1,2-diacyl-sn-glycero-3-phosphocholine, Fosfatidilcolina, Lipodissolve, Lipolight, Lipolyse, Lipothérapie, Lipotherapy, Phosphatidyl Choline, Phospholipid, Phospholipide, Phospholipon, Polyenylphosphatidylcholine, Polyénylphosphatidylcholine, PtdCho.
Overview InformationPhosphatidylcholine is a chemical contained in eggs, soybeans, mustard, sunflower, and other foods. It is found naturally in the body in all cells.
The term "phosphatidylcholine" is sometimes used interchangeably with "lecithin," although the two are different. Choline is a component of phosphatidylcholine, which is a component of lecithin. Although closely related, these terms are not the same.
There is some interest in using phosphatidylcholine to improve symptoms of ulcerative colitis in some people. Some scientific research supports this use.
Because the body uses phosphatidylcholine to make a brain chemical called acetylcholine, there is also some interest in using it for treating "brain-centered" conditions such as memory loss, Alzheimer’s disease, anxiety, manic-depressive disorders, and a movement disorder called tardive dyskinesia. But there is limited scientific evidence to support these uses.
Phosphatidylcholine is the primary active ingredient contained in cosmetic injection products used to "dissolve" fat. These products include Lipodissolve, Lipolight, Lipolyse, Lipotherapy, and others. Some cosmetic centers in several countries initially imported a prescription intravenous drug product from Germany known as Lipostabil. They used it subcutaneously for cosmetic purposes; however, the manufacturer of this product does not promote it for this use due to lack of reliable evidence. Some countries, such as Brazil, have banned importation of this product for cosmetic use. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has also issued a warning to sellers of Lipostabil for making false and misleading claims and because it is an unapproved drug in the U.S.
Phosphatidylcholine injections are now often compounded in pharmacies. However, in the U.S., phosphatidylcholine, when compounded and used as an injection, is considered an unapproved drug rather than a dietary supplement.
How does it work?The body makes a brain chemical called acetylcholine from phosphatidylcholine. Acetylcholine is important for memory and other bodily functions. Since phosphatidylcholine might increase acetylcholine, there is interest in using it for improving memory and for conditions such as Alzheimer's disease.
Some researchers think phosphatidylcholine acts like a detergent and breaks down fat.
A certain form of phosphatidylcholine (polyunsaturated phosphatidylcholine) might provide protection against liver fibrosis and liver damage caused by drinking alcohol, although the exact mechanisms are not completely understood.
Phosphatidylcholine might also help to protect the wall of the large intestine in people with a condition known as ulcerative colitis.
Uses & Effectiveness
Possibly Effective for
- Inflammatory bowel disease (ulcerative colitis). Research suggests that taking various types of phosphatidylcholine daily for up to 3 months improves symptoms in people with ulcerative colitis.
Possibly Ineffective for
- Hepatitis A. Taking phosphatidylcholine by mouth does not seem to improve liver function in people with hepatitis A.
- Infant development. Taking phosphatidylcholine during pregnancy does not seem to improve the brain development of the infant.
- Improving a medical procedure called peritoneal dialysis. Taking phosphatidylcholine by mouth does not seem to improve a medical procedure called peritoneal dialysis.
- A movement disorder called tardive dyskinesia. Taking phosphatidylcholine by mouth does not seem to improve a movement disorder called tardive dyskinesia.
Insufficient Evidence for
- Acne. Early research suggests that applying a cream containing 4% niacinamide and phosphatidylcholine to the skin seems to improve acne in some people.
- Liver disease caused by alcohol. Early research suggests that taking phosphatidylcholine daily for 24 months does not increase survival in people with liver disease caused by drinking alcohol.
- Reducing fat deposits. Early research suggests that injections of phosphatidylcholine under the skin may make fatty deposits on the chin, thigh, hips, abdomen, back, neck, and elsewhere look smaller to some people. Improvements appear to last for 2-3 years or longer. In one study, 80% of patients reported improvements in facial fat that lasted for up to 3 years. However, these results have been questioned because the studies were not well designed.
- Declining brain function caused by liver disease. Research suggests that taking phosphatidylcholine daily for 6-8 weeks does not improve declining brain function in people with liver disease or liver failure.
- Hepatitis B. Studies regarding hepatitis B show conflicting results. It is not clear if phosphatidylcholine is beneficial.
- Hepatitis C. Early research suggests that taking phosphatidylcholine by mouth, together with interferon, seems to improve liver function in people with hepatitis C.
- Inability to break down cholesterol in the body. Early research suggests that taking phosphatidylcholine does not reduce cholesterol levels in the body of people who are unable to break down cholesterol
- Treating non-cancerous fatty tumors (lipomas). There is one report that injecting a phosphatidylcholine solution directly into a lipoma can shrink the tumor by about 35%. However, this treatment might cause an unwanted reaction in the lipoma.
- Liver disease not related to alcohol use (nonalcoholic fatty liver disease; NAFLD). Early research suggests that taking a product containing phosphatidylcholine, along with vitamin E, and silybin, a chemical in milk thistle might improve liver function in people with the liver disease known as NAFLD.
- Memory loss. There is early evidence that taking a single 25 mg dose of phosphatidylcholine can improve some measures of memory in healthy college students.
- Eyelid fat. There is some evidence that injecting a phosphatidylcholine solution reduces bulging lower eyelid fat pads in some people.
- Gallbladder disease.
- Manic-depressive illness.
- Circulation disorders of the arms and legs.
- Weight loss.
- Premenstrual syndrome (PMS).
- Alzheimer's disease.
- Depressed immunity.
- Preventing aging.
- Other conditions.
Side Effects & SafetyPhosphatidylcholine is POSSIBLY SAFE when taken by mouth, when injected just beneath the skin, or when applied on the skin short-term. The safety of long-term use is not known.
When phosphatidylcholine is taken by mouth, it can sometimes cause excessive sweating, stomach upset, and diarrhea.
Phosphatidylcholine injections can cause irritation, swelling, redness, itching, burning, bruising, and pain at the injection site. These side effects usually go away over a period of several days. Sometimes, phosphatidylcholine might cause gastrointestinal upset, like bloating, diarrhea, and nausea.
If phosphatidylcholine is injected directly into a fatty growth (lipoma), it might cause an inflammatory reaction that could make the tumor more fibrous. In one reported case, the patient who had this done had to have the lipoma removed by surgery.
Special Precautions & Warnings:Pregnancy: Phosphatidylcholine is POSSIBLY SAFE when taken by mouth.
Breast-feeding: There is not enough reliable information about the safety of taking phosphatidylcholine when you are breast feeding. Stay on the safe side and avoid use.
Be cautious with this combination
Drying medications (Anticholinergic drugs) interacts with PHOSPHATIDYLCHOLINE
Some drying medications are called anticholinergic drugs. Phosphatidylcholine might increase chemicals that can decrease the effects of these drying medications.
Some drying medications include atropine, scopolamine, and some medications used for allergies (antihistamines) and for depression (antidepressants).
Medications for Alzheimer's disease (Acetylcholinesterase (AChE) inhibitors) interacts with PHOSPHATIDYLCHOLINE
Phosphatidylcholine might increase a chemical in the body called acetylcholine. Medications for Alzheimer's called acetylcholinesterase inhibitors also increase the chemical acetylcholine. Taking phosphatidylcholine along with medications for Alzheimer's disease might increase effects and side effects of medications for Alzheimer's disease.
Some medications called acetylcholinesterase inhibitors include donepezil (Aricept), tacrine (Cognex), rivastigmine (Exelon), and galantamine (Reminyl, Razadyne).
Various medications used for glaucoma, Alzheimer's disease, and other conditions (Cholinergic drugs) interacts with PHOSPHATIDYLCHOLINE
Phosphatidylcholine might increase a chemical in the body called acetylcholine. This chemical is similar to some medications used for glaucoma, Alzheimer's disease, and other conditions. Taking phosphatidylcholine with these medications might increase the chance of side effects.
Some of these medications used for glaucoma, Alzheimer's disease, and other conditions include pilocarpine (Pilocar and others), and others.
The following doses have been studied in scientific research:
- Ulcerative colitis: 1-6 grams daily taken in divided doses.
- Rittes PG. The use of phosphatidylcholine for correction of localized fat deposits. Aesthetic Plast Surg 2003;27:315-8. View abstract.
- Rittes PG. The use of phosphatidylcholine for correction of lower lid bulging due to prominent fat pads. Dermatol Surg 2001;27:391-2. View abstract.
- Rotunda AM, Kolodney MS. Mesotherapy and phosphatidylcholine injections: historical clarification and review. Dermatol Surg 2006;32:465-80. View abstract.
- Stremmel W, Braun A, Hanemann A, Ehehalt R, Autschbach F, Karner M. Delayed release phosphatidylcholine in chronic-active ulcerative colitis: a randomized, double-blinded, dose finding study. J Clin Gastroenterol 2010;44(5):e101-7. View abstract.
- Stremmel W, Ehehalt R, Autschbach F, Karner M. Phosphatidylcholine for steroid-refractory chronic ulcerative colitis: a randomized trial. Ann Intern Med. 2007;147(9):603-10. View abstract.
- Symons C, Fortune F, Greenbaum RA, Dandona P. Cardiac hypertrophy, hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, and hyperparathyroidism-an association. Br Heart J 1985;54:539-42. View abstract.
- Wade A, Weller PJ, eds. Handbook of Pharmaceutical Excipients. 2nd ed. Washington, DC: Am Pharmaceutical Assn, 1994.
- Bartsch, G. G. and Gerber, G. B. Influence of phospholipids on liver damage. II. Changes in lipid content and synthesis after liver damage with carbontetrachloride and other agents. Acta Hepatogastroenterol.(Stuttg) 1975;22(4):228-236. View abstract.
- Fabia, R., Ar'Rajab, A., Willen, R., Andersson, R., Ahren, B., Larsson, K., and Bengmark, S. Effects of phosphatidylcholine and phosphatidylinositol on acetic-acid-induced colitis in the rat. Digestion 1992;53(1-2):35-44. View abstract.
- Holecek, M., Mraz, J., Koldova, P., and Skopec, F. Effect of polyunsaturated phosphatidylcholine on liver regeneration onset after hepatectomy in the rat. Arzneimittelforschung. 1992;42(3):337-339. View abstract.
- Neuberger, J., Hegarty, J. E., Eddleston, A. L., and Williams, R. Effect of polyunsaturated phosphatidylcholine on immune mediated hepatocyte damage. Gut 1983;24(8):751-755. View abstract.
- Panos, J. M., Palson, R., Johnson, R., Portmann, B., and Williams, R. Polyunsaturated phosphatidylcholine for acute alcoholic hepatitis: a double blind randomized placebo controlled trial. Eur.J.Gastroenterol 1990;2:351-355.
- Romagosa, R., Saap, L., Givens, M., Salvarrey, A., He, J. L., Hsia, S. L., and Taylor, J. R. A pilot study to evaluate the treatment of basal cell carcinoma with 5-fluorouracil using phosphatidyl choline as a transepidermal carrier. Dermatol.Surg. 2000;26(4):338-340. View abstract.
- Schneider, J., Muller, R., Buberl, W., Kaffarnik, H., Schubotz, R., Hausmann, L., Muhlfellner, G., and Muhlfellner, O. Effect of polyenyl phosphatidyl choline on clofibrate-induced increase in LDL cholesterol. Eur.J.Clin.Pharmacol. 2-19-1979;15(1):15-19. View abstract.
- Singh, N. K. and Prasad, R. C. A pilot study of polyunsaturated phosphatidyl choline in fulminant and subacute hepatic failure. J Assoc.Physicians India 1998;46(6):530-532. View abstract.
- Stremmel, W., Merle, U., Zahn, A., Autschbach, F., Hinz, U., and Ehehalt, R. Retarded release phosphatidylcholine benefits patients with chronic active ulcerative colitis. Gut 2005;54(7):966-971. View abstract.
- Zierenberg, O. and Grundy, S. M. Intestinal absorption of polyenephosphatidylcholine in man. J Lipid Res 1982;23(8):1136-1142. View abstract.
- Ablon G, Rotunda AM. Treatment of lower eyelid fat pads using phosphatidylcholine: clinical trial and review. Dermatol Surg 2004;30:422-7. View abstract.
- Aronson PJ, Lorincz AL. Promotion of palmar sweating with oral phosphatidylcholine. Acta Derm Venereol 1985;65:19-24. View abstract.
- Chan PC, Tam SC, Robinson JD, et al. Effect of phosphatidylcholine on ultrafiltration in patients on continuous ambulatory peritoneal dialysis. Nephron 1991;59:100-3. View abstract.
- Cheatham CL, Goldman BD, Fischer LM, da Costa KA, Reznick JS, Zeisel SH. Phosphatidylcholine supplementation in pregnant women consuming moderate-choline diets does not enhance infant cognitive function: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. Am J Clin Nutr 2012;96(6):1465-72. View abstract.
- Domino EF, May WW, Demetriou S, et al. Lack of clinically significant improvement of patients with tardive dyskinesia following phosphatidylcholine therapy. Biol Psychiatry 1985;20:1189-96. View abstract.
- Food and Drug Administration. Warning Letter to Ayoula Dublin regarding Lipostabil. July 22, 2003.
- Guan R, Ho KY, Kang JY, et al. The effect of polyunsaturated phosphatidyl choline in the treatment of acute viral hepatitis. Aliment Pharmacol Ther 1995;9:699-703. View abstract.
- Hasengschwandtner F. Phosphatidylcholine treatment to induce lipolysis. Cosmet Dermatol 2005;4:308-13. View abstract.
- Hexsel D, Serra M, Mazzuco R, et al. Phosphatidylcholine in the treatment of localized fat. J Drugs Dermatol 2003;2:511-8. View abstract.
- Hexsel DM, Serra M, de Oliveira Dal'Forno T, et al. Cosmetic uses of injectable phosphatidylcholine on the face. Otolaryngol Clin North Am 2005;38:1119-29. View abstract.
- Jenkins PJ, Portmann BP, Eddleston AL, Williams R. Use of polyunsaturated phosphatidyl choline in HBsAg negative chronic active hepatitis: results of prospective double-blind controlled trial. Liver 1982;2:77-81. View abstract.
- Karner M, Kocjan A, Stein J, et al. First multicenter study of modified release phosphatidylcholine "LT-02" in ulcerative colitis: a randomized, placebo-controlled trial in mesalazine-refractory courses. Am J Gastroenterol 2014;109(7):1041-51. View abstract.
- Koo SI, Noh SK. Phosphatidylcholine inhibits and lysophosphatidylcholine enhances the lymphatic absorption of alpha-tocopherol in adult rats. J Nutr 2001;131:717-22.. View abstract.
- Kopera D, Binder B, Toplak H, et al. Histopathologic changes after intralesional application of phosphatidylcholine for lipoma reduction: report of a case. Am J Dermatopathol 2006;28:331-3. View abstract.
- Ladd SL, Sommer SA, LaBerge S, Toscano W. Effect of phosphatidylcholine on explicit memory. Clin Neuropharmacol 1993;16:540-9. View abstract.
- Lieber CS, Leo MA, Aleynik S, et al. Increased circulating level of dilinoleoylphosphatidylcholine is associated with protection against alcohol induced oxidative stress and liver fibrosis in man. Hepatology 2000;32:386A.
- Loguercio C, Andreone P, Brisc C, et al. Silybin combined with phosphatidylcholine and vitamin E in patients with nonalcoholic fatty liver disease: a randomized controlled trial. Free Radic Biol Med 2012;52(9):1658-65. View abstract.
- Merin JP, Matsuyama M, Kira T, et al. Alpha-lipoic acid blocks HIV-1 LTR-dependent expression of hygromycin resistance in THP-1 stable transformants. FEBS Lett 1996;394:9-13. View abstract.
- Morganti P, Berardesca E, Guarneri B, et al. Topical clindamycin 1% vs. linoleic acid-rich phosphatidylcholine and nicotinamide 4% in the treatment of acne: a multicentre-randomized trial. Int J Cosmet Sci 2011;33(5):467-76. View abstract.
- Niederau C, Strohmeyer G, Heintges T, et al. Polyunsaturated phosphatidyl-choline and interferon alpha for treatment of chronic hepatitis B and C: a multi-center, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. Leich Study Group. Hepatogastroenterology 1998;45:797-804. View abstract.
- Phosphatidylcholine. Altern Med Rev 2002;7(2):150-4. View abstract.
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