Phosphatidylcholine is used for ulcerative colitis. There is some scientific research that supports this use.
Phosphatidylcholine is also used for memory loss, Alzheimer disease, and liver disease, but there is no good scientific evidence to support these uses.
Phosphatidylcholine is also used in cosmetic injections for "dissolving" fat, but these are considered unapproved drugs by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
How does it work ?
Uses & Effectiveness
Possibly Effective for
- A type of 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
- Swelling (inflammation) of the liver caused by the hepatitis A virus (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 often caused by antipsychotic drugs (tardive dyskinesia). Taking phosphatidylcholine by mouth does not seem to improve 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 in people who drink alcohol. Early research suggests that taking phosphatidylcholine daily for 24 months does not increase survival in people with liver disease who drink 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.
- Reduced brain function in people with advanced liver disease (hepatic encephalopathy). Research suggests that taking phosphatidylcholine daily for 6-8 weeks does not improve declining brain function in people with liver disease or liver failure.
- Swelling (inflammation) of the liver caused by the hepatitis B virus (hepatitis B). Studies of phosphatidylcholine for hepatitis B show conflicting results. It is not clear if phosphatidylcholine is beneficial.
- Swelling (inflammation) of the liver caused by the hepatitis C virus (hepatitis C). Early research suggests that taking phosphatidylcholine by mouth, together with interferon, seems to improve liver function in people with hepatitis C.
- High levels of lipoproteins in the blood (hyperlipoproteinemia). Early research suggests that taking phosphatidylcholine does not reduce lipoprotein levels in people with hyperlipoproteinemia.
- 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.
- Build up of fat in the liver in people who drink little or no alcohol (nonalcoholic fatty liver disease or NAFLD). Early research suggests that taking phosphatidylcholine might improve liver function in people with NAFLD.
- Memory. 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.
- Diseases, such as Alzheimer disease, that interfere with thinking (dementia).
- Chest pain (angina).
- Hardening of the arteries (atherosclerosis).
- Eczema (atopic dermatitis).
- Bipolar disorder.
- Gallbladder disease.
- High cholesterol.
- Narrowing of blood vessels that causes poor blood flow to the limbs (peripheral arterial disease).
- High levels of cholesterol or other fats (lipids) in the blood (hyperlipidemia).
- Premenstrual syndrome (PMS).
- Other conditions.
When given as a shot: Phosphatidylcholine is POSSIBLY SAFE when given as an injection under the skin for up to 5 doses spread 2-4 weeks apart. The 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 non-cancerous fatty tumor (lipoma), it might cause a reaction that could make the tumor more fibrous, needing surgery to remove it.
When applied to the skin: Phosphatidylcholine is POSSIBLY SAFE when applied to the skin for up to 12 weeks.
Special Precautions and Warnings
Breast-feeding: There isn't enough reliable information to know if phosphatidylcholine is safe to use when breast-feeding. Stay on the safe side and avoid use.
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.
Be cautious with this combination
- A type of inflammatory bowel disease (ulcerative colitis): 1-6 grams daily taken in divided doses.
CONDITIONS OF USE AND IMPORTANT INFORMATION: This information is meant to supplement, not replace advice from your doctor or healthcare provider and is not meant to cover all possible uses, precautions, interactions or adverse effects. This information may not fit your specific health circumstances. Never delay or disregard seeking professional medical advice from your doctor or other qualified health care provider because of something you have read on WebMD. You should always speak with your doctor or health care professional before you start, stop, or change any prescribed part of your health care plan or treatment and to determine what course of therapy is right for you.
This copyrighted material is provided by Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database Consumer Version. Information from this source is evidence-based and objective, and without commercial influence. For professional medical information on natural medicines, see Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database Professional Version. © Therapeutic Research Faculty 2018.