lecithin

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lec·i·thin

(les'i-thin),
Traditional term for 1,2-diacyl-sn-glycero-3-phosphocholines or 3-sn-phosphatidylcholines, phospholipids that on hydrolysis yield two fatty acid molecules and a molecule each of glycerophosphoric acid and choline. In some varieties of lecithin, both fatty acids are saturated, others contain only unsaturated acids (for example, oleic, linoleic, or arachidonic acid); in others again, one fatty acid is saturated, the other unsaturated. Lecithins are yellowish or brown waxy substances, readily miscible in water, in which they appear under the microscope as irregular elongated particles known as "myelin forms," and are found in nervous tissue, especially in the myelin sheaths, in egg yolk, and as essential constituents of animal and vegetable cells.
[G. lekithos, egg yolk]

lecithin

/lec·i·thin/ (les´ĭ-thin) phosphatidylcholine.

lecithin

(lĕs′ə-thĭn)
n.
1. Any of various substances containing phosphatidylcholine and a variety of other phospholipids, extracted from soybeans, egg yolks, or other sources and used as emulsifiers in a wide range of commercial products, including foods, cosmetics, paints, and plastics.

lecithin

[les′ithin]
Etymology: Gk, lekithos, yolk
phosphatidylcholine, a phospholipid common in plants and animals. Lecithin is found in the liver, nerve tissue, semen and in smaller amounts, in bile and blood. It is essential as a component of all cell membranes and for fat metabolism and is used in the processing of foods, pharmaceutical products, cosmetics, and inks. Rich dietary sources are soybeans, egg yolk, and corn. See also choline, inositol.

lecithin/sphingomyelin ratio (L/S ratio)

the ratio of two components of amniotic fluid, used for predicting fetal lung maturity. The normal ratio in amniotic fluid is 2:1 or greater when fetal lungs are mature.

lecithin

A phospholipid extracted from soybeans, which is believed to:
(1) Improve memory (based on lecithin’s choline, which is incorporated into acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter); and 
(2) Improve the lipid profile by increasing HDL (“good”) cholesterol and decreasing LDL (“bad”) cholesterol.
 
Although there is little peer-reviewed data either confirming or refuting lecithin’s efficacy for the above indications, it is widely sold in health food for these supposed effects.

lec·i·thin

(les'i-thin)
Traditional term for phospholipids that on hydrolysis yield two fatty acid molecules and a molecule each of glycerophosphoric acid and choline. Lecithins are found in nervous tissue, especially in the myelin sheaths, in egg yolk, and as essential constituents of animal and vegetable cells.
[G. lekithos, egg yolk]

lecithin

any of a group of phospholipids, composed of choline, phosphoric acid, fatty acids and glycerol, found in animal and plant tissues.

lecithin (leˑ·s·thn),

n Scientific name: 1,2,diacyl-sn-glycero-3-phosphatidylcholine. A naturally occurring emulsifier, antioxidant, and dietary supplement used to lower cholesterol, to provide cardiovascular support, to treat kidney and liver conditions, and to aid in the treatment of some central nervous system disorders. See also phosphatidylcholine.

lec·i·thin

(les'i-thin)
Lecithin is a yellowish or brown waxy substance, readily miscible in water, in which it appears under the microscope as irregular elongated particles known as "myelin forms"; found in nervous tissue, especially in the myelin sheaths, in egg yolk, and as essential constituents of animal and vegetable cells.
[G. lekithos, egg yolk]

lecithin (les´ithin),

n a class of phosphatides containing glycerol, phosphate, choline, and fatty acids. They are widely distributed in cells and possess both metabolic and structural functions in membranes. Dipalmityl lecithin is an important surface-active agent in the lungs.

lecithin

any of a group of phospholipids found in animal tissues, especially nerve tissue, the liver, semen and egg yolk, consisting of esters of glycerol with two molecules of long-chain aliphatic acids and one of phosphoric acid, the latter being esterified with the alcohol group of choline.
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