Phosphatidyl is a chemical with a wide range of applications for mental health, healthy body functions, and skin care. The key to phosphatidyl’s effectiveness is its chemical composition. Phosphatidyl often combines with a molecule called choline, forming a beneficial substance called phosphatidylcholine. Each component delivers a different health benefit, creating a valuable supplement for the body.
This article will discuss:
Phosphatidylcholine is the form of phosphatidyl utilized by Perricone MD‘s care products. Phosphatidylcholine goes by many different names, including:
- PC (an abbreviation for PhosphatidlyCholine)
- Lecithin (phosphatidylcholine is a purified extract of lecithin)
Phosphatidylcholine is known as an essential phospholipid. A phospholipid is composed of a phosphate molecule, a glycerol molecule, and a fatty acid tail. Phospholipids are a critical component of of the cell membrane’s phospholipid bilayer.
Since the phosphate end of the phospholipid is polar and hydrophilic (likes water) and the fatty acid tails are nonpolar and hydrophobic (don’t like water), these molecules arrange themselves in a tail to tail formation. This results in a layer of phosphate molecules on the inside and the outside of the cell providing an extra layer of protection for the cell membrane.
However, phosphatidylcholine has a few critical differences that set it apart from plain phospholipids. First, it has a choline molecule attached to the phospate molecule. Also, its fatty acid tails are polyunsaturated essential fatty acids.
A polyunsaturated fat is characterized by multiple double bonds in the carbon chain. This means the the carbon chain has not reached the maximum number of hydrogen atoms that could be attached. A saturated fat has only single bonds, allowing the maximum number of hydrogens to attach to the carbon atoms.
Essential fatty acids are those that the body needs, but does not produce naturally; and thus they must be included as part of the diet. They are two types: omega-3 and omega-6.
Watch Dr. Perricone’s explination of omega-3 in this video:
Phosphatidyl/phosphatidylcholine is used as both an oral supplement and as an ingredient in topical skin care products.
Phosphatidylcholine can be used to treat a variety of conditions including:
- High cholesterol
- Atherosclerosis (fatty deposits in arteries)
- High blood pressure
- Liver problems
- Bipolar depression
- Dyskinesia (difficulty making movements)
- Gallbladder disease
- Multiple Sclerosis
Many of phosphatidylcholine derive from the fact that it it emulsifies, disperses, and breaks down fat. This is why it can help with high cholesterol, artherosclerosis, blood pressure, the liver, the heart and the gallbladder. It is able to do all of this is because, when the phosphatidylcholine molecule is ingested, it is broken down into its individual components: a phosphate group and the fatty acids glycerol and choline.
Choline is the key component of many bodily processes, among them the transport of fats. Without it, fat becomes trapped in the liver, blocking metabolism. Choline also is crucial for the manufacturing of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine.
Acetylcholine is believed to benefit the brain and improve concentration, memory, and problem-solving abilities. Acetylcholine has been studied in relation to Alzheimer’s disease since there is a depletion of acetylcholine in the brains of Alzheimer’s patients. Acetylcholine is also important for muscle function; it sends the trigger signal that prompts muscles to respond, and this creates muscle tone.
The fatty acids in phosphatidylcholine are also useful because they absorb toxins in the body. The fatty acids then redistribute the toxins throughout the body where other molecules render them less harmful and eventually flush them out of the system.
The choline component of phosphatidylcholine can be found in:
- Vegetables (especially cauliflower and lettuce)
- Whole grains
Phosphatidylcholine, a crucial part of an anti-inflammatory diet, can also be found in lecithin, 10-20% of which is phosphatidylcholine. Lecithin is a naturally occurring lipid found in the cell membranes of all cells. Sometimes the terms lecithin and phosphatidylcholine are used synonymously, since phosphatidylcholine makes up such a large part of the phosphatide portion of lecithin.
Lecithin is found in:
- Egg yolks
Both phosphatidylcholine and lecithin are also available in supplement form.
As always, when taking supplements, always follow label directions and only take the recommended dosage for the designated need. Consult a physician before using phosphatidylcholine as a treatment for depression, because the acetylcholine produced from phosphatidylcholine can actually worsen depression in certain cases.