Ask the Pharmacist: 5 people who need more phosphatidylcholine
Fatigue is a challenging issue for people, and it’s hard to test for a root cause beyond standard adrenal and thyroid function tests. Sometimes a third etiology is considered and that would be B-vitamin status. All these issues can lead to or contribute to chronic fatigue. But no one typically checks for choline or phosphatidylcholine levels.
Choline forms phosphatidylcholine (PC). This is a naturally occurring B-vitamin compound that is required to make acetylcholine, your memory neurotransmitter.
Persistent fatigue and brain fog could be due to low levels of PC.
Many plastic surgeons use phosphatidylcholine-based fat dissolvers to get rid of chin fat. By “dissolve fat” I mean it could work a bit like your dish soap does. You know how you put that pan in the sink that has globules of fat from the ground beef you just browned? It’s kind of like that.
The term "phosphatidylcholine" is sometimes confused with "lecithin," but they’re slightly different. Choline is a component of phosphatidylcholine, which is a component of lecithin.
Phosphatidylcholine may reduce triglycerides. I think this type of supplement could be taken along with your statin medication with no foreseeable problems, but of course ask your practitioner what’s right for you.
PC used in the body to create more acetylcholine, which is known as a memory molecule. Low levels of acetylcholine are associated with Alzheimer’s disease. Your brain is made of fat and fatty tissue craves choline-based supplements. You can eat PC if you like egg yolks, soybeans and sunflower seeds.
Anxiety or bipolar
We have limited evidence for PC’s use in tardive dyskinesia and bipolar. More specifically, it could help with mood swings and depressive symptoms. Before attempting self-treatment ask your psychiatrist/practitioner.
There was a randomized, double blind, placebo-controlled study published in the Nutritional Journal. The researchers set out to evaluate where supplements of lecithin would help middle-aged women with their fatigue.
The study included 96 women who ranged in age from 40 to 60 years old, who had complained of fatigue. They should have asked me I would have gladly obliged because I’ve been tired for like 25 years now, lol! The results were really no surprise. Both groups receiving the lecithin did better after supplement treatment than at the onset of the study. The group receiving the high dose (1200mg/day) faired out best.
If you’re pregnant, or want to become pregnant soon, your diet should be very rich in choline because it is critical for your developing baby. The risk for neural tube defects (usually associated with low folate but maybe that’s old news) is shockingly four times higher if you’re choline deficient during pregnancy!
Supplements like this are available at health food stores nationwide, and online.
Suzy Cohen is a registered pharmacist. The information presented here is not intended to treat, cure or diagnose any condition. Visit SuzyCohen.com.