7

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Lecithin, choline, and dietary fat causing heart disease?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created April 07, 2011 at 10:35 AM

Saw this link, and thought I'd throw it out to the paleohackers out there to comment on or dissect or scoff at. Maybe someone has access to the actual study rather than science "journalism".

Common Dietary Fat and Intestinal Microbes Linked to Heart Disease http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/04/110406131814.htm

I got interested in Paleo (yes, Paleo. I can't get riled up about Paleo 2.0 or whatever you want to call it. I defer to George Carlin in that it's just a word. What matters is context) because of the scientific and logical basis behind the whole thing, but my background is in chemistry and physics. The last class I took on biology was freshman year of high school, so I'm not that versed in the names of enzymes and various parts of biochemistry. I appreciate when these kinds of things are explained or discussed.

Oddly enough, even though I don't know much about it from an education standpoint, my two biggest "extracurricular" scientific interests are evolutionary science and now nutritional science. Maybe it's because I feel like I need to defend them against some. Not many people are getting worked up over the crystal structure of semiconductors or arguing over whether carbon nanotubes exist. But that's another topic for another post.

Anyway, the link is semi-Paleo, in that it encourages strong gut health, but the link to dietary fat seems poorly explained. I await enlightenment.

Bb3d1772b28c02da2426e40dfcb533f5

(5381)

on August 19, 2012
at 02:49 AM

Virtually nobody makes there rda of choline. I was under the impression that choline is used by the liver in the transport and transformation of fats. Conventional thought gives the impression choline is good for heart disease. I guess the real question in this case, is which microbes, and do we as human possess those microbes.

Be1dbd31e4a3fccd4394494aa5db256d

(17969)

on April 07, 2011
at 11:21 PM

Definitely a matter of flora (if applicable to humans). NAFLD and neurodegeneration or CHD! Gee thanks, mother nature! Nah I don't think so.

Af1d286f0fd5c3949f59b4edf4d892f5

(18452)

on April 07, 2011
at 09:38 PM

whatever lecithin would be in egg yolks would have been put there while inside the chicken. i'm not so much concerned about that, but I do wonder if that is a result of the hgih concentration of soy feed that most chickens get, even, unfortunately, organic free roaming chickens. I think probably pastured chickens get much less, but the only place I know of that claims specifically that they NEVER feed their chickens soy is Tropical Traditions. The problem though, is the price to ship out their eggs.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on April 07, 2011
at 07:51 PM

Uhh, there is lecithin in egg yolks and you can even buy lecithin supplements made from eggs.

Ed71ab1c75c6a9bd217a599db0a3e117

(25477)

on April 07, 2011
at 07:15 PM

Agreed.........

Ed71ab1c75c6a9bd217a599db0a3e117

(25477)

on April 07, 2011
at 07:14 PM

The gut microbiota is a real key here.....and that data is needed in humans.

9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad

on April 07, 2011
at 04:29 PM

Unfortunately Chris is quite busy at a conference this weekend, but I will bug him :P

9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad

on April 07, 2011
at 01:31 PM

I asked Chris Masterjohn about it, I will let you know what he says.

A968087cc1dd66d480749c02e4619ef4

(20436)

on April 07, 2011
at 12:38 PM

I like this question - good to always be on our toes!

Ed71ab1c75c6a9bd217a599db0a3e117

(25477)

on April 07, 2011
at 12:15 PM

There is question at the top of the page

C074eec3b3c0325ef3018a128111823a

(1012)

on April 07, 2011
at 11:04 AM

As a tip - Perhaps a more specific question could be asked, as much as there is to comment on, it's hard to really provide an answer.

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7 Answers

3
A968087cc1dd66d480749c02e4619ef4

(20436)

on April 07, 2011
at 12:36 PM

This is a mouse study and they use assumptions based on epidemiology - it tells us next to nothing useful, even if it is interesting. They also used mice that are genetically engineered to develop atherosclerosis. To paraphrase Dr Richard Feinman: "Using saturated fat to cause heart disease in APOe mice, is like like training cats to sleep!"

I saw nothing in that paper that would scare me from eating eggs, beef, liver or even taking choline supplements.

Ed71ab1c75c6a9bd217a599db0a3e117

(25477)

on April 07, 2011
at 07:15 PM

Agreed.........

2
9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad

on April 07, 2011
at 01:37 PM

I asked Chris Masterjohn abt this and I'll let you know what he says, but "When fed to mice, lecithin and choline were converted to a heart disease-forming product by the intestinal microbes, which promoted fatty plaque deposits to form within arteries (atherosclerosis); in humans, higher blood levels of choline and the heart disease forming microorganism products are strongly associated with increased cardiovascular disease risk."

So they found that in genetically engineered mice, when you feed them lecithin and choline, their gut bacteria form a product that causes plaques.

And they found that in humans high blood levels of choline and the gut microorganism in question also are associated with heart disease risk.

But they have failed to connect this in humans with the actual consumption of choline rich foods. If they did a study where they looked at people's consumption of dietary choline and associated it with this risk product, I might be a bit more worried. Perhaps there is something wrong with people who have high blood levels of choline.

Ed71ab1c75c6a9bd217a599db0a3e117

(25477)

on April 07, 2011
at 07:14 PM

The gut microbiota is a real key here.....and that data is needed in humans.

1
2d44351029e3605aa7bbb67339cc4c6f

on August 19, 2012
at 02:03 AM

Many people have been taking granulated lecithin to keep their arteries clean and clear. And to prevent heart disease for many, many years! Go to Amazon.com and search for books on "Lecithin" how is all of these people improved their health and cleaned their arteries, lowered their cholesterol with it and now all of a sudden it's bad for your arteries.

From what I understand being from soy really does not have any negative effect in the case fo lecithin. I do know many people have benefited from lecithin supplements for years on end.

In fact so many so that it would not surprise me that a study like this was put out to deter people from using lecithin after all Heart Disease is a big business and big Pharma does not like competition.

1
810ab7670b29faa0ce8e46d024089e7d

on July 21, 2011
at 10:22 PM

Jack - No, lecithin exists in egg-yolks from free-range chickens. It's a good thing too ... the intrinsic lecithin helps you process the fats and cholesterol.

As for the original question (besides that it's redundant ... ie - PhosphatidylCholine comes from Lecithin) it reminds me of that Sesame Street skit ... "one of these things is not like the other ... one of them does not belong". In the overwhelming preponderance of professionally accepted and dignified literature regarding the relationship between lecithin and heart-disease this conclusion does not belong.

0
Af1d286f0fd5c3949f59b4edf4d892f5

(18452)

on April 07, 2011
at 04:22 PM

It's interesting that they make it seem like choline and lecithin in general is bad and causes heart disease. Personally, I try to steer clear of lecithin, since it's soy, but in such small teensie weensie amounts (like in dark chocolate bars, as discussed in the soy lecithin question on paleohacks http://paleohacks.com/questions/8115/soy-lecithin-in-dark-chocolate#axzz1IqYhn1WC) I can't imagine it having a major effect on gut flora.

I was really digging into that NutraBio whey powder that I put in my recent post on whey protein, and it seems that the one single thing that might deter me from buying their product is that they use soy lecithin to mix it.

But anyway even eggs and liver are rich in choline. I'm looking forwrd to Melissa's follow up from CM. If anyone can hack this, that dude can. (and stephan probably could too).

Af1d286f0fd5c3949f59b4edf4d892f5

(18452)

on April 07, 2011
at 09:38 PM

whatever lecithin would be in egg yolks would have been put there while inside the chicken. i'm not so much concerned about that, but I do wonder if that is a result of the hgih concentration of soy feed that most chickens get, even, unfortunately, organic free roaming chickens. I think probably pastured chickens get much less, but the only place I know of that claims specifically that they NEVER feed their chickens soy is Tropical Traditions. The problem though, is the price to ship out their eggs.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on April 07, 2011
at 07:51 PM

Uhh, there is lecithin in egg yolks and you can even buy lecithin supplements made from eggs.

0
Aa3a90ba6f6a6d488f28cfcdc4e05627

on April 07, 2011
at 03:01 PM

Full text of the paper here (pdf).

-1
425aa4bfb79556ed50ea693c3edd7e13

(609)

on April 07, 2011
at 04:00 PM

This is quite interesting given the recent pro-choline postings by masterjohn.

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