Phosphatidylcholine (PC) is an essential phospholipid which consists of phosphate, fatty acids and choline. It is essential for life as it makes up about 50% of all cell membranes making it one of the most important molecules in the body. It is also one of the components of bile (it is required for normal transport of bile acids). It also emulsifies and breaks down fat deposits in the body, which make it helpful in the prevention of gallstones, atherosclerosis, heart disease, and liver problems. It makes cholesterol more soluble and less able to cause hardening of the arteries. The choline in phophatidylcholine is necessary for metabolism of fatty acids and for the transport of fats through cells. Without it fat actually becomes trapped in the liver which interferes with liver function. Some researchers have also hypothesized that the ability of phosphatidylcholine to increase levels of acetylcholine in the brain might help people with Alzheimer’s disease, though clinical studies have not supported this theory. Still, people with mild to moderate dementia may benefit from supplements of phosphatidylcholine.
PC is an essential component to the PK protocol developed by Patricia Kane PhD which involves lipid replacement therapy using phospholipids such as PC. PC lipid replacement helps repair the damage to cellular membranes caused by biotoxins which tend to reside in the membrane fatty layer. In addition the PC helps flush the liver and gall bladder to aid the detoxification process of the biotoxins. This protocol is used for conditions such as chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia, Lymes disease, MS and multiple chemical sensitivities.
PC is also an essential component for Mesotherapy which is a non-surgical cosmetic medicine treatment which employs multiple injections of pharmaceutical, vitamins and nutraceuticals, including PC, into the subcutaneous fat to help dissolve it for weight loss.
Phosphatidylcholine is commonly available as a supplement obtained from lecithin which usually contains anywhere from 10% to 35% PC. These tend to be ineffective as the lecithin is unable to form a micelle when taken orally and thus are digested by lipase, phospholipase and other enzymes in the gut which break the PC down into its individual components before being absorbed.
If however highly purified PC (95 to 98%) is used it encourages the formation of PC micelles/liposomes when exposed to the watery environment in the gut. These tiny micelle spheres then transverse the gut wall and thus are absorbed without being broken down by digestive enzymes. These micelles/liposomes are being utilised by the pharmaceutical industry to increase the absorption of certain drugs captured inside the liposome sphere due to their high absorption rates.
The recommended dosage of a oral supplement that contains 95% phosphatidylcholine is 350 -500 mg three times per day for liver disorders, 500-900 mg three times per day to lower cholesterol, and 2 to 5g daily for lipid replacement therapy to rebuild cell membranes and flush the liver.
PC is also available as an injection at 100mg/ml for mesotherapy or for the PK protocol. The dose is 250-750mg twice a week for 20 weeks for PK protocol.
There have been few side effects reported with the use of phosphatidylcholine supplements other than gastrointestinal upset when large doses are used. High doses in the form of lecithin may cause a decrease in appetite as well.
Our laboratory produces an injectable form of PC using a highly purified source of PC and is available on prescription.