Soy lecithin is obtained from soybean oil. To produce soy lecithin, soybeans are hulled, crushed, and the soybean oil is extracted. Lecithin is separated through centrifugation of the oil. The lecithin undergoes further modifications to produce a variety of liquid and granular forms.
Major Health Benefits
Soy lecithin is a natural source of the essential fatty acid, linoleic acid, as well as choline (see Choline Bitartrate) and inositol (see Inositol). Lecithin acts as an emulsifier to help blend fat and water-based ingredients together. In powdered products, lecithin helps the powder disperse quickly when mixed with liquids. It has been suggested in a lab study that soy lecithin may help beneficial bacteria to survive when going through the small intestine by increasing bile resistance.1
Individuals that are allergic to peanuts or soy may also have allergic reactions to soy lecithin.2
Hu B, Tian F, Wang G, Zhang Q, Zhao J, Zhang H, Chen W. Enhancement of bile resistance in Lactobacillus plantarum strains by soy lecithin. Lett Appl Microbiol. 2015 Jul;61(1):13-19. PMID: 25800811.
Béliveau S, Gaudreault P, Goulet L, Primeau MN, Marcoux D. Type I hypersensitivity in an asthmatic child allergic to peanuts: was soy lecithin to blame? J Cutan Med Surg. 2008 Jan-Feb;12(1):27-30. PubMed PMID: 18258154.