What is it?
Phosphatidylcholine (PC) is a phospholipid that enhances the free passage of nutrients into the cell while allowing waste and detritus out. By doing so, it works to enhance metabolism (energy production) within a cell.* When it comes to your cellular health, the structure and function of the cell membrane, brain, liver, gut health and more, there’s a lot to say about one little molecule: phosphatidylcholine, also known as PC.
Phosphatidylcholine (PC) is a phospholipid attached to a choline particle. Phospholipids contain fatty acids, glycerol, and phosphorous. The phosphorous part of the phospholipid substance — the lecithin — is made up of PC. For this reason, the terms phosphatidylcholine and lecithin are often used interchangeably, although they’re different. Although PC is traditionally used to support brain health, it can also support liver function and keep cholesterol levels in check. Read on to learn what the research says about the benefits of this nutritional supplement.
Phosphatidylcholine and Your Liver
Phosphatidylcholine accounts for more than 50% of the cell membrane. Every cell in your body has a membrane, and these membranes are responsible for letting in nutrients and oxygen, receiving signals from the rest of the body via receptors, and purging metabolic waste products.
But your cell membranes are made from whatever fats are available for your body to use. If you’re consuming trans fats, that leads to unhealthy cell membranes. Some fat-soluble toxins can insert into membranes too; but if you consume phosphatidylcholine, it can displace these “bad” fats and toxins, and help the cell membrane to heal.
In addition to the cell membrane, phosphatidylcholine is also a major component of the surfactant in the lungs and the mucus in our guts. (Note that these are two of the body’s primary “emunctories,” or routes of toxin elimination: bowels, breath, sweat, and urine.)
Also, many persistent toxins in our bodies are fat-soluble; even if they aren’t directly inserted into cell membranes, they are stored in the body’s adipose tissue. In addition to the benefit of weight loss, phosphatidylcholine’s fat-burning capabilities allow the body to release these toxins, so that the liver can remove them… and then phosphatidylcholine helps the liver to do its job better by protecting against fatty liver and promoting liver regeneration.
Phosphatidylcholine and Your Brain
Studies have found that Phosphatidylcholine may help with mild memory loss associated with aging and support healthy brain function.* The brain itself is 60% lipids and maintaining the right balance of phospholipids in neuronal cellular membranes is critical for brain functioning.
An animal study published in The Journal of Nutrition showed that phosphatidylcholine “improved memory and generally increased brain choline and acetylcholine concentrations to or above the levels of the control normal mice.”*
It seems that both PC itself and PC as a source of choline to produce acetylcholine, one of the most abundant neurotransmitters in the brain, contribute to maintaining brain health, including learning and memory support.* We eagerly await further study in this exciting field!
Phosphatidylcholine Mitochondrial benefits
Just like the cell membrane, PC is also the most abundant phospholipid in the mitochondrial membrane. You might remember from another high school biology flashback that the mitochondria is the powerhouse of the cell –– this is where your energy comes from! So when you support your mitochondria by increasing PC levels in your body, your mitochondria are able to more easily produce energy for your cells, translating to more energy for you to accomplish challenging work tasks, wrangle kids, or get in that strength training session. Good mitochondrial function is also essential to protect the body against cardiovascular disease, metabolic dysfunction, diabetes, and neurodegenerative disease.
Benefits of Phosphatidylcholine
- Phospholipid-bound choline to support cellular function, cognitive function and liver health‡
- Acts as a precursor for phospholipids and acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter involved in attention, memory and neuromuscular function‡
- Supports fat metabolism in the liver to promote energy production‡
- Provides choline source for pregnancy to support infant cognitive development‡
- Soy-free, sunflower-derived phosphatidylcholine.
- Part of the PureGenomics® product line
- Made with high-quality ingredients backed by verifiable science
- Ages 18 and up
- Healthy liver function‡
- Cellular health support‡
- Pregnancy support‡
As a dietary supplement, take 2 capsules daily, with a meal.
Science & Research
Phosphatidylcholine (PC) is a naturally occurring, integral component of the cellular membrane, adding fluidity and strength to cells. It serves as a source of choline, an important nutrient for methylation, cell-to-cell communication, cognition and liver function.1
Choline and its metabolites are the major source of methyl groups in the diet. Methylation plays many roles including neurotransmission, vitamin assimilation, DNA synthesis and gene regulation.2
Choline is required for the synthesis of phospholipids and acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter involved in attention, learning and memory. A 6-month double-blind, placebo-controlled trial suggested that choline-containing lecithin, alpha GPC supports memory in aging individuals. Animal research suggests an adaptogenic effect when exposed to stress.3
Certain genetic variations in MTHFR and PEMT, enzymes that play critical roles in methylation and choline synthesis, respectively, have been associated with increased dietary choline needs.4
Research indicates that choline intake is important for pregnant women, particularly those with PEMT and MTHFR genetic variations.5 Another clinical trial showed that women with PEMT and MTHFR genetic variations who consumed 480 mg of choline daily during pregnancy had offspring with faster processing speed than those who did not.6
PC also plays a significant role in the healthy transport and metabolism of lipids. A randomized, double blind, placebo-controlled trial suggested that choline-containing lecithin may help support healthy hepatic fat metabolism.7 Animal studies indicate that PC promotes healthy liver and pancreatic antioxidant activity.‡
- da Costa KA, et. al. Am J Clin Nutr.2006 Jul;84(1):88-94.
- Olthof MR, et.al. Am J Clin Nutr. 2005 Jul;82(1):111-7.
- Kumar R, et. al. J Altern Complement Med. 2002 Aug;8(4):487-92
- West AA, et. al. J Acad Nutr Diet.2014 Oct;114(10):1594-600
- Yan J, et. al. Am J Clin Nutr.2012 May;95(5)
- Caudill MA, et al. FASEB J.2018 Apr;32(4):2172-2180
- Fischer LM, et. al. Am J Clin Nutr.2010 Nov; 92(5): 1113?119.
If you arepregnant or lactating, have any health condition or are taking any medication, consult your health professional before use.
Store in a cool, dry place.
- Derived from sunflower, a source that is rich in polyunsaturated fatty acids, as opposed to animal-derived sources, which tend to be much higher in saturated fatty acids. There is no detectable GMO material in this product