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Lecithin is sold to lower cholesterol, but it doesn't. Lecithin is an emulsifier that is added to mayonnaise, chocolate and salad dressings to keep the oily layer from settling out from the watery one.

When you shake a mixture of oil and water, the oily layer breaks down into countless little drops of oil dispersed in the water. Then, the oily droplets slowly come together until there is a solid layer of oil sitting on top of the water. Emulsifiers coat each oil droplet, giving it the same electrical charge, rather than different charges to cause fatty droplets to repel each other so they can't come together to form an oily layer.

Fat in your bloodstream is carried in a ball covered by a protein layer. Lecithin has no effect whatever on cholesterol because your blood is different from mayonnaise. When you eat lecithin, it does not even get into your bloodstream; like all other foods, it is broken down into its building blocks (glycerol, choline and fatty acids) in your intestines.

Checked 8/31/05

May 21st, 2013
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About the Author: Gabe Mirkin, MD

Sports medicine doctor, fitness guru and long-time radio host Gabe Mirkin, M.D., brings you news and tips for your healthful lifestyle. A practicing physician for more than 50 years and a radio talk show host for 25 years, Dr. Mirkin is a graduate of Harvard University and Baylor University College of Medicine. He is board-certified in four specialties: Sports Medicine, Allergy and Immunology, Pediatrics and Pediatric Immunology. The Dr. Mirkin Show, his call-in show on fitness and health, was syndicated in more than 120 cities. Read More
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