10.
By now, you know why he put phosphatidylcholine in the mix, but there are some pretty good reasons why he includes Vitamin D and CoQ10. He chose these three from the more than 150 he consumes every day, so that's a ringing endorsement, I'd say.
Quicksilver Scientific has a product called Nanoemulsified CoQ10 that combines CoQ10 and phospholipids, and Nanoemulsified D3K2, offering a combination of vitamin D3, vitamin K2 and phosphatidylcholine.
Why Phosphatidylcholine is Essential
Simply put, phosphatidylcholine is essential for cell membrane health and all that it influences. Keep in mind that it may decline with age but that you can increase phosphatidylcholine levels by supplementing with phosphatidylcholine nutraceuticals. In addition to boosting your brain power, these nutraceuticals can potentially reduce inflammation and cholesterol levels, and improve liver function, among other health benefits. Phosphatidylcholine supplementation may also improve memory and learning, skin elasticity, healthy liver function, and remove cholesterol from arterial plaque. Lastly, a liposomal delivery system makes all compounds in supplements more absorbable.