Harmful or Harmless: Soy Lecithin | Chris Kresser

Harmful or Harmless: Soy Lecithin

by Chris Kresser

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Soy lecithin is one of the most ubiquitous additives in our food supply. It’s used primarily as an emulsifier, and you can find it in everything from salad dressing to tea bags. Paleo dieters avoid the brunt of it by eliminating most processed foods, but it almost always pops up in chocolate (everyone’s favorite honorary Paleo food) and often appears in supplements.

I recommend avoiding soy as a general rule, but consuming small amounts of soy lecithin as an additive is very different from, say, eating a soy burger  topped with soy cheese or drizzling soybean oil on your salad. This article will probably be more than you ever wanted to know about soy lecithin, but I wanted to do my best to get all the facts out on the table.

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What is Soy Lecithin?

The term ‘lecithin’ can have different meanings depending on the context, but for our purposes, it refers to a mixture of phospholipids and oil. Phospholipids are a component of the cell membrane in all plants and animals, but lecithin is most often derived from sunflower kernels, rapeseed (canola), milk, soy, and egg yolks. (1)

The specific composition of soy lecithin varies depending on its manufacturer and intended use, but on average, it contains about 35% soybean oil and 16% phosphatidylcholine. (2) Phosphatidylcholine is a type of phospholipid that is abundant in liver and egg yolks, and is the primary form of choline found in foods. (3) The remaining percentage is other phospholipids and glycolipids.

To make soy lecithin, soybean oil is extracted from the raw soybeans using a chemical solvent (usually hexane). (4) Then, the crude soy oil goes through a ‘degumming’ process, wherein water is mixed thoroughly with the soy oil until the lecithin becomes hydrated and separates from the oil. Then, the lecithin is dried and occasionally bleached using hydrogen peroxide.

There are many claims online about soy lecithin being full of nasty chemicals left over from the production process. Not surprisingly, there aren’t many credible sources describing the chemical content of commercial soy lecithin, but I have found some relevant data about the safety of soy lecithin.

Before the ‘degumming’ step where lecithin is removed, the crude oil undergoes a multi-step process to remove the hexane. (5) However, it appears that the FDA doesn’t regulate the amount of hexane residue in food products, and one paper estimated that the residual hexane concentration of soy oil is 500-1000ppm. (6) So, it’s very possible that similar concentrations remain in the soy lecithin. (For comparison’s sake, the concentration limit for hexane in pharmaceuticals is 290ppm.) (7)

According to one analysis, total pesticide residues in crude soy oil are around 400ppb. (8) Since the pesticide concentration of the oil after degumming is similar, it’s pretty likely that some of those pesticides end up in the lecithin as well.

While it’s unfortunate that soy lecithin likely contains pesticides and solvents, I would just encourage you to keep this information in perspective. We’re exposed to hundreds of chemical toxins every day in our air, water, household products, and food, and contaminants in soy lecithin will contribute only slightly to your overall toxic load. After all, we’re talking parts per million and parts per billion, and soy lecithin itself usually makes up no more than 1% of processed foods. (9)

Of course, in an ideal world, we would be able to avoid these things altogether, and I certainly recommend reducing your exposure as much as possible. It’s also a good idea to make sure your detox systems are functioning effectively. But unless you have a severe chemical sensitivity to hexane or pesticides, occasionally consuming small amounts is not worth getting bent out of shape over.


Soy allergies are triggered by soy proteins, so whether lecithin triggers an allergic response or not depends on its protein content. One analysis found protein concentrations ranging from 100 to 1,400ppm in six different soy lecithin samples. (10) (For reference, the new FDA gluten-free labeling law requires a gluten concentration of less than 20ppm.) (11) Another analysis of six different lecithin samples found that four had sufficient protein to trigger an IgE-mediated response in people with soy allergies, while two contained no detectable protein at all. (12) However, another study performed similar testing and concluded that even if protein is present in soy lecithin, it’s not a significant allergen for people with soybean allergies. (13)

It’s clear that the source of the soy lecithin is a major determinant in whether or not it will present a problem for those with soy allergies, but if you have a soy allergy, I’d say better safe than sorry. However, because protein is present in such a low concentration, and soy lecithin itself usually makes up no more than 1% of processed foods, it’s probably not a problem for those with minor sensitivities to soy.


Most of the soy grown in the US is genetically modified, so unless the label says ‘organic soy lecithin,’ it probably came from a genetically modified soybean. You know I’m not a fan of GMOs, due to the presence of potentially transferrable DNA and potentially immunogenic proteins. However, as I discussed in the section on allergies, soy lecithin contains very little soy protein, and lecithin from some sources contains no detectable protein at all. Soy lecithin also contains very little DNA, and the DNA present is usually degraded to the extent that it’s impossible to tell whether the soy is genetically modified or not. (14) Thus, most of the risks associated with consumption of GMOs aren’t relevant for soy lecithin, and shouldn’t be cause for concern.


Soy is the greatest food source of phytoestrogens, and one group of researchers discovered significant estrogenic activity in soy lecithin. (15) Interestingly, none of the soy lecithin they tested contained genistein, which is the predominant phytoestrogen in soy. They concluded that “a so-far unidentified estrogen-like compound” is present in soy lecithin that accounts for its estrogenic activity.

We know how problematic phytoestrogens can be, but again, the dose makes the poison. Remember, soy isn’t the only source of phytoestrogens we’re exposed to. (Did you know that flaxseed is also a significant source of phytoestrogens? In fact, one study showed that supplementation with ground flaxseed altered estrogen metabolism even more than supplementation with soy flour.) It’s definitely best to keep phytoestrogens to a minimum, and individuals dealing with cancer or fertility problems might want to avoid them more strictly. But for most generally healthy people, the small amounts of phytoestrogens from soy lecithin shouldn’t be a problem.


One study that has been used widely as ammunition against soy lecithin is titled “Effects of a Commercial Soy Lecithin Preparation on Development of Sensorimotor Behavior and Brain Biochemistry in the Rat.” Researchers found that soy lecithin in concentrations of 2% and 5% in the diets of pregnant and newborn rats resulted in impaired reflexes and swimming ability, along with other cognitive deficiencies.

It’s important to understand that these effects are due to choline toxicity, not soy lecithin per se. The elevated brain/body weight ratios, plus elevated acetylcholine and choline acetyltransferase levels that resulted from soy lecithin supplementation were caused by the phosphatidylcholine, and would’ve still occurred even if they had used a source of phosphatidylcholine other than soy; even egg yolks.

It would be very difficult to consume as much choline as these rats did, especially from soy lecithin. In fact, most people are deficient in choline! This is just another case of a study being misinterpreted, and you certainly don’t need to worry about soy lecithin causing developmental problems.

Therapeutic Uses

I believe I’ve covered all of the main concerns about soy lecithin, but it’s worth mentioning that soy lecithin is also being recommended and consumed as a dietary supplement. There is a growing body of research supporting its use for improving blood lipids, reducing inflammation, and treating neurological disorders. (16) For instance, one study found that after 2 months of supplementing with 500mg of soy lecithin per day, total cholesterol levels fell by 42% and LDL levels decreased by 56%. (17)

However, most of these studies involve supplementation with a purified form of soy lecithin, which usually contains less soy oil and more phosphatidylcholine than the commercial soy lecithin that shows up in foods. Additionally, isolated phosphatidylcholine is often referred to as ‘lecithin’ in scientific contexts, so some studies supplementing with ‘soy lecithin’ are really just supplementing with phosphatidylcholine.

So once again, it’s not the soy lecithin; it’s the choline. Luckily, you can derive all the benefits of phosphatidylcholine supplementation just by increasing your consumption of choline-rich foods like egg yolks and liver.

So, what to do?

The only people who need to make a point of avoiding soy lecithin are those with severe soy allergies or chemical sensitivities, and of course, those who notice that they personally react badly to it. And if you don’t have a soy allergy, almost all of the remaining concerns about soy lecithin (pesticides, solvents, and GMOs) can be completely eliminated by purchasing products that contain organic soy lecithin.

But for the vast majority of the population, even conventional soy lecithin isn’t worth worrying about one way or the other. If it’s just as easy for you to avoid it as it is to consume it, then do so. (For example, Enjoy Life is one popular brand of chocolate that is soy-free.) Ultimately, I think most people can just enjoy their occasional chocolate treat without worrying about whether it contains soy lecithin.


Join the conversation

  1. we’ve been using sunflower lecithin… but our last container had a lead warning… wonder if you have any updated info on Lecithin

  2. Great article. I agree that finding soy free chocolate is difficult but I found one that’s amazng. Theobroma Chocolat is a Canadian product (unfortunately you can only buy it online if you live in the US) but Canadian consumers can find it almost everywhere. Best chocolate I’ve ever tasted and it’s totally clean.

  3. With all the negatives about soy…I could say the same about sunflower. It is everywhere and in everything. I do ok with soy, but not the sunflower. I changed from a sunflower lecithin supplement to a soy lecithin version, to avoid intestinal pain and pressure. Lecithin has significantly reduced my cholesterol, improved my energy and motivation levels. No amount of natural foods improved these situations. While our food industry has changed what food is, our body’s chemistry also changes with aging and contributes to what nutrients we can absorb and use. It is all quite complicated.

    • An update. Because sunflower lecithin caused problems for me, I switched to a soy lecithin. The soy version did NOT reduce my cholesterol, and I had cognitive problems with it. Noticed a foggy fatigue after taking the soy version, about 500mg, which is not considered to be a high dose. So, I switched back to the sunflower version. Taking an antihistamine has eliminated the internal abdominal pain, but I have rosacea and feel some body inflammation. I need to stop. Don’t tolerate corn oil or anti-cholesterol meds, so I don’t know what to do now.

  4. Lecithin has been known to drastically increase the amount of semen secreted during male ejaculation. By as much as three times the usual amount.

  5. Hi all. Just a bit of info concerning leaky gut syndrome and soy.

    Most US soy is genetically modified, as we all know. Why is it genetically modified? And who modified it? The answer is easily found. Monsanto (yes, the poison-manufacturing giant) genetically modifies soy, among other things such as maize. Why? To make it “Roundup-ready”. This means the plant can withstand the incredibly potent herbicide, Roundup, while all else dies around it. This makes it easy to grow and keep the crops free of weeds without doing much work (and boosts sales for Monsanto).

    Consuming Roundup causes leaky gut syndrome. When insects eat Roundup-sprayed plants, their stomachs explode. When humans eat the stuff, their gut gets lots of tiny holes (because we are so much larger). However, children suffer far more than we adults. Leaky gut causes temperamental problems such as irritability, short temper, hyperactivity and restlessness. A good, clean diet with plenty of probiotic food, as well as eliminating the cause, can help repair the gut.

    The USA has Roundup everywhere. It contaminates the water, soil, air and, of course, crops. Cows eat GM Roundup-ready maize and they also suffer gut problems. The Roundup, via the consumed maize, enters the milk which we buy and drink.

    Monsanto should be boycotted and eliminated from existence at all costs. This might sound radical, but they are causing harm far greater than any of us realises.

    Hope this is useful/interesting to some readers out there 🙂

    • Yep I have been reading all ingredients before I buy. I read somewhere and can’t remember but roundup is also in some foods. The awful thing are moms are still buying baby junk, . I grabbed a box of bars from Gerbers for babies, was so tired and hungry didn’t bother to read what’s in it, well got home and 2″ of items that of course I didn’t know half of them,so I trashed it. I rarely buy boxed food etc etc try to get most items organic and still wash them, your information is true and very informative. Sugar, salt and processed foods are killers and is whats making us sick. Sugar is more addictive then cocain and causes inflammation and that causes diseases .

  6. Let’s be clear:
    Phytoestrogen (plant form) is not Estrogen (animal form).

    Just as you would not use tree sap for a blood transfusion, being “similar” does not make them “the same”. There is zero evidence/data showing the human-animal body actually using “plant estrogen” as its own. This is high school bio lab stuff here.

    However, there is A WEALTH OF DATA/evidence that all animal hormones (estrogen being one of them) can and will alter your body’s normal function. The effects of animal hormones are seen in just about every facet of society, from steroids (bull hormones) to early menopause (cow estrogen & progesterone from a pregnant animal; milk).

    As animals ourselves (members of the same kingdom) we have to look at animal food sources for scrutiny…and we haven’t even started talking about LDL…

    Why the “recent” increase in incidences? Plastics have been proven disruptors of hormones for at least a generation. The longer we use them for toys and bottles, the more evidence we collect. New plastics are also being developed as we speak! This is proven; while soy still has no evidence against it (even GM soy) – only speculation.

    Speculation is not science, it’s just bias.

    What HAS BEEN FOUND against soy is a link to pesticides (rather, run off from animal farms fed GM crops also injected with hormones), but that study doesn’t necessarily mean GM foods are a part of that statistic… Yes, organic is still great, but a bean is just a bean…green (pea) or white (soya).

    Soy products (in general) have been consumed for more than just a few generations, but by the oldest civilization still around today – long before Europe was even a thought. I can’t speak on behalf of highly processed “foods” (tofu is not one of them; it’s just curd) but there are 5th generation Vegans (and older) that are healthier than the rest of the US population. Meanwhile, we have seen the complete opposite (in terms of health) in the rest of the US population in just the last 3 generations! Clearly, plastics are not all there is to blame and we need more human studies.

    The GMO soy crop in the US is actually grown to feed livestock and I have yet to find tofu (for example) that wasn’t organic or non-GM. Biomagnification is the process by which a body’s toxins are passed onto the next body and compounded/concentrated. This is how mercury levels rise as you go up the food chain in fish. The same process happens with land animals.

    Before you reach your own conclusion, try to disprove what you think you know by looking for “real data” (from humans, not other animals). Penicillin is deadly in dogs and rats have livers relative to 5x our own; non-human animal studies are not good enough.

    Read up on human data that is undeniable and does not have other variables/factors at play (ex: The China Study). The “real data” is in folks who live every day as examples of that data, because life isn’t a cage or a petri dish and we all get check-ups from our doctors (real data).

    • Hi Mirna – Thank you for your detailed comment. Those of us in the nutrition world need to stop vilifying soy and phytoestrogens because both have been shown to be protective. A few meta analyses concluded that soy helps women avoid breast cancer and recurrences. The protective effect increases with earlier introduction of soy to the diet. I agree that highly processed soy is probably not helpful, but tofu, tempeh, edamame, miso are clearly foods to regularly include in the diet. And you’re right – it’s the much stronger animal estrogens that are dangerous and contributing to disease.

        • Tofu-making was first recorded during the Chinese Han dynasty some 2,000 years ago.

          As far as human studies for food safety go, I’d say the research on tofu is quite extensive – especially when modern drugs only go through a trial period of a few weeks. Adverse effects from a poor diet are noticed within three generations; and yet, we don’t see this with tofu.

          However, what you are referring to has more to do with the modern version of the bean/plant being modified. I will say though, I have yet to see a package of tofu on a grocery shelf that didn’t say it was a GM-free product. I will also say that I have seen no such label in feed stores for use on domestic animals.

          Biomagnification is the process by which toxicity “shows up” in animals farther up the food chain. It’s the reason a predatory animal like a dolphin has such high concentrations of mercury – it feeds on fish that contain smaller amounts and the heavy metal builds up in the predator’s system, infecting flesh and bone.

  7. Maybe interesting: a recent study indicates that dietary emulsifying agents (e.g. polysorbate 80, lecithin, carrageenan, polyglycerols, and xanthan gum) can might impact gut microbiota, and induce low-grade inflammation.
    [NB this study only looked at CMC and polysorbate in mouse models]

    Source: Dietary emulsifiers impact the mouse gut microbiota promoting colitis and metabolic syndrome (Chassaing, 2015) – https://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v519/n7541/full/nature14232.html

  8. what about the hazard of Soy lecithin for child with Favism i.e. G6PD deficiency hemolytic anemia? these kids are prevented from taking any beans including soy bean, is it dangerous to them to eat or drink food containing Soy lecithin?

  9. Ha… SOY LECITHIN IS WASTE!!!!!!!!!!!

    Have your doc do 24hr. urine or stool sample as this WILL NOT be detected by a blood test. It increases periferins (enzymes) in the liver, resulting in corproporifria (sp?) which is an excessive amount of waste in your body.

    Causes thyroid damage. And I believe that I read somewhere that it stops the absorption of beta carotene.
    My symptoms…
    Thyroid levels normal, but not normal for my body!
    Hair loss
    Brittle nails
    Dry skin
    Overall don’t feel well
    Weight gain
    Severe abdominal cramps – diarrhea and or constipation
    Allergies (not severe)
    And more

    I was feeling so bad that I gathered all of the foods that I was eating to find a common denominator and research those ingredients. I was astonished to enter soy lecithin – waste. I decided to eliminate it for one month and I was astonished again. After two weeks, my hair loss started to subside and I started to feel well again. After one month, my hair stopped falling out (was 300-500 per day vs. 5-20 now), my eyebrows even came back in, and I had no more bowel trouble! Everything improved! My husband said to me a few months ago that he didn’t realize that he didn’t have any eyebrows until they had grown back in! Also, he has been completely bald on top for 20 years and now has some hair there. Note that if I eat 1 (only ONE) thing with soy lecithin, I can tell it by the next day! Additionally, not changing the amount of food consumption and within a few months, I dropped 10 lbs (now 135lbs).

    Eliminating soy lecithin is difficult; however the food is great. The homemade bread (only 6-7 ingredients and lasts longer than store-bought). I use a bread-maker, put it in pans to cook, and cut with electric knife. You can also make great buns with the same recipe. I use Baker’s chocolate bar and recipe inside to make brownies (awesome). I wish that I could find more crackers, but so far Premium saltines brand doesn’t have it. Around 8 months ago, all of the cheese brands started putting soy lecithin in it. I have found that the Kraft Deli cheese doesn’t have it, or so they say. It’s in almost everything, even baby formula!

    My brother was going to have a hair transplant and he decided to try the elimination… It worked and he has a lot of hair now. His wife pulled me aside to tell me that she could not believe how much better his mood was! He is a little annoyed that he has to read all of the ingredients, but he is getting used to using certain products.

    It is my belief that soy lecithin causes a lot more damage to our bodies than the experts realize. If you are having any of the symptoms above, I highly recommend that you try eliminating it, at least for one month!

    I have sent many emails and told many doctors, but it seems that no one pursues this issue. I pray that someone will work to get it out of our food!

    • Be careful its in everything. The joys of going totally soy free is not fun. Everything made by Bayer the aspirin contains soy. Neosporin contains soy, magnesium stearate, a pill filler is made from soy. All my meds are compounded. Most pill casings are made from soy. Mouthwash and toothpaste contain soy. All natural toothpaste now contains soy. Toms toothpaste contains soy. Most of all BBQ sauces contain soy. Smoke flavor is made from soy. The last thing I had to remove, that contain soy in my system, was a root-canal done years before. The filler had soy in it. I’m soy free. But beware it comes at a cost. I cant go into stores, the perfume in the air contains soy, cleaning product contain soy. Comet contains soy. I’m down to bleach and water to clean my home. Everything I eat I make from scratch. vegetables from the market, the wax is soy. If I dont grow it, it gets peeled. Using a knife to cut into a avocado is a bad idea, pushed the wax into the mix. ( Always peel them). I know with a fact what contains soy and what doesn’t. I know who is lying. And who forgets to put it on there labels. 8 seconds it takes to hit me air born and blood contact. 30 min to digest. Air and blood, I can drink water to flush in 2 hours. Food takes 24-36 hours to pass. I’m a living soy detector.

      • Thanks for all the specifics. I am slowly trying to eliminate. And yes it IS in EVERYTHING! Even ‘organic’, ‘natural’, etc. So I usually try to voice my displeasure to the producer!!

      • My son (5) is severely allergic to soy and has been since birth. He also has a digestive disorder and soy is a huge trigger for that as well. I’m wondering if you’ve ever had issues with pool chemicals? My son is having allergic (digestive kind) reactions in my sister pool. No other pool has done this, even public ones so I’m trying to figure out what the chemical is that’s causing this. He’s allergic to dairy to but I’m sure there’s something in there with soy. Like you said, it’s in EVERYTHING!

    • The hair loss could be caused by the estrogenic activity of the lecithin. The lecithin may be increasing estrogenic activity and effectively giving you too much estrogen, or the phytoestrogen in the lecithin may be interfering with your body metabolising your own estrogen.
      Too much or too little estrogen can both affect hair.

      • Wow. I’ve been having hair loss and weight gain problems for several years now. I have sunflower lecithin in my smoothies every day. I will see if eliminating the lecithin helps. That would be amazing!

    • I DID THE SKIN AND BLOOD TEST. Only the skin test showed A bump showing mild SOY allergy. blood was negative. 1 TO 5 Showed a one ALLERGY TO MILK AND CORN. BUMMER. I NOW MAKE Rice milk… one cup of cooked rice BLEND IT WITH 2-3 CUPS OF FILTERED WATER. RICE WITHOUT SALT, WITHOUT OIL. IN BLEND A SPOON OR 2 OF HONEY AND ONE OF VANILLA EXTRACT. CHECK YOUTUBE VIDEO. 3 WEEKS NOW WITHOUT MILK. 2 DAYS ATE CANDY WITH MILK… GOT SOME BACK BUMPS. I BETTER STOP ANY MILK/CHEESE FOR GOOD. I guess soy I’ll avoid to. but even some pills have soy. i’m glad my soy thing is very mild. MY MOTHER EVEN MADE CORNBREAD WITHOUT CORN, LOL. SHE CRUNCHED down rice instead and used it. it tasted same as corn bread with the texture

    • You didn’t just avoid soy lecithin with your diet, you avoided a whole host of other substances. The chances of it being the lecithin exclusively is very slim. The amounts taken in on a normal diet even of unhealthy food is small comparatively speaking.

  10. Products with soy additives such as Soy Lecithin increase estrogen which for young men isn’t the greatest thing. Not only doesn’t bring on lethargy, but it can also cause premature hair loss. Since the food companies seem to now be putting Soy Lecithin in almost all manufactured product this is creating a problem that has yet to be addressed and done something about.

    • The other issue besides Soy being so unhealthy is that the latest research is that emulsifiers seem to contribute to IBDs and possibly diabetes. They are in so many food products that even if you eat relatively healthy prepared food or even some food ingredients you end up eating a lot of gums and soy lecithin.

      It’s not good for us at all.

      • Nyle, When you say “emulsifiers” that is a pretty wide net you are casting. What about sunflower lecithin? This it promoted by Dr. Ben Lynch as a method for delivering phosphatidylcholine and other phospholipids to people who may need it with MTHFR gene mutations.

  11. I recently picked up some non-GMO soy lecithin granules to help to emulsify fat since I don’t digest oils well; unfortunately every time I take it I get terrible stomach cramps and painful gas – I guess soy lecithin doesn’t work for everyone…..

  12. Hello, Could you please tell me if Shaklee supplements are ok? Almos all of the hVe soy lecithin asan ingredient or soy isolate. I have hypothyroidism, and was told to avoid soy. I think shaklee is organic( it should be if not for the price) many of the supplements its the last ingredient. Anyway I would just like to know if its safe in there supplements for my thyroid. Thank you so much!! Rita

  13. I started a course in nutrition and learned about soy lecithin as in to avoid. I have since picked up all my daily products I consume and have found it in everything! It is shocking and sad. It’s in milk, almond milk, coconut milk, organic chocolate just to name a few. What is wrong with out corrupt food industry?! I have set up my marketplace for beauty foods and I test all the products to make sure they are clean. I am trying to use as many beauty foods to swap them for non beauty foods in order to escape additives and preservatives and artificial nasties. I think we need to demand more from the food industry. Hope you are all well!

    • This is what I am running into my daughter and I are both dairy free so in replacement we drink almond milk well there is soy lechithin in them. What milk alternatives can we drink that are actually good for you then?

      • Christa and Kristin, I suggest coconut milk without guar gum in BPA-free cans (Natural Value brand) or a specific brand of almond milk called Califia Farms. It is hands-down the most delicious almond milk I’ve tried. It is in the refrigerated section in a curved bottle. It is dairy and soy-free and made without carrageenan as well. It is expensive, but worth it to me. They make several flavors including a almond-toasted coconut one, and their coffee and seasonal products are dreamy as well! Hope this helps!

        • I was drinking Califa milk but found they use guar gum or one of the gum in it. make sure to look. i have been trying to find a milk alt that doesn’t contain any emulsifiers

          • Calcium and magnesium salts are insoluble in water and will sink to the bottom. Fats are not miscible with water and will float on the surface. No amount of stirring or heating will cause these ingredients to stay together as a mixture. To get these ingredients to stay together you need an emulsifying agent. Therefore, all milks, being mixtures containing calcium & magnesium salts, fats & oils and water must contain natural emulsifies. Lecithin is the most commonly, produced emulsifier by nature in animals and plants. It exists an all milk products from animals, cows, goats, etc., and plants coconuts, soy milk, almond milk.

            I am more concerned about avoiding detergent products such as sulphonated alkylbenze acids, alcohol ethoxylates and their sulhonated salts in foods. These are chemicals I was once involved in manufacturing for use as active ingredients in shampoo, dishwashing and laundry detergent products. They are used in some processed foods as replacement emulsifiers. Lecithin is known as natures detergent. There are some plants which, when beaten in water release enough lecithin to be used to clean body and hair by natives in various parts of the world. When consumed, lecithin can act as a natural cleanser in the body, both in the digestive system and the blood stream.

            The important thing to remember, with lecithin and all other material we consume is an old adage used in the chemical industry. It is also used when teaching Health & Safety training programs to workers for the safe handling of chemicals. “Nothing is poisonous, except in a dose and everything is poisonous in a dose”. Some doses can be accumulative. That is, small amounts over a period of time.

            Another adage to remember is, ” Without data you are only an opinion”. To the best of my knowledge, nobody has established any harmful dosages for lecithin. I think much research needs to be done. Currently we are all only opinions, yours, mine and even Chris Kresser’s.

      • Bliss hemp milk doesn’t contain any of the harmful chemicals that are found in most dairy alternatives. Or make your own non-dairy milk.

      • HI CHRISTA. … Because my blood allergy test showed milk/corn allergy even that is 1 of 5 I NOW MAKE Rice milk… one cup of cooked rice BLEND IT WITH 2-3 CUPS OF FILTERED WATER depending on how watery u want it. I made RICE WITHOUT SALT, WITHOUT OIL. IN BLENDer A SPOON OR 2 OF HONEY AND ONE OF VANILLA EXTRACT. CHECK YOUTUBE VIDEOs. 3 WEEKS NOW WITHOUT MILK no much dif, but 2 DAYS ATE CANDY WITH MILK… GOT SOME BACK BUMPS, lol. I BETTER STOP ANY MILK/CHEESE FOR GOOD. I guess soy I’ll avoid to. but even some pills have soy. i’m glad my soy thing is very mild. MY MOTHER EVEN MADE CORNBREAD WITHOUT CORN, LOL. SHE CRUNCHED down rice instead and used it. it tasted same as corn bread with the texture. WANNA KNOW how I stopped my heartburn???> BOIL the 99 cents parsley leafs from supermarket in one litter of water. i started drinking one glass in the morning. ACID REFLUX GONE. 10 days now. now i drink half a cup only every 3 days. well, last today is sunday and last time i drank it was thursday and still ok. i will drink tomorrow even that im still ok. i’ll eventually go to quarter cup. lol. ACID REFLUX PILLS have severe damages including osteoporosis. NO MORE.

  14. Hi there. I have started taking a supplement which contains Soy Lecithin (98 percent oil free) 2000 mg. Breast cancer runs in the family (not a lot, one person, my mother) so this concerns me.
    Does the oil free part make it ok?

    Thank you.

    • Just wanted to comment on the cancer concerns and to write all those who find their way to these helpful comments from everyone. First, people with cancer are almost always found to have low Vitamin C and D levels as well as other deficiencies. All of us trying to do the best and often find it to be very difficult to find and consume only health foods. The problems with so many food poisons are definitely engineered this way on purpose. After all, the biggest food producer also owns and profits when people need their drugs. It shouldn’t even be legal for food producers to own pharma companies. With this in mind, I urge you all to read Thomas Levy’s books (also video Y-tube, the books are more detailed and worth their price in gold) on how high doses (IV levels) of Vitamin C can be used to otherwise consume toxins out of the body and how most major diseases leading to death occur when we lack sufficient Vitamin C. A person who eventually dies from any disease… is often actually dying of scurvy. Ebola bleeding of the mouth is scurvy. Toxins, cancers, snake bites poisons, viruses, infection are all cancelled out by Vitamin C; while also being helped by other sources of nutrition. Vitamin D (including high doses) also play an important part by you shouldn’t take D without K2 which is why you should first read about Vit D, calcium and k2 balancing . Another Dr published book talks of how he took high doses of D; helping rid a host of chronic problems. I’ve taken the time to read on these and have improved my own health. after being chronically ill for what seems a long time. I’ve learned things that all of you should know before you are too old to help yourselves in the same ways. Take the time to study nutritional supplementing because its so important today. Truth is..none of us are getting the right levels of nutrition because of the way food is grown – to no longer include it. Some of these GMO’s are made to ensure your body can’t even process food containing higher nutritional value. When the intestines don’t have the enzymes, things don’t get adsorbed as they should. Calcium can become deadly (builds up in the blood – clogging your system) if not balanced with K2 and or magnesium and yet no one ever educates students of these life critical truths in 12 years of schooling – health classes. I believe even this is intentional. I am convinced that all of us should be offsetting exposure to environmental/food toxins with very high doses (much higher than recommended) doses of C, D, K2 and iodine) at a minimum, as well as giving attention to enzymes and overall digestion (such as no gum chewing because it uses them up) . It is no coincidence iodine was removed from bread conditioners (replaced by poisonous bromine which is toxic to thyroid function- making most breads toxic). This happened in the early 70s; just as synthetic thyroid was developed and put on the market. As a result, today 1 in 10 people take it this medication; not realizing the true cause of their problems. Chlorine, bromine (from most breads) and fluorine all consume iodine which is an essential element to thyroid, health, immune system function, sleep cycles, pituitary gland etc. If you look up old newspapers, you can read articles from doctors in the 30s who would write articles to local papers. They sought to to inform the public what the symptoms of iodine deficiency were. That chronic fatigue, lack of motivation, constant bad mood, poor sleep, cold hands &feet and many other similar symptoms all demonstrated severe iodine deficiency. Their lives were totally turned around (transformed) by taking iodine supplementation. This says a lot because doctors today are wrongly (educated by big pharma) told -that salt gives us all sufficient levels and that this negates the need for us to test for the need to supplement. However, If you ask iodine experts, they all say without question that 90-95% of the population is deficient in iodine with exception of those who eat seaweed & seafoods very regularly. If you want to stay healthy, develope a good non-gmo supplement program. It’s very possible that high levels of Vit C in your system can cancel out these toxins – such as soy lecithin and even stop or delay a heat attack. Coincidentally, there has never been a max dosage of C in IV form found to be deadly. A great doctor from Oregon (Linus Pauling) tried to bring this information forward in the later 1980s. He had spent years confirming by his research the many benefits of Vitamin C and compiling his and research of others. He was wrongly discredited by doctors who were paid by big pharma. His original articles that brought forward his claims were challenged by dishonest Pharma drs. who lied and made misleading claims in the same Medical journals. Pauling immediately sought to counter these allegations but pharma made sure that AMA journal and others would not publish his rebuttal of their claims. This control that dishonest money has on our system is why USA has the 49th lowest life expectancy. Thank our corrupt system. Here is a reference to the Pauling Institute website which also has a lot of good info.

  15. I was told to avoid soy by my oncologist. I wanted to buy a protein drink but it has soy in it. Mostly everything I want to buy has soy. How dangerous is soy for a cancer survivor?

    • The problem isn’t the soy, it is the processed nature of the product. If you get organic soy-made products, the link to such things is moot.

    • I am a breast cancer survivor. My oncologist told me I’d have to make my own mind up regarding soy. Being that my particular brand of cancer was directly related to my estrogen levels (in layman’s terms, my cancer used estrogen for it’s “food” to grow), I avoid soy. I, too, would get very bad pseudo menstral cramps whenever I ingested any soy products. I even had to switch my brand of multivitamins because the soy lecithin in the vitamin would trigger my cramping. This is just my personal experience, but I feel that any potential benefits DO NOT out way the hazards regarding soy & cancer.

  16. Hi Chris,

    I was thinking of buying Alpha GPC choline but do not want the soy lecithin that it is made from. Do you know an Alpha GPC choline that is made from sunflowers? I would like to enhance my acetylcholine production to help with me sexually. I am male, 57. Does sunflower lecithin produce acetylcholine significantly?

    Thank you very much


  17. I was diagnosed with CLL two years ago. I am still at O, it is not progressing so far. I started taking soy lecithin for short term memory loss. I am 77. My question is will soy lecithin trigger my blood cancer into high gear?

    • Yes. Consuming any soy isoflavones, disrupts endocrine activity, which in turn may have a carcinogenic affect. Also it will raise your estrogen levels with 100% efficacy.

      • I avoid non fermented soy foods but in supplements phosphatidyl choline has very little flavones and really isn’t an issue

      • Joe – That is a really dangerous thing to tell someone. Especially if you are not a doctor. That’s between her and her healthcare provider to determine.

        Ruth – There are alternatives to soy lecithin. NOW makes sunflower lecithin, and there is a Nature’s Plus Egg Yolk Lecithin. Still check with your doctor before taking any supplements.

  18. Hi all. I have read through a lot of the comments but not all. It seems pretty clear that very many people have serious problems with soy full stop, and I think we need to be honey with ourselves as a race and say that ultimately it should be banne on this earth and not to seek to justify its use ever if there is any alternative, as a matter I principle even if we have no personal reaction to it.

    However, I am flabbergasted to not have found ONE single mention here, especially by Chris Kresser (although I may have missed it) to sunflower lecithin, which has to be far superior and causing no problems for virtually all people.

    Again I may have missed it but it should not be hard at all to find at leat one reference to it, certainly in Kressers main article itself.
    Am I missing something here?

    • Mention was made in the third paragraph of the article: “…lecithin is most often derived from sunflower kernels…”.

      • Most lecithin used in scientific testing yes. Then the food companies piggy back off this information that people blindly misinterpret and just assume that if lecithin is good; Soy lecithin must be too.

        If you do a bit more research outside of government moderated websites and this one; you will find a whole lot of eye opening information to do with this harmful additive.

        There is no business in soy lecithin being inside our consumables other than the fact it lines the pockets of the companies which are spending much less money on purchasing this, over more of the whole food ingredients.

        Like Chris says, keep things in perspective. Just ask why. Why does something with such little good benefit, and such large defects, be so widely produced and used? Because soy is one of the cheapest and economic crops to run. No other crop would yield such a result.

        And if you want to look at it from a different perspective all together; thousands of soy farmers now, India especially, are taking their own lives due to crop failure from the failure brought about by the toxic waste sprayed, injected and genetically modified. Another thing to consider is that, if you want to continue being a farmer in some situations, you need to buy a Monsanto GM seed to continue growing.

        Think of nature too which is being affected. Once a grass eating animal, is now fed soy and other grains, which fattens then twice as fast and matures them significantly quicker too. And in turn more and more soy is needed to be planted and harvested, in which forests are being destroyed in order to achieve this.

        • I Think it should be removed from all our foods that we consume. I have had breast cancer twice, and this last time, it came because I was not aware of what soy does to your body, and I was drinking soy milk almost on a daily basis. I now read all ingredients on many food packages, and try to eat only fresh as everything is made with soy. KRAFT, PROCTOR & GAMBLE, HEINZ and all the other food manufacturing are aware that it is not good for consumption, but its all about money.

    • How many people are you saying have problems with it? I don’t know a single person who has problems with soy, but only either drinks it because they do, or avoids it because they heard through big media that it was bad for them.

        • I think he is just stating that it is very rare really. I am 40 and never heard of it till my daughter had soy sensativities! But now I guess I know two people.

      • I have recently found out I have a soy allergy and it is life changing the things you can’t have anymore. You would be very surprised at how many people have this allergy it is becoming a very large number.

  19. Good! I want it to alter my estrogen metabolism. Since I started eating soy and other foods high in phytoestrogens my hormonal cystic acne is gone and my cellulite has greatly reduced. I hardly have any cellulite now. It keeps improving. It was REALLY bad before so was my acne. I do believe the people that keep saying how bad soy and phytoestrogens are for us, don’t really know what the heck they’re talking about.

    • Soybeans contain isoflavones, which are chemically similar to estrogens. Soybeans are a complete protein source and a dietary staple in many cultures. Soy contains phytoestrogens called isoflavones that may mimic the activity of the hormone estrogen in your body.
      Your body was producing to much test testosterone if you a woman this is bad but if your a guy eating soy products because your slowly turning yourself in to an emotional re


    • Crazily enough – since I cut out soy my cystic acne is gone. Just goes to show that women are not one size fits all.

    • Your improvements may be because of improved cell membrane function or better metabolising of fat, or other effects lecithin can have.

  20. Sadly we can’t escape all toxins and additives in food but like me I have over active Candida and about 8 months ago I stopped all processed foods and refused to eat anything like that. It makes my job way harder I had to eat foods I didn’t like but have grown now to love all to rid myself of Yeast in foods and foods that cause Mold in our guys you will be surprised on how many do that once you have this disorder. Even allowed the sugar I can have..I still have flare ups and haven’t been able to get that totally under control yet. But here is a brain thought for you.

    Why is it that some people can have kids and others can’t? When you are born boys have sperm and girls also have eggs..but for some reason when they hit age 25+ for some reason they can’t have kids. They have no eggs or something has just happened to change all that. I totally believe it is a additive that they are putting in the food. Much like the military did with putting stuff in the men’s water to stop them from the urges to have sex. I don’t know about you but I believe it is a part of what they call population control. Also the theory of us being lab rats without consent is another thing I believe is happening. Thanks for the information you did a great job giving us the facts and I appreciate your time doing so. 🙂

    • I used to have candida about 10 years ago. Besides what you took away from your diet you should drink kefir. Stuff brought me back to normal. Also just an FYI, I had my child at the age of 33 which is well over 25 and I see a lot more women having kids older. Not sure why you see a decline.

    • Lecithin can possibly be toxic for those who consume large amounts of ‘foods’ in which lecithin is used as part of an artificial product.
      Lecithin is a healful addition to a diet that is devoid of processed and ‘preserved’ foods.
      If one is not consuming these poisonous creations, it can be beneficial in the right (not huge!) quantities and from the right sources.

  21. I am recovering from estrogen-based breast cancer and my breast cancer surgeon told me to get rid of everything that has soy since it is a Phytoestrogen and creates estrogen. Plus I have to take estrogen-blockers for the next 5-10 years to keep the estrogen from coming back. When she told me to throw out everything with soy, I had no idea how much soy is in all of our food, hair and skin products, not to mention pet foods. Estrogen is now being linked to prostate cancer. Since 9 out of 10 men/and women who get breast cancer, never had it in their family like me, then it strongly proves a lot of our diseases are coming from the food we eat. Go through your cupboards and you will be surprised, actually frightened. Soy is one of the top 8 allergens but it is more than just an allergy it can cause loss of life if not caught in time.

      • I also had a bad reaction when I ate eggs. But I just bought a new chocolate chip that used sunflower lecithin instead of soy and I noticed I was still having my usual soy reaction. I was wondering if it was the lecithin I was reacting to. Have you ever noticed this?

        • Because I have had cancer (12 years ago now and I did take estrogen before that), and more recently had two years of eczema, I had chemical patch testing done. The results were an allergy to “Nickel”. I didn’t know there was nickel in foods. Robin, the 3 foods you just mentioned above have nickel in them. Soy oil, sunflower oils, chocolate. There is a while list of foods. I’m finally getting my rash under control. I don’t sweat the small doses, but do cut out foods high in nickel. Still doing a lot of research though.

  22. Hi,

    I’m so stressed and wondering if someone could offer some helpful advice or opinions. So, my naturopathic dr wants to put me on Phosphatidyl Choline for a genetic disease(MTHFR). We finally find a bovine free capsule one and it’s a very reputable brand(PhosChol) by Nutrasal pharmaceutical grade. The company goes into how their product is non gmo, but gives a three page letter on how almost all soybeans they start with are gmo but it’s only the protein part that’s gmo. They say that part is removed, extracted and only the purest lipids are used. The product is tested by several third party labs, nanograms of DNA are extracted from the product sample, cleaned, treated with the reagents necessary and amplified over 50 cycles. They say to date from 1997 to current no gmo is detected in the final product. My naturo doesn’t want me to take Phosphatidyl derived from sunflower lecithin, he feels it doesn’t have the scientific evidence it helps. What is one to do???? I’m so on the fence and have no idea what to do.:(

  23. I wanted to share the amazing results I have found with LDA Allergy (Low Dose Allergens/Immunotherapy) treatments. I had severe allergies to many foods/chemicals- off the charts for Soy on my Cyrex 10 tests (sever eczema as well). I have retested after my final round of shots last month (every 2 months for 12 months) and have very few allergies now! After the 2nd shot I no longer had signs of eczema, inability to swallow, acid reflux, etc.) and after the 4th shot I felt like a new person I’m able to eat most of my allergic foods now and have no side effects. I traveled to Dr Shrader- Santa Fe, NM for my shots but I know his website recommends the approved Dr’s accross the country that offer his therapy.

    • I am hypothyoridic also and just discovered how much Iodine helps! And due to farming processes and it being taken out of bread and milk, almost everybody is way deficient. The RDA is 150mcg when in fact we need as much as 100x that. Read Dr. David Brownstein’s “Overcoming thyroid Disorders” to find out much more easy to understand and follow information. And yes, I was wondering about soy lecithin affecting my thyroid. So thanks for clearing that up.

  24. Interesting. My 5yo son has an allergy to legumes. Soy is a huge trigger food. It’s nearly impossible to find foods that don’t contain soy lecithin. He just started Kindergarten and wants to do everything all the other kids do. So, when someone brings cupcakes to celebrate a birthday, he can’t have any. It makes him feel different.
    He gets severe eczema when ingesting legumes. His entire infancy, he was covered head to toe in massive crusty rashes. he even got a few staph infections from scratching. They wouldn’t test him until he was 18 months…that was life changing. Now I know and monitor his consumption and treat when necessary. He still has a perpetual itch, but it’s much more controlled now that we know the triggers.
    I wanted to read on this (soy lecithin) because his teacher asked me to bring a “packaged” treat for him to have when there are birthday treat brought in by other kids. I couldn’t find anything, as I expected. So I picked a cookie that had soy lecithin as an ingredient near the bottom of the list and told her he could only have 2 on seldom occasion.

    I didn’t realize how many people have a soy allergy. My son also has the same reaction from beans, peas, peanuts, etc.

    • I wanted to share the amazing results I have found with LDA Allergy (Low Dose Allergens/Immunotherapy) treatments. I had severe allergies to many foods/chemicals- off the charts for Soy on my Cyrex 10 tests (sever eczema as well). I have retested after my final round of shots last month (every 2 months for 12 months) and have very few allergies now! After the 2nd shot I no longer had signs of eczema, inability to swallow, acid reflux, etc.) and after the 4th shot I felt like a new person I’m able to eat most of my allergic foods now and have no side effects. I traveled to Dr Shrader for my shots but I know his website recommends the approved Dr’s accross the country that offer his therapy. Good luck!

    • Why would the teacher request that of a highly allergic child? Screw her and make your own treat for your child. You can build his confidence about himself in general so that he doesn’t see eating a different treat as any reflection on who he is at all I’ve seen children who have diabetes and have to have insulin shots at school but are happy and confident within themselves. You are an amazing mum! Best luck to both of you!

  25. For those who have a soy lecithin allergy, could you share your symptoms? I have been avoiding it for years because every time I eat something containing it (bread, cheeses, chocolate, etc) I develop a severe sinus infection within hours. But occasionally I would still get them in spite of avoiding those products. And I could have organic soy with no reaction. I recently learned that hexane seems to be the culprit. I cut out canola oil, margarine, and a few other products with commonly high hexane carryover and it has eliminated the sinus infections, except for the occasional slip up. But it means pretty much only eating foods I’ve prepared myself. :/

    • My body is so sensitive to soy that I will know by the best morning, at the latest, if I have consumed something with soy in it the night before. Signs of puffiness and inflammation but the Big Tell for me- bluntly- my breasts become huge & hard & it can become quite painful. It is noticeable to people around me. It can be a few days for it to all go down. Sometimes a mild headache but it is more the swelling – I hate it. It has turned grocery shopping into a chore. Even Whole Foods can be a 2 hour event. Mom’s is the easiest of all the grocery stores for me to find the biggest variety. I have lists of company names & products- but not all companies avoid soy in all their products, so you can’t assume and have to read the labels. Hope this helps.

    • When I have reacted to soy lecithin I have had the same reaction I have when I have soy protein, hoarseness, throat closing, and slightly labored breathing (I do have allergic asthma). From what I’ve seen and read the response can be different for different people or even from one reaction to another for the same person.

      • Hi, did you ever consider that the allergic asthma you have is caused from wheat or gluten. I found out I have that purely by removing wheat and gluten from my diet. I also found out other proteins have a similar effect., Perhaps the type of protein in the soy has a similar effect on you

  26. Great article. Really breaks it down without being alarmist or pseudo-sciency. Only issue is the comparison of gluten ppm to soy ppm. Allergens take different ppm to trigger reactions and that is dependent on the person with the allergy. The only way to know if soy lecithin is ok you have a soy allergy, is to try it, probably multiple times.

    • Yes Karen, and from what I understand from the Allergist I took my son to years ago, you may not react to the offending food every time. It depends on what state your body is in and how much you already have of the allergen. So there is a threshold affect. Not easy to calculate and could be dangerous if you have a severe and immediate reaction! In my opinion, throat closing, is getting close to dangerous!

  27. For the last 10 years I have experiences a roaming itchiness that comes and goes and now is more here than not. I have tried an elimination diet so I can test foods but after 3-4 weeks I still have the itching. My current diet contains bananas, coconut milk, apples, grapes, rice syrup, coconut (shredded unsweetened), caffeine free herbal teas, water, chicken breast, veggies (except tomato, peppers, eggplant, white potatoes), tuna (in olive oil, no soy), avocado, cucumbers, olives, baking powder biscuits (no gluten, eggs, dairy). I have eliminated tylenol and ibuprofen even after dental surgery as I heard they can cause itching. I have eliminated beauty and cleaning products with sodium laureate sulfate. I am elminating products with soy lecithin. I am beginning to wonder if maybe I am looking at a chemical and wondering what chemicals in beauty/hygiene (I don’t wear makeup) and cleaning products could be producing the problem. Any particular chemicals I should check out/watch out for?

    • Yes. I get horrible itches from my laundry detergent. Try using All free and clear. Works wonders. Everything that contains processed soy has been rooted out of my life. I finally feel normal.

      • Tide free and clear and Kirkland free and clear work for me as well. I personally can’t use All free and clear but its worth trying. Some people can only use Norwex laundry detergent.

    • Canned tuna contains high levels of mercury. When I eat it my face turns red and hot and my ear will swell up. Also, if you’re not eating organic grapes, apples and chicken will contain high levels of toxins. I find that store bought strawberries make me break out but garden fresh ones won’t. A single GMO peanut will make my ears swell up and turn purple but a jar of non GMO peanut butter, no reaction. I have to avoid dairy because of arthritis, unless its grass fed and hormone/antibiotic free. I also highly recommend dandelion tea for any auto immune syndromes. Its my hero plant and has helped me with everything from arthritis to hypoglycemia. Hope this helps.

    • It may be the coconut. I would try using only All free and clear and no fabric softener or dryer sheets. They make us itch to death. Also, try only using cetaphil body wash. I used to itch every night all night and it is much better now since I switched to no fragrance products

    • I am an allergy queen, as I suffered immensely as a child and have had myriad treatments. I have done a lot of reading and trying things out over many years: I am almost 60 years old and have allergic daughters, though, not a severe as I.
      BIG ALLERGEN FOODS: ACIDS. I find that I cannot have anything fermented like soy sauce or wine or vinegar. I do not eat eggplant, tomato or green pepper. No tropical fruits. No citrus. ( I am healthy: I take high quality vitamins and mineral and a daily broad spectrum probiotic).
      If I have milk product, they not only cause gastro pain, etc. I break out severely between fingers a day later. I can have a bit of dairy in baking, etc. but that is it.
      This makes dining out difficult. I usually have to have grilled protein and salad with oil only on the side.
      Try cutting out these foods for a month, and see what happens. Read up on ‘leaky gut syndrome’.
      Egg whites, if you are sure you are not allergic
      Yams – so neutral
      Cooked apples
      Chicken soup: Jewish pennecillin
      Grilled meat
      Chick peas
      Cooked green beans, green peas, spinach
      whole grain bread or cereal, if you are not allergic
      rice milk as a super mild substitute for milk, tho less nutritious than almond or soy. These can be irritants.
      GOOD LUCK!!
      CHEMICAL IRRITANTS: In flavored seltzer, for example. Avoid

      • Have you tried a liver detox? when the liver is overloaded with toxins or is unable to process them effectively the first signs would be allergies not just to foods but also to environmental toxins. Best of luck

      • Consider pears. They are absolute lowest on the allergen scale for fruit. It’s practially the only fruit I can eat except for some yellow colored apples. But you have to peel the pears and make sure they are ripe. Find out about salicylates, oxcylates and amines.

    • Not to alarm you, but I’ve just been reading about certain cancers and how itching is a symptom because the body (especially with the liver) is accumulating toxins. Please have yourself checked out medically for your continuing issue.

    • I had that same itchiness, But I found by putting a water filter on my shower it went away, remove filter & it comes back within 2 weeks. Tried it numerous times. Also use 7th Generation for washing clothes, but I’m sure any (real)”Natural” type of soap is an advantage.

    • Beware of avacods. I had eaten them all my life and at age 53 ended up in the hosital emergency room with hives covering most of my body. Dr. said that I had developed sensitivity/allergy to avacodas. They are in the same family as rubber, latex, banana, allergies. I am also allergic to soy.

      • Be careful eat eating them. I get sick from them if I use a knife. They have so much soy wax on them. Pealing them have kept the soy out of the mix


    • In response, I was prompted to this article while researching soy lecithin. I started doing so as a result of reading the ingredient list on my morning tea bag. Surprisingly, it shows up there too. While it takes an exorbitant amount of time to shop, reading labels is the only way to sure when purchasing processed food. When someone has severe allergies, like our kids, even ppm can be deadly. Keep up the battle. And good luck

    • Hi. I have found out that it is yeast that makes me itch!
      Many items have hidden yeast… Grapes, stock cubes. Yogurt etc.
      I really recommend you try going strictly yeast free.

    • Dysbiosis (a balance of unhealthy gut flora) can cause itching. Yeast overgrowth in the digestive system from lack of healthy bacteria (probiotics) and too many carbohydrates in the diet is often the reason.
      A lack of calcium can also cause itchy skin.

      • Marina, I know from personal experience that too much calcium can cause itching. I read about it and made the connection then dialed back the calcium and that took care of the itching.

    • I am allergic to nickel and it’s in everything but mostly chocolate, canned foods, whole grains and certain leafy vegetables like broccoli more than others. The websites disagree on which foods carry more nickel, and it depends on the soil they are grown in (which is annoying to no end), but if you have random contact dermatitis it could be cheap jewelry, drinks and food from a can or certain offending foods with nickel.

      If you are pregnant or breastfeeding it’s worse, especially if you are low in iron. The body absorbs nickel along with iron so eating a iron-rich diet can help and vitamin C also helps some people.

      • Thanks Paige – I have been wondering about nickel. A few years ago I discovered I am sensitive to nickel because of problems with my pierced ears and then started having trouble with canned foods. This one took a while to figure out. I haven’t gotten as far as you have, so the tips on chocolate, leafy greens, and whole grains are good to know. I came to this site thinking I was beginning to have problems with soy lecithin, and it actually might be the chocolate itself due to nickel.

        • Nickel is a trace mineral and it is found in literally everything natural, it can’t be avoided.
          I am also sensitive so I make sure my towel racks don’t have nickel and I use metal free dentistry but I don’t avoid certain foods because it’s impossible to avoid.

    • I was eliminating foods like you are and still having reactions. Finally I went to an allergist and did a scratch test and found out I was allergic to a lot of the healthy foods I was still eating daily like apples, grapes, spinach, blueberries, cucumbers and tomatoes. Imagine my surprise.

  28. Processed soy make me sick. short term memory loss, Brain fog and horrible panic attacks. Until just last year I thought I was dieing out of the 6 years of being miserable. All my food I eat I have to ask about soy. Most medicines contain soy. I have to have all mine made at a compounding facility. I cant use most band aids, Neosporin contains soy. All Advil products contain soy. I feel like I live in a third world country. US born. I’m almost afraid to leave my home. If I eat anything containing soy lecithin, my body shuts down until it passes through my system witch takes 24-36 hours unless I take a laxative. I became soy intolerant because I ate to much of it. I lived off of fast food for 10 years. Now I cant even touch it. I cant touch anything with soy or I risk the horrible side effects.

    • I got on here to read about this because my 2 year old daughter has horrible food allergies. It is scary and exhausting and so discouraging. I still give her cereal in her bottle because she wakes at night and it pacifiers her but I was just realizing that it has soy lecithin. She has lost almost All speech. She was saying everything at 18 months, counting along with us, saying the alphabet with us, etc. she would chime in and finish what we were doing. Now she can’t hardly say anything. Her hearing has been an issue apparently. She had fluid and we just got tubes, but I’m also worried about if anything else is going on with her food sensitive being so bad. I’m cutting the cereal out for sure. I hope it helps her.

      • To MLEE: Your daughter is having a serious intolerance reaction to food that she is going backwards in her development. You need to do an elimination diet and keep a diary to see what’s going on with her. She probably needs dairy, soy, wheat and eggs removed for at least a month. Find a Pediatrician who is not mainstream. Meaning a functional medicine or intervention medicine Pediatrician who will walk you through getting her healthy. Maybe do some IGE and IGG testing to see what she might be allergic and sensitive to. Yeah, and the cereal in the bottle has got to go. Hope this helps! My children had a lot of issues and it wasn’t until i started keeping a diary, eliminating foods and then finally going to the right Pediatrician and did testing that we got to the bottom of the issue.

      • So please please see a developmental pediatrician AND call your local Child find esp. if you daughter is regressing. 2 is a great age where interventions can do a lot of good. Allergies can aggravate developmental issues but they are rarely the only thing going on. If hearing is an issue, that should also be addressed without delay because that alone can cause developmental delays at that age.

        • I second the motion on the Gerson diet. Dr Gerson eliminated massive migranes that started during his med school training by starting from scratch with apples only, then adding other items like carrots, all organic foods only. As a result, he found that the diet he created eliminated almost all chronic and simple diseases, including TB, migraines, Type 2 Diabetes, and today his clinic and others that follow the diet strictly have even eliminated terminal cancer. It’s very simple. Make the body healthy, and the diseases go away. The bodies immune system, if made healthy, is designed to cure itself. Don’t believe me, research Charlotte Gerson for yourself, and for your daughter. start now

      • MLEE, regression and loss of previously attained skills are symptoms of iatrogenic vaccine injury. There are holistic doctors who specialize in treating these injuries. Probiotics can help heal the entire body. Best of luck.

      • She’s so young for such symptoms… Maybe think about taking her to an alternative doctor… a healer such as an acupuncturist who is a Practitioner of Oriental Medicine. They can help her……the practitioner can help to get to the root of her symptoms, otherwise she’ll have a life of chasing symptoms, taking pills and and a battery of tests… just a thought!

      • You can have a hair analysis done on her and this may help to find her intolerances or allergies…it sounds like you might not want to wait to long, as her body is telling you that something is out of balance and her cognitive skills are being challenged! …. find someone who can help you to understand just what can help your child. All doctors are not created equal…

    • Hello John,
      May I make a suggestion?
      From the severe symptoms you’ve described it sounds like soy has now become an actual poison to your body.
      When you find you have accidently ingested soy, have you thought of treating yourself the way a hospital would?
      For decades hospitals have treated poisonings with activated charcoal.
      Activated charcoal adsorbs toxins (not absorbs) right out of your system and its saved many a life. Its totally non-toxic and so safe you can brush your teeth with it.
      Its cheap and available at most all drug stores, health food stores, Amazon, even WalMart, in both caps and powder.
      If its allowed, here’s an informative link from BulletProofExec explaining how he and his family use it. You might shorten
      your recovery time by trying it too… http://www.bulletproofexec.com/the-strangest-way-to-detox/

      • Its funny you should suggest that. The covering of the pills contain soy. Most pill coverings contain soy products, 95% of all products out there contain soy. I’m Soy free. When I digest it, laxative are the best solution, in its self most laxatives contain soy. I just deal with the issue until it passes through my system. Unless its compounded I cannot and will not take it. I cannot take most Antibiotics, the pills contain soy. Unless it can be compounded there is no use in me taking it. I’m living in a foreign country. I live in Texas, might as well live on a small Island. I have very few foods I can eat. Even the ones from the grocery store have a soy covering. Unless I start going my own foods, I will never enjoy a good apple any time soon.

  29. I have Neurofibromatosis. It causes tumors to grow anywhere there are nerves. Soy can mimic estrogen which feeds tumor growth, so I try and avoid it.

  30. I have been avoiding soy recently to decrease acne/skin inflammation. I also started taking a turmeric supplement for anti-inflammatory purposes.
    However, I’ve noticed soy lecithin and one of the “other ingredients” in these capsules. Would you recommend NOT taking these? Or would the turmeric/proprietary anti-inflammatory blend help negate the proposed acne-triggering effects of soy?

    • Hello.. Regarding taking turmeric.. The pills are expensive and much less effective than making your own paste and making golden milk or put it in a smoothie or something. Turmeric is AWESOME and helps so many different things.
      Look up “Golden milk” in “the mind unleashed” site. Or turmeric user group in Facebook..

    • @Anne, I buy fresh organic turmeric rhizomes from the grocery and use them for tea, broth, etc. Before I found those I just used the organic powdered form in the spice section. Stay away from supplement form if you can

  31. I have hypothyroid disease and generally avoid soy because of the disease. How is this different then the soy that is in food that I avoid. If my multi-vitamin has soy lecithin in it should I also avoid that multi-vitamin since I avoid most of the soy I find in ingredients for my food? Thanks just curious.

    • I, too, have hypothyroidism (autoimmune) and I would like to know the answer to this, as well. I have read that there are many benefits from taking lecithin supplements but, from this article, it sounds like choline is actually doing the body good.

      I am going to research choline, but would still like Chris’ opinion.

  32. I’ve recently learned that my 7 year struggle with head pain is not actually an allergy to soy lecithin (I only reacted to soy lecithin, not whole soy). It’s a Hexane sensitivity and apparently soy lecithin retains higher quantities of Hexane from processing than other substances. AND it’s not required to be listed as an ingredient. 😛
    If you are looking into finding the source of certain symptoms, and have issues with chocolate, it’s worth googling Hexane sensitivity. My biggest symptom was severe sinus inflammation which were so severe that we believed to be migraines for the first few years.

    • For severe chronic sinus problems, read up on serrapeptase. I just recently started taking it so its too soon to tell but the information looks promising!

      • Chronic sinus problems are also linked to dairy and gluten sensitivity. Try eliminating both of these for a month and see if there is an improvement. If either are the culprit it will take this long to find relief with a strict diet excluding both.

        • Absolutely correct Naomi.
          I’m 61 years old and suffered from the following for over 45 years:
          1) Glue ear (excessive ear wax)
          2) Strep throat once or even twice a year
          3) Constipation
          4) Foul smelling gas – I could clear a room of people.
          5) Sinus congestion
          6) Ear infections one or more time a year
          7) Dry skin
          8) Dark circles under eyes
          9) Restless sleep
          10) Afternoon fatigue
          11) Blurry vision’
          12) Brain fog
          13) Low libido
          14) Bad breath
          15) Headaches
          and the list could go on.

          All the above stopped when I found out I have a Gluten Intolerance problem.
          Went 100% Gluten Free and after the first 30 days, all the above problems started to fade away.

          Been GF for over 4 years and have never been sick since then. Have more energy, including sexual, then I did in my 20/s and 30’s

          As for diary,Ive known the dangers of consuming that since I was a kid. Our Doctor when I was little told my Mom to keep it away from us. We’re not baby calf’s so there is no reason for us to eat it

          Christee, go Gluten and Dairy free for 30 days and see how you feel. Allergies will go away.

        • Casein in milk causes blocked sinuses. Those intolerant will find the symptoms pronounced if they supplement with Micellar Casien as found in protein shakes used by fitness enthusiasts. Similar reactions to other cassienates found in these shakes. A few days off it and the blocked noses clear up.

  33. Soy lecithin is a compound produced from soybean oil. Soy lecithin supplements may help decrease the symptoms of certain medical conditions and are often marketed commercially as a weight-loss aid. However, there is little reputable scientific evidence to indicate that using soy lecithin regularly has any beneficial effect on weight. Talk to your doctor about the possible drawbacks of making soy lecithin a part of your weight-management regimen and about other lifestyle changes that can contribute to enhanced health and sustainable weight loss.

  34. Taking 2400 mg (2 pills) with each meal along with Vitamin E and Omega-3 has been a miracle at disintegrating gall stones over the course of a couple months. So glad to have avoided gall bladder surgery.

    • Am really interested in Frank’s comments re getting rid of gallstones with soy lecithin tablets. Please tell me if you take organic tablets, and what make? Thank you.

  35. I use a weightloss product that it mainly soy/protein based. I would like to know, if it is chemicals, mostly vitamins or is the soy organic. The product is MediFast.

  36. I am soy allergic and I have had reactions to both spy oil and Soy Lecithin. Just this past week another one to Soy Lecithin in a bread that did not have it before but they now they added it to the bread recently. Had a reaction a few months back when someone use a can of supposed canola oil spray and yup they also had started adding Soy Lecithin to it as well I get fairly severe reactions so all these manufactures using Soy Lecithin in everything they make is a real issue for me and others with severe Soy Allergies. FDA makes them put Soy on the package because there are more & more of us having these bad reactions.

  37. Would you recommend a person with a history of thyroid disorder (particularly thyroid nodules) stay away from daily supplements that may contain soy lecithin?

  38. Thanks for the run down. I have an allergy to soy, such as tofu, edamame, soy milk. I have many other allergies and I know it depends on the amount and form of proteins – I have a severe reaction to some things raw, but once they are cooked beyond recognition I can tolerate them. Same with soy lectithin, it usually doesn’t cause a problem.

    • In about 2.5 million years evolution of modern men, we have been “civilized” and grown our own food for less than 10,000 years. So for almost 99.996% of the time we have been on this earth, we have lived and eaten as cave-people. Naturally, our biology and chemistry is more tuned to “cave-men” way of living.

      • This is untrue. Human lives longer as more and more caveman behaviors/traditions being abandoned. For the 99.996% of the time human live on the earth, average human only had life expectancy less than 30. Our body struggle to survive in nature because the nature is not specifically designed for us.

        • Better stats when comparing longevity, whether it be between our ancient brethren and us or across the last century (1015 years) is to compare adult death rates, not general populations that include infants and the young.

          Childhood illness, accidents etc., skew the stats. Adult comparison from age 20 gives about the best comparisons of longevity across the ages.

          Using this measure, our grandparents actually did very well compared to us (death rates 1900 and now). Cancer rates and heart disease in the adult set were very uncommon until the 1930s when they began to rise dramatically, due to denuding of grains in processing another factors (chemicals for one); today, both heart disease and cancer rates are skyrocketing and a decline in longevity is happening. The real boost in the last century to longevity were modern cleanliness, antibiotics and work related laws.

          Similarly, our adult ancient adult brethren did very well in this measure.

          Remember, survival depends on knowledge from the older generations, a vital link to past dangers. If few lived beyond age 30, it is unlikely our species would have survived.
          Namaste and care,

          • Sorry: “Better stats when comparing longevity, whether it be between our ancient brethren and us or across the last century (115 years) . . .

        • Well, nature was made for us to enjoy! Its as simple as Adam n Eve who sinned and did not listen to God. Since then we all are born with sin and it has its effects on the mind(evil people putting chemicals in our foods), as well as sins effect on the physical body(sickness and age of dying). It comes down to your free will God gave you and how you use it. So those in the food industry who insist on changing things because they “think” they are creating a better crop, they will answer to God on judgement day! Believe what u want to believe, everyone has free speech, you said ur point of view about nature n man, n here is mine. As with every thing in this type of debate, you canʻt argue with truth, take or leave it, its your choice and free will. Have a good day.!

      • It is untrue because the Bible lets us know that Adam and Eve lived no longer then at most 7000 years ago. Please go to ICR, institute for creation research and check out the very qualified educated people who can back this up to anyone’s satisfaction who is not closing their minds to this truth. There is nothing wrong with eating any way you prefer to if it makes you feel healthy, but please do not base it on the lie of evolution. Not only your physical health and well being are at stake here, but your eternal destiny.

    • There is nothing wrong with eating like cave men. You say they all died young as if it was their diet that killed them, and that is a crock. Cave men and women died young because of exposure, accidents, animal attacks, insect bites, snake bites, drowning, bad weather, disease, and violence with other men and women…….but it sure as heck wasn’t their diet that made them go early. It’s foolish to make such a superficial and thoughtless assertion.

    • In response to the person who asked why would we want to eat like cavemen as they died young, you have to remember, that cave people also had environmental threats on their lives. For example, they could easily freeze to death, or be eaten by a larger animal. They could twist their ankle and be left behind by their tribe or clan because they were a burden. If food was scarce, they could starve to death. The bottom line is, they did not have all the modern day diseases that we suffer from today because we eat the standard American diet (SAD).

    • not true…hunter gatherers did not have the disease we have today…they had different problems such as predatory animals to contend with and the harsh elements of the environment. Meaning that a lot of people died but not from cancer, heart disease or diabetes which are diet related!!! The AVERAGE age of the hunter gatherers is not determined by them living to 35 years old…it’s an average for all the people who died as opposed to lived. Whether they died from hunger or cold at 2 years old or were eaten by a lion at 43 or injured themselves at 69 and bled out. There is plenty of evidence to suggest that hunter gatherers who survived the elements of their day lived very long healthy lives and because of their diets they didn’t have long term chronic health issues like we do today.

    • What is the nature of your worry?
      By the way you should explore the Budwig diet on the astounding applications of the stuff.

    • I was diagnosed with er pr positive breast cancer, it’s hard to avoid soy and products- bpa bht parabens -which mimic estrogen in our bodies which can feed cancers.. Even buying chicken and beef is hard these days bc animals are fed vegetarian diets containing soybeans to bulk them instead of hormone injections.. Even meat that says from grass fed cows still can contain soy bc they are given soybeans too is what a local farm representative told me. I believe flaxseed contains high phytoestrogens I started using ground organic flaxseed over my yogurt and I had pain etc in my breast and had to work hard to get an order for diagnostic mamogram I’m 33 and diagnosed with idc.. Long story but hopefully caught early..
      Thx for all who research about soy and soy lecithin.. I try to not google much but when I saw the jelly beans I have for my kids (and I love them too) contains soy lecithin I was shocked and my husband said that product is in a lot of candy.

    • You do not stay need to stay away from flaxseed. It is about the healthiest thing you can eat combined with cottage cheese, neither the CC nor the Flax seed seed retain their original state but turn into a very healthy supplement. Please do check out the Budwig diet. It is a miracle that has healed many of cancer and heart disease and diabetes.

    • I agree with you 158% regarding too many should be okay responses. A little bit of this “might” not hurt you or cause problems but what about 60 ingredients which are “should be okay” and then find out you have reached a toxic level?? My daughter is allergic to soy and almost died due to the soy lecithin which was hidden on the ingredients list. Thank G-d she was close to a hospital where they were able to get an epi-shot into her. She MUST carry an epi-pen with her at all times. I am also a non-gmo freak and there is no way anyone can tell me the stuff is safe.

  39. The myth, and that is what it is- a myth that soy is in someway bad for you is an unfortunate lie being told over and over again! Soy is nearly a perfect food, the phytoestrogen it contains is nothing like animal estrogens that have been linked to cancer. God gave us soy to eat, buy organic and eat to your hearts content! Don’t believ to bogus info that soy is harmful, these reports are false!

    • 1./ This is a Senior comment thread here.
      2./ 96-98% of soy in the USA is GMO. Is that included in what’s God’s gift? Or in your classification of organic? If not, do you have a good source for organic – that 2% – so we could “eat to our hearts content”?
      3. Is MSG God’s gift too? Or is it a myth that soy converts to MSG in the body?

    • Yeah, that’s why six year olds all over the world, (mostly those on the Western diet), are sprouting body hair and getting their periods.

    • Yes, allergy to soy is a lie. Next time I am in the er in anaphylaxis I will just say to myself, walk it off. Soy allergy is a lie. Silly me. I am totally sure the blood allergy tests are a lie too. I am also allergic to nuts and eggs. My son is allergic to beef and pork, although just hives. But I am sure it’s all a lie. Unless you have had your airway almost swollen shut then you should really keep your uneducated opinion to yourself.

    • Please check your information before posting. Soy especially GMO soy contains phytoestrogens which even though may be natural is not good for everyone. Estrogen driven cancers are worsened with phytoestrogens.

    • Soy lecithin is poisonous to me. Soy was good at one point, but in this case if you eat it raw it will kill you because its poisonous in its basic form. Fermented in low quantities has been OK for thousands of years in the Orient. But some idiot found that processing the Tard out of it was soo cheap the money was so easy to be made from it. They paid for US to use it and enough paid out to look away from the bad side of it.

  40. What about soy lecithin and hypothyroidism? I know it’s important to avoid soy. Is it a problem to have some in my organic acai breakfast smoothie. Sambazon “brand” acai smoothie.

  41. I bought protein powder and they say that it contains 240mg of soy lecithin per serving. I drink it twice a day so its 480mg. Is this to much? Oh and they also say is NO-GMO.
    I am TTC and a acupuncture lady said no soy for me. But its hard to find price decent protein powders with NO soy

    • Kamila, I have never understood why anyone would use protein powders. Protein is so complex and is found in animal and plant sources (when combined properly—if you are vegetarian).
      Namaste and care,

    • Have you tried hemp protein? Or hemp seeds? Hemp seed are a complete protein, which are easily digested, and if grown in Australia they are also organic. It is legal to purchase them in Australia and take them overseas to be consumed however it is illegal to eat them in Australia. They do not have the effects of marijuana.

  42. I have a question. I was told by a midwife that if I take a soy lethicin supplement it will help me heal from ligament stretching in my pelvis. I was unable to walk for two months after the last baby I had and am now pregnant again. Right now I avoid most soy in processed food unless it happens to be in chocolate or eggs in the wintertime feed. What can I do as I have been told that soy is bad. Your article is saying different and unfortunately I am just taking peoples word about soy because I am not a nutritionist. I do not want to harm the baby as it grows but also would like to avoid this pain after the birth too. Any advice?

    • Hello Kim, If your midwife thinks lecithin is a good idea, you could try either sunflower or eggyolk lecithin. My family has soy allergies, so we don’t use soy either.

    • As long as the soy is non gmo and you do not have a soy intolerance then you don’t really have anything to worry about. You don’t want to consume large amounts of soy each day but small to moderate amounts here and there are completely harmless.

    • I would not take it, Drs mid wife’s and nurses only pass on what they are taught and usually it’s not nutrition based..
      I had a split pelvis with my second and wore a girdle and it’s the worse pain ever.. I had to use crutches and cried in pain everyday. Knowing then what I know now I would stay clear of all prescribed drugs and take serrapeptase it’s a natural enzyme that deals with information.. Good luck and always heal yourself naturally xx

      • So true, Jo. Our cultures have lost the ancient wisdoms handed down by mid-wives and natural healers. The accepted medical supporters today regurgitate what they have been taught, much of which is good, other stuff, not so much. Anything not accepted by Big Pharma and the bought medical system are tossed out as quackery.

        My mum was killed by the med profession when in hospital when she was not allowed to bring in her magnesium supplements, so I speak from experience, and resentment. She was simply being assessed at the age of 74, in a hospital suite, for independent living.
        Namaste and care,

      • RiboCein is what we use to increase the natural production of intracellular glutathione and by increasing glutathione gsh inflammation goes down and pain disappears.
        Usually allergies are a result of less than perfect immune system and this some times can be corrected. The benefits of increasing glutathione production are too many to list here but allergies gone could be one of them.

  43. What about lecithin supplements derived from sunflower seeds? Your article mentions various sources for lecithin, but discusses only soy-derived lecithin. Thanks.

  44. I have a problem with soya and soya products. Anything containing soya automatically constipates me, whether it’s soya milk, soya powder, soya yogurt or soya lecithin I end up being constipated. It’s frustratingly obvious I cannot use it while other people don’t seem to have this problem. But what is the reason behind this?

    • Dear George,

      Whom ever wrote that about soy lecithin containing 70% protein is not even close to correct. By law lecithin sold in the US cannot contain more than 0.3%. I know this as fact as my company was the first manufacturer of certified organic soy lecithin in North America and regulated by the FDA as well as the USDA. The internet is a wonderful thing anyone including me can write it and it becomes fact or truth.


      • You (CB) are right about one thing: the Internet is a wonderful place because as you said you can post too, despite the fact that you could not quote and so apparently understand my post in more than one instances.
        1. If they extract 70 percent protein from the soy then it is not 70 that stays in it. The formula used is 100-70=30
        2. This extraction (in the article par.34) was not related to lecithin but to soy products in general, so you rambling about me having stated that soy lecithin contains 70% shows serious detoxification in a good case, permanent brain damage (together with bias) in a bad case.

  45. I take soy lecithin as a supplement because of the high phosphatidyl serine content. I don’t seem to react to it at all. Should I stop taking it?

  46. Hi,

    My daughter suffered from severe eczema last year but now it is under control. I have however noticed that eating kinder chocolate or tunacks tea cake she breaks out in a nettle like rash and is very itchy, both these products contain soya leithcin. She is still young to get an allergy test but was wondering if she has a soya allergy?


  47. Hi! I am a little confounded by the information that says soy lecithin has estrogenic activity, because the only information I was able to find online said that there was no phytoestrogens in lecithin after it’s processing. This is an important issue with women who have estrogen-positive breast cancer. So now another safe way to deliver vitamin C is no longer safe? We were taking the new kind of delivery system by LiveOn Labs, of soy nanobubbles delivering dissolved C straight through the gut into the bloodstream. This is heartbreaking to me, because my cousin has this breast cancer and we both felt it was safe based on several articles and one medical study abstract, but she has developed new tumors in spite of doing everything she can to filter her water, give up processed foods, changing to organic toiletries, and in general reading all labels. She is off the lipospheric C and now just takes the Ester C. I don’t know what to believe anymore!

    • Hello Tess, There is another very effective way to take vitamin C, dissolve the crystals in water with half as much baking soda and after it stops fizzing, drink. Here is a video of Captain Randall the author of Forbidden Healing showing how: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1TOAHTDeO4s

      I just use 1/4t of vitamin C (this is 1g) and 1/8t of baking soda, twice a day.
      Take care, Molly

      • I have not seen this, but do wonder how the baking soda helps get it through the gut without breaking down the C. I will certainly check this out. I read the British published book “Ascorbate” which was fascinating, and never knew that C in pill or capsule breaks down so much in the stomach that only about 30% actually makes it into the bloodstream. It’s a great, informative book about how important higher levels of C are and how stubbornly low our own nutrition standards are regarding C.

        • Hi Tess! My husband and I also take the liposomal vitamin c (though, we make our own) and really like the way it works. I have often wondered whether or not the soy lecithin has an effect on my hormones. It seems when I take it my mood changes. We have, however, used sunflower lecithin as a substitute, but I am not sure that it works as well as soy lecithin. Anyway, just wanted to let you know that there are other lecithins on the market. After reading about the use of sunflower lecithin in dark chocolate, I am wondering if the amount of sunflower lecithin just needs to be changed in liposomal vitamin c.

    • Please take a look at the research(ers) associated with grassrootshealth net (or carole baggerly). And check out vitamindcouncil org. I don’t think I have cancer, but vitamin d made a huge difference for an ongoing problem I have. Among its uses by different cells of the body: to contain tissue (valuable anticancer and potentially stroke and other), allow some antibodies to function (powerful against the flu and other), prevent/reverse multiple sclerosis and generally improve certain types of body aches/pains, help you sleep, valuable to heart and lung health. I took around 30,000 IU/day for a year and maybe about half of that since. To give you an idea, 600/day is the US recommended allowance even though it is recognized that that is too little (it’s assume you get more from sun) and much higher quantities have been necessary to show results in cancer and other studies. You body may or may not need it in different quantities (eg, used up faster when fighting the flu, cancer, etc). A lot of recent US maladies have likely come from the advice of using sunscreen so much rather than get the 10-20 minutes of midday (UVB) sunlight needed for health. Some parts of the hemispheres (away from equator) don’t get much UVB. Some research even shows indoor workers with 3x rate of melanoma than those who work outside (less UVB and higher UVA since in part windows filter out UVB so roll down window during the middle day for at least a few minutes if you can). Please look at the research and try this natural ..lifesaver. It correlates low in people with many types of cancers. I am biased towards it and fairly sure it is much more than mere correlation (and test tubes have shown powerful results, btw), but it doesn’t hurt to at a minimum make sure you are in a range considered healthy. Blood test is a pin prick and can be for about $60. Most doctors don’t know of the modern research and studies. It’s very active research area.

      Sample Carole quote from skinnymom com: How I’m feeling now: Very, very committed to pursuing primary prevention, especially through the active use of vitamin D. It is currently estimated that at least 50-80 percent of breast cancer could be prevented with a serum level (D) of about 50 ng/ml (average in the US is about 25 ng/ml). I think the worst part of the whole process is the “treatment.” I have stated openly that I think it’s barbaric. I have just discovered (eight years later) further damage to my heart/arteries due to the radiation treatment.

    • Mayo Clinic has a web site that sates no male child should ever be put on soy milk, due to estrogen content. Also, that any male still wishing to have children should avoid soy, as it will reduce testosterone levels. I have had estrogen-positive breast cancer and read all labels as I have found that soy lechtin/protein in so many products; the risk is too high for me to take any chances.

      • I certainly wouldn’t worry about soy consumption and fertility. China and Japan have a long history of high soy consumption and they now have the highest populations. Ergo, fertility unaffected.

        Japan also had among the lowest breast cancer rates in the world until about a decade ago when the birth control pill was made legal. I’m sure you can find the same stats of other countries with soy-based diets. Ergo, it has not increased breast cancer rates in any noticeable way.

  48. Can anyone comment about soy and infertility in men? Also some guys are taking lecithin granules such as (NOW non Gmo) to increase SPERM volume. Lecithin is a major ingredient in Sperm. There seems to be some information out there, that increasing intake of raw eggs or soy lecithin can really increase sperm volume. Would liver also help this? I guess it has Choline but not sure. Seems like the wise choice would be cage free, good diet, raw eggs in a smoothie perhaps. Yeah Soy is everywhere it’s really hard to avoid. I mean Soybean oil with show up in a can of water based Tuna! Some Soy products have to be worse than others. I mean I’m not giving up flavoring my Stir Fry with a little low sodium Soy sauce. Or using a healthy as i can find Stir Fry sauce. Which is a really tough task. Their all mostly salty MSG crap! Maggie Ginns is the best and tastiest iv’e found. What about non GMO Tofu and a cultured soy product like Tempah?

    • Have a look at the populations / densities of countries, such as Japan, that consume large amounts of soy per average person.

      If anything, soy increases fertility. I’ve not seen a single study that says it decreases it. Only assumptions based on similarity to estrogren.

    • High intake levels of soy and soy products have been shown to produce or add to your estrogen levels, lowering sperm count and T-levels (lots of effects for men). Normal intake of soy is about 25 grams, but as I get older and my natural ability to produce T decreases, I have reduced the amount of soy intake. For women an increased chance of breast and cervical cancer may exist with high levels of estrogen. Also bone density will decrease if the levels of T decreases. Just think of T levels being inversely proportional to estrogen levels as a rule of thumb.

    • No, I know both sides of the soy issue and choose to stay away unless it is fermented and then only in moderation. Soy formula was approved by WIC back in 1980 and now those women who were fed soy formula have thyroid issues. Breast cancer rates are ever increasing and girls as young as 7 are starting their periods and developing breasts. There are no studies by anyone other than the soy industry to prove to me that soy is safe and over 90% of it is GMO. Too much is unknown. isishttp://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3074428/

  49. Found the article on sugar very enlightening, thank you.
    Please explain to me if soy protein powder, which I have been taking for years as a supplement, is harmful to me. I assume it is not fermented. I am female aged 75 and I run and lift weights.
    Thank you
    Regards Carla

    • If it’s not fermented, I say stay away from it. Even then in moderation. I simply don’t like or trust it! I too wonder who is paying Chris to pass out this mis-information. The soy producers? In Robyn O’Brien’s book called The Unhealthy Truth, she tells how to find out by typing in the words disclosure, funding or speakers bureau, consulting fee after their names. This goes for Dr.’s organizations or anyone who calls themselves an expert. Most times you can simply follow the money to their opinion.

  50. So from reading this it seams to me that men should do their best to not consume any soy products or flax seed? I’m a beginning body builder and I want to increase my test levels not my estrogen levels.

  51. I would never consume anything soy especially if it is not Non GMO and or fermented. Get sunflower lecithin instead. If your child has food allergies ie: peanut he/she is 85% more likely to also be allergic to soy. I’d like to know who funded this article. My guess is the soy foundation!

  52. I’ve not heard of the brand Alter Ego that Emma mentions, but here in the UK I have the choice of Lindt Excellence or Tesco Finest Single Origin chocolate (their Dominican Republic 85% Dark, for instance, is yummy!)

  53. Just an FYI- there’s a brand called Alter Eco that makes chocolate that tastes normal and delicious and doesn’t contain soy lecithin 🙂

  54. Soy may not be dangerous for the body but most of it is made with seriously dangerous toxic for the soil, air, water and people living closed by, so for the sake of supporting a better environment, including the people living around, I strongly suggest we all get off soy totally. Lecithin from sunflower, eggs, liver, pollen, etc. are totally fine.

  55. I am a food lover but always make sure what i am putting into my stomach before taking it. and mostly i love the natural foods and not the chemical once.

  56. I had severe sinus infections for almost 6 years after living in a mold infested house. I tried everything to get rid of them and eventually found one site that suggested Soy Lecithin might be connected to sinus inflammation. I cut it out and the sinus infections stopped. Every now and then I’ll get an infection and discover that a piece of sliced cheese or cake at a party contained soy lecithin. It’s bizarre and I can’t make sense of it… but it works.

  57. hi
    thanks for clearing mis-conceptions as well, based on facts, regarding hexane impurity and FDA limit.

    My father[age-85yr] under treatment for moderate to severe dementia of Alzheimer type with both drugs
    [ mamentine HCL in morning and Donep in night- each 10 mg.]
    homeo trtmt is also showed good effect and he is still independent at Home.
    is any experimentation with cooked soyabeans as an alternative to licithin.
    may be as pure and cheap source of licithin.
    can you kindly analyze cooked soyabeans and study and
    clarify and suggest….
    thnx n rg.

  58. Thanks for making hopelessly complex science readable for the average person so that he/she can instruct himself/herself.

  59. Hi Chris, the great dr Jensen highly recommended soy lecithin. Are you aware of the studies using flax seed that helped the body metabolize estrogen into the cancer protective metabolites? You can check Pubmed for studies of it’s effectiveness with this and prostate cancer. It’s complicated, but the okinawans for example have 80% breast and prostate cancer than we do, yet eat the highest amour of tofu.

  60. Really good article. You didn’t go all alarmist like many sites I have visited. You stuck to facts and put things in perspective. Well done.

  61. After such a long article and trying to show how you are “quashing” all the “mis-placed” concerns, there wasn’t a word mentioned about ppl dealing with Thyroid as a condition and that Soy products have been directly linked with affecting the Thyroid Gland as well as its interactions with the Thyroxine drugs efficacy. An answer to that question could have been the most important part of your article.

    • I would like an answer to that, too. Elevated cholesterol and hypothyroid seem to go hand in hand. What can we do to lower our cholesterol?

  62. Hey,

    I found another source that said soy lecithin powder has had the estrogens and other toxic compounds removed but that the granulated form has soybean oil mixed with the powder and does contain some of these compounds. Is this enough to be concerned about, and why would they add soybean oil to the soy lecithin powder?

  63. The problem with SOY is that it contains proteins that convert to MSG. Because MSG must be included on the
    label, and people will not purchase anything containing MSG, they now use “Soy” because people do not realize that soy converts to MSG. Therefore, people will purchase products with “Soy” or “Soy Lecithin” or any Soy products, as they are not aware that the body converts it to MSG. that is the way to avoid having to state MSG on the label. People do not realize that SOY is extremely damaging to the liver and related organs, can cause liver & pancreatic pain, even organ failure. Some are extracting those proteins out of Soy, making “Soy Lecithin”, to avoid the conversion. Soy Lecithin is now commonly used as a mixing emulsifier, especially with chocolate. The sad fact is that you can only extract a maximum of 70%, at best, from the soy, therefore, Soy Lecithin generates at least 30% or more MSG compared to regular Soy. Although Soy and Soy Lecithin have been used for many years in cooking, recently included in lecithin form as an emulsifying agent, it should be banned because it is a tool to avoid including “MSG” on their label, increasing the potential of devastating health problems.

  64. Bumble, I think it’s clear from what Chris has written, that soy lecithin is not something to be concerned about. I assume this would also apply to infant formula.

    Carolyn, from what I can glean, soy lecithin is much higher in phosphatides than sunflower lecithin. I believe the concerns of the soy source are overblown. According to Carlson Wade, author of Lecithin Book, What You Need to Know, published 1980, the best lecithin is pure lecithin granules which contain over 95 percent phosphatides and about 2 percent soybean oil.

    There’s a lot of good info on lecithin at Earth Clinic. http://www.earthclinic.com/Supplements/lecithin.html
    Apparently it’s the only thing that can detox hydrocarbons that build up in the body.

    • You need to read The Whole Soy Story by Kaayla Daniel and The Unhealthy Truth by Robyn O’Brien. Soy formula sets your baby up for thryoid issues, breast cancer and for boys a low sperm count. So, if you don’t want grandchildren feed your baby soy!

  65. All the formulas which is given to newborns as well come with soy lecithin as an emulsifier. Isn’t this dangerous ?

  66. The two latest comments about soy lecithin are interesting but when mentioning sources of lecithin fail to mention sunflower lecithin: perfect choice for those who may have problems with soy lecithin.

  67. I take soy lecithin daily. From day one, I noticed improvement in my short term memory. I am worried a little about the estrogen effect but so far I have no problem.

  68. I took soy lecithin for a month, and when I went for a cholesterol check up i was OFF THE CHART in terms of good to bad ratio. I had so much good cholesterol the doc told me to keep doing whatever the hell I was doing.
    I stopped taking it due to some research suggesting it would mishape blood cells, but im thinking low dose lecethin supplementation could be a good thing?

  69. Question: If eating Paleo is supposed to be so uber-healthy, why aren’t there any caveman running around? I mean, other than the 2 who did those Geico commercials & had a very short lived sitcom on NBC (I think..don’t quote me on the network) about 10 years or so ago?
    I’m just sayin’, lol.

  70. Wish I could find a diet like Nutrisystem that used whey-based products and not soy. I am an estrogen-positive breast cancer survivor and am quite overweight, and due to back issues cannot exercise. I do not cook and so would love to utilize one of those “meals already prepared” diets, but I cannot find any that are not soy based or that aren’t heavy in soy-bean oil.

    If anyone is aware of a meals-delivered diet company that has a good concentration of soy-free products, please let me know! I am desperate to get this weight off because I know my chances for survival are much better if I do.

    • You should take a look at Soylent (contrary to the name it is not a Soy based food). It does contain a small amount of Soy Lecithin, but other than that it is primarily made up of Oats, Brown Rice, and Corn.

      It may not be right for everyone but it’s worth looking into.

    • Lina,

      Where do you live? Google and see if there are any companies near you that make fresh paleo meals weekly – these will not have any soy in them. If you happen to be in DC/MD/VA check out Power Supply or if you are in NC/VA/DC/MD/Greater Philly/Greater NYC/Greater Boston area check out Custom Fit Meals. The company Pre-Made Paleo also makes paleo meals and they ship them all over the US. Hope this helps!

      And please know that all calories are not created equal! Eat whole foods, cut out all the processed junk (to include soda- diet and regular), and get rid of grains and that will help you get rid of the weight!

      Good luck!

  71. Hi all. Like a couple of other posts I am a breastfeeding mother who is having issues with recurrent blocked milk ducts. Lecithin supplements are recommended to prevent clogged ducts but the advised dosage is 3600-4800mg daily. I am right in thinking Chris’ article suggests this is not safe? I really want to crack this problem as blockage after blockage is soul destroying but don’t want to put either my own or my baby’s health at risk. If I can’t resolve the issue I think I will have to give up breastfeeding. Chris – are you still reading / responding to posts? Would you be able to offer any advice?

  72. I tried skimming through all these comments, FIRST, to see if my question was addressed, but I did not see it – so please forgive me if it was discussed already .

    I’d like to know if there are ANY soy products that are ‘safe’ to eat – in quantity – BESIDES organic? The main reason is – I was told – (BEFORE I knew about the ‘dangers’ of soy) that drinking soy milk, using soy flour, taking soy supplements, etc., is very helpful for women in peri and pre-menopause, and those in menopause, etc., to minimize symptoms and help with balance. Once I heard about soy being ‘bad’ for certain people (including those with a Thyroid issue), I stopped using it. What can you, Mr. Kresser tell me about this – and would you please respond to my e-mail? Thank you.

  73. I am very allergic to soy, with a very specific reaction that differs from my other allergies. It has been difficult to find the soy in my diet recently. I do my own cooking and usually eat very plain foods with nothing in them, but I have been using canned milk that doesn’t list soy, as others do. After looking up one of the E ingredients(E322), I found that it is lecithin, and most likely soy. I am certain that this is the source of my recent problems. It angers me to see sources saying that soy lecithin and soy oil do not affect people with soy allergy. They do. It is also frustrating that most milk products are having soy added to them (canned milk and powdered milk). I drink fresh milk, but I like to use stronger milk as a sweetener. I’ve even come across cheese with soy, which I never would have expected. Even makeups are switching ingredients to soy. I all of a sudden have a reaction, and find they have changed their formulae. I have contacted several companies, but unless other people do to, it feels hopeless that things will get safer.

  74. dears.. eating an unprocessed soy bean is NOT the same. i’ve been consuming soy for 54 years and i hate to blow your kite into a tree.. but i’m fine.

    it doesn’t matter.. estrogen is in all things and plus it’s been processed so it makes no difference what it is processed soy, dairy, other packaged nonsense, refined foods are bad for you, period.

    so, don’t blame soy… blame the industry of processing.

    learn something, i grew up in processing and i’ll tell you this much.. there’s a reason why i don’t eat those foods.

    and if you want an estrogen giant.. talk to the USDA about all it’s propaganda and what they’re hiding.

    move along, nothing, as usual to see here.

  75. Chris where are your federal based evidence data in this sory?
    Fact: There is no federal government clinical studies on the health effects of genetically modified/engineered soy and GM soy by products including GM soy lecithin according to the FDA and CDC.

    Fact: The CDC recognizes GM soy and GM soy products as one of 8 major allergens and USDA states over 91 percent of soy and soy products is GM.

    Fact: GM soy and GM soy products in the majority of processed food in the US according to FDA and CDC study 1996-2007 showed 18 percent increase in children food allergies.

    Fact: GM soy and GM soy products are mandated by government food/health agencies in 64 countries to be labelled but not in the US. And China bans direct consumption of GM soy.

    None of these facts should give the consumer confidence in the safety of GM soy lecithin

  76. Although outside the scope of this article, which is health focused, I wanted mention that some people like me avoid soy for policial reasons. There is over production of GMO soy in this country and it is ruining our biodiveristy and putting small farmers (organic and non) out of business. It concerns me that it’s a byproduct of soy processing and I wonder if the industry is just trying to find new places to put it. I don’t understand why it’s in tea (which is what led me here to be begin with).

  77. I don’t know if anyone is still posting/responding, but what about soy lecithin in teas for someone struggling with low T3, normal T4 (or euthyrodism, which Dr. Kresser has written about before)???? It is not an allergy. I was given two boxes of wonderful sounding tea for Christmas…but with soy lecithin…. Do I avoid them to be safe, or can I enjoy them guilt free?

    • Everyone should be aware that if you take Synthroid or its generic equivalent – thyroxine – that soy is CONTRAINDICATED as it reduces the effectiveness of the drug. I found this out after a partial thyroidectomy but the info on the pamphlet enclosed with your prescription isn’t stated until the end – after the chemical diagrams! Anyone with thyroid issues should avoid all soy products.

  78. Hi Chris,
    I don’t understand. You say ” it’s not the soy lecithin; it’s the choline.” If the Soy is the carrier of Choline, then the problem IS the soy lecithin.
    You also say, that products have so little amount in them. If you add all the products we are consuming that have soy lecithin, then that’s a problem, too.
    Plus, if they are spraying it in fruits and vegetables to get them ripe, then we can’t really avoid it, can we?
    Please clarify,
    Thank you

  79. Chris,
    Don’t you think that the overall list of content in soy lecithin (small dose or not) seem quite worrying? Forget about what the studies (so far) are telling us, but in terms of the actual compounds or processes themselves, most of them hold some sort of potential health risk. You say it yourself, soy lecithin appears in all kinds of foods, I know, because I am going out of my way to avoid it, a job which calls for huge determination!
    I think it is important for spokespeople, representing medical science and industry, to keep in mind that not everyman thralls through the ingredient list to look and see if there are potentially contents that calls for further research before consumption. Most people TOTALLY rely on, that some kind of authority is looking out for their best of interest and health.
    If soy lecithin doesn’t cause any thread to good health, then why suggest “.. to keep phytoestrogens to a minimum, and individuals dealing with cancer or fertility problems might want to avoid them more strictly”. ? I am not looking for The Poisonous Dose of soy lecithin, I am far more concerned about slight alterations within the body’s automatic chemical responses, over time potentially leading to DNA mutations (cancer).
    I am not suggesting that soy lecithin, being the isolated little tiny substance that it is, is the only one to carefully reconsider in terms of man’s overall health, there are many others: HFCS, Aspartame, Sodium Sulphite, Potassium Bromate, MSG/E621 as well as a load of others, including various E-numbers.
    -And I am sure that the individual item of food in its wrapping, on the supermarket shelf, only contain a very tiny amount, but have you noticed the size of today’s supermarkets and how many types of products each of them stock?!
    Unless you are Food & Health interested, there is no way that one’s ever going to read, reflect and reconsider which items should regularly be featuring in one’s shopping trolley and which ones (apart from on the odd occasion) should go back on the shelf.
    We really, desperately need some honest guidance from the ‘Experts’, i.e. people like yourself!
    Because people (including myself) read this kind of stuff, in the hope of receiving some kind of ‘truth’ in what to do.

  80. my doctor advised to take 1000 Lecithin and 1000 Arginine daily for neuropathy in hand and feet, most likely due to diabetic.

    After reading all the info I wonder if it is worth the risk since I also have high blood pressure.

  81. MJ I am a BC survivor as well and I was told that soy lecithin is not dangerous. In fact my oncologist is not freaked out about soy at all really. She said in moderation is fine.

  82. 2 years ago I had breast cancer – estrogen receptive positive – I try so hard to avoid soy because of the estrogenic effect but as you said, it is nearly impossible. Is soy lecithin dangerous for breast cancer survivors? I keep getting mixed information.

    • My cousin is fighting this kind of cancer and the only two studies I was able to find said that there were no measurable phytoestrogens in soy, though Dresser’s article says there are. Now I don’t know what the truth is. My cousin was taking the lipsomal C which is made with non GMO soy lecithin. We talked My Sunflower Oil into making lecithin granules so we could make it at home, but even sunflowers have phytoestrogens. Someone needs to find out the truth about this. No articles or studies out there agree on this issue.

  83. Just want to say that after having severe hives for suddenly for several years I have finally narrowed it down to happening when I eat foods that have soy lecithin. Everything from cheese, chocolate, red vine candy to all kinds of frozen foods….interesting I seem to be able to eat soy products just fine.

  84. I generally avoid soy as much as possible (except for the small amounts of raw fermented organic soy sauce and soy lecithin in some chocolates). However, I do eat about 2-3 tablespoons of whole flax seeds per day. I read somewhere that only ground flax seeds have estrogenic effect on the body and that whole flax seeds are ok to consume. Is this true? And, what about chia seeds? Do they contain phytoestrogens as well?

  85. I am a breastfeeding mama and recently had several clogged ducts. I was told to take a tablespoon of soy lecithin a day because it thins out the milk (without lessening its quality) so that its easier to loosen the plug. I took it because I was doing everything possible to avoid mastitis and having to take antibiotics. Not sure if it made a huge difference but I was able to unclog the ducts and not get an infection. Any idea why it would thin breastmilk?

  86. I do some dietary coaching and have been recommending lecithin to people I can’t get to give up veganism, on the grounds that however good it is or isn’t a choline deficiency is worse. Would you disagree with that? Any thoughts on dosage to get the best risk/benefit ratio?

    • give up NOT eating meat? are you insane?

      i wouldn’t touch animal product if my life (and it does) depend on it.

      i’ve been eating unprocessed soy for decades… now.. when i was ingesting dairy, my life was a nightmare.. since i stopped ingesting what was suppose to be good for me all the issues halted.

      i wonder who is telling the truth? i wonder who is on the USDA side and who IS on the SOY side. ? makes one wonder doesn’t it?

      someone is getting kickbacks. soy is better, overall and sorry all processing is bad.

      do some research, key points: arteriosclerosis.

      • Soy issues are often allergies. It’s like a celiac who continues to eat gluten which will make that person very sick, even in small doses. It is great that you obviously have no allergies to soy.

  87. One good easy homemade chocolate treat is a couple of tablespoons of melted coconut oil (or about 1/2 inch) in a glass custard cup; add powdered chocolate to taste (1 tsp or a little more), and for a good taste, 1/2 tsp or so maca powder ( I use the cooked kind, i.e. not raw, b/c of thyroid issues). If you want more sweetness, add a couple of drops of stevia liquid. Stir of course. Then freeze for about 1/2-1 hour. Easy to remove by pressing a sharp knife down the side. It usually pops up. Sometimes I need to run hot water on the inverted cup for a few seconds; then it pops out. Then eat it like a “bar” of sorts right away, before it melts.

    One of my favorite additions is very finely chopped ginger (Cuisinart).

  88. Chris,

    The article is good but does not provide the meat that I was looking for. If you decide to dig more into it, here are the comments.

    Soy lecithin, apart from additives, I think it can be a very good supplement for brain function, if and ONLY if, the phospholipids in the lecthin piece are untouched and not getting modified in some way in the chemical process.
    Then what amount of phytoestrogens do these lecithin blends contain. Is there any limit? Is there any source to find which supplement (not additive) contain what amount of phytoestrogens?
    When the supplements mention, like phosphatidylcholine or Phosphatidylserine, is sourced from Soy lecithin, 500mg of lecithin contains 100mg of the above stuff, then what is rest 400mg? Is there any way that you can find this information (apart from the manufacturer). Supplement market is not regulated by the FDA (but it should by some body), so they can make all wild claims that they like but they do not suffer from it. The user does.
    What is the difference between Soy lecithin and Sunflower lecithin, for example?
    I think, I will stop for time being.

    Like the way you write your articles though, with scientific proofs but just avoid Life Extension articles style, where they cherry pick their references.

  89. Sorry Aysin but that article did not show why the Japanese live longer than anyone else…… they regularly consume soy….and lots of iodine but that is no answer.

  90. I had never before heard of soy lecithin. I’ll share this information. Thanks for posting! I think the main point here is that the food industry uses too many chemicals and additives in general. We need to eat natural foods like we were meant to!

  91. For all of the people that love chocolate and worry about the ingredients, you should learn how to make your own. It’s easy, 100% healthy and much less expensive than buying it.

        • Here is the recipe I use.

          In a double boiler add and mix 1/2 cup raw cacao nibs, 1/2 cup nuts, 2 cups raw cacao butter, 1 tsp coconut oil, 1/2 cup raw cacao powder, 1/2 cup (or more to suit your taste) xylitol. (if you don’t have a double boiler you can use a large and small ceramic plate)

          Gradually mix in dry ingredients after butter, coconut oil and nibs melt.

          pour in mold or on a plate and refrigerate for 1 hour.

  92. Thanks for this informative, balanced information! I really appreciate your level-headed approach to foods that others in the alternative health community might just blindly condemn. I have found (and I think you would agree based on your “beer-and-pizza-diet” story) that you cannot underestimate the role of happiness in promoting health and wellness. Of course if you react badly to something, you shouldn’t eat it. However, I believe constant, irrational food paranoia is almost certainly a major stressor to the body. I’ve felt much better on Paleo since I have loosened things up a bit and adopted a more light-hearted approach in which pleasure and happiness are factored into my “should I eat this” equation. It is nice to know I needn’t spend too much time fretting over occasional soy lecithin.

  93. I consume flaxseed for its phytoestrogens and avoid soy for its phytoestrogens, because they are different.
    Flaxseed phytoestrogens, lignans, reduce body’s utilization of more estrogenic hormones by making use of themselves, which are so little estrogenic that they make an antiestrogenic effect on the body.
    On the other hand soy phytoestrogens make an estrogenic effect in body.
    I felt like Chris was making a different point about it, maybe someone can explain what was implied more detailed. Please explain if what I do may be bad.

  94. I remember I’ve read something like soy lecithin caused brain shrinkage,probably in rats. I searched for gmo “soy lecithin” brain and one of the first links gave enough information for me to stop and at least forget about not minding consuming gmo soy lecithin. I will also be cautious about gmo soy lecithin being used in anything I consider consuming though gmos in human food is forbidden in the country I live in, luckily I do not buy processed foods.


  95. While it is true that the amounts of soy lecithin may be small in chocolate, I think we need to apply more pressure to the food industry to eliminate soy additives from our food. And it is more than just about personal health. We need to focus on the larger picture of what soy production is doing to the environment and to the health of those other than ourselves. You might want to view the film available for free online Argentina’s Bad Seeds to see what the soy industry is doing to the populations who have been affected by the expansion of the soy industry in Latin America.

    Also, even in brands of extra-dark chocolate (85% cocoa and above) that do not have soy lecithin, their lighter products such as milk chocolate do have it. I am thinking for example of the one brand of extra-dark choclate that Trader Joe’s still sells that is soy free. Their fair-trade organic line appears to have disappeared.

  96. I read recently that the greater portion of the soy in products here in the United States is grown and processed in China. There are no standards in China to regulate whether they use GMO seeds or the manner with which they process the soybeans. How much of this is true?

  97. Okay for some but not for me. I was eating Aldis 85% chocolate & started getting belly ache. Someone looked at the ingredients and saw it has soy lecithan as an ingredient. I then started to eat 85% Lindt and was fine. No tummy ache.

  98. Although a direct link to heart attack has not been made, researchers recently showed that intake of phosphatidylcholine, a major component of lecithin, temporarily raises blood levels of the compound TMAO. This is of concern because a 3-year study by the same researchers showed that people with the highest blood plasma levels of TMAO — above 6 µM (micromoles) — were 2.5 times as likely as those with the lowest levels (under 2.5 µM) to suffer a heart attack or other major adverse cardiovascular event (Tang, New Eng J Med 2013). TMAO is produced from the choline in phosphatidylcholine by the actions of microbes in the gut and enzymes in the liver. TMAO appears to advance atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries) by reducing the normal clearing of cholesterol.

  99. The chocolate you recommend has a fair amount of sugar, as do most of the others recommended here. Isn’t that one of the toxins you recommend avoiding? I gave up on commercial chocolates, almost all are cooked for days and are sweetened with sugar. I used to eat a fair amount of dark chocolate and it would make me break out and not feel good. Now I make my own with raw organic cacao powder, and it’s great.

  100. While I can’t vouch for the safety of soy lecithin for those with IgE allergies, my young son has a significant IgG sensitivity/allergy to soy (delayed reaction). He eats no soy products, not even lecithin. If he has even minute amounts of soy lecithin, his symptoms of facial redness, digestive problems, and insomnia start up again. He has no reaction to sunflower lecithin.

  101. If you want to use lecithin for something you’re making, sunflower lecithin has more choline and is organic, soy-free, and non-GMO through Lekithos (mysunflowerlecithin.com)

  102. My 2 chocolate cents: In my experience/to my taste, the best widely available chocolate without soy lecithin is Green and Black’s organic 85% bar. It’s the only G&B bar I’ve found that doesn’t have soy lecithin. I prefer it to the Lindt lineup as well as to many smaller market “specialty”/”gourmet”/”whatever word makes you think they’ll be better than they are” chocolate bars that seem to always underwhelm the taste buds after the wallet has been emptied for them.

  103. Chocolate eaters – try Lindt Excellence! The packet says ‘May contain traces of soya lethicin’ but it is certainly not listed as an ingredient. 85% and 90% cocoa (a bit of an acquired taste) have less sugar and salt than the normal 70%. I do get a headache but it must be the cocoa itself causing it, not soya in
    this instance.

    • Kris,
      Well done! Thank you for posting about the soy lechithin. I always find your insights on these matters valuable. A distinctive approach with logic and intent to provide a level headed solution is a worthwhile endeavor! I have found myself reflecting many times on your work and have applied many changes in my famiies life and health based on your perspective! So many thanks are in order.
      Which lead me back yet to you once again today, regarding the phosphlipids. Particularly with the Vit C combo with phospholipids for my husband who suffered a heart attack in Aug 2013 at the tender age of 43 last year! Long story and journney since then. To date he is only on a couple of the menagerie of script meds that were originally handed to us as the “standard protocol” . He is no longer type 2 diabetic and would have to contribute that fact much to you!
      However he is still struggling with arterial plaques requiring stent placements. So I know we have SO FAR but still just missing the mark and lacking something! I suspect its the vitamin C, just my gut feeling considering his cholesterol levels should not warrant the continuing blockages forming. Also, he was on metoprolol which the diabetic journals had an article outlining that is evident that this bp med actually worsens arterial plaques! Argh!! So, am hoping that was our nasty coulperate!
      BUT, I just can’t afford that sort of gamble and continuing with diet modifications, supplements, and food prep methods ect. Trying to ensure we enable his body to heal! I can no longer look at a plate of food and just see food, I see a combination of potentially benefical nutrients and or potentially chemical laden, nutrient robbing toxins! Often feel like the mad scientist preparing smoothies and meals for targeted nutrition! Lol. All this has taught me so much and thanks to your work, enabling me to make strategic choices!
      My thoughts were this though, Regarding the Phospholipids and vit C…. I know that coconut oil facilitates absorption of just about anything good or bad! But could it be that the the MCT can also be a suitable form of phospholipids with the Vitamin C as well?
      Thanks for any input you may have to offer!

  104. Hi Chirs! I avoid all soy as much as possible and also avoid soy lecithin as much as possible. I have to make my own chocolates with coconut oil to get my fix. I take sunflower lecithin due to the lack of a gall bladder. I know soy inhibits thyroid hormones. Does soy lecithin inhibit them as well?

  105. Just to weigh in on the chocolate issue. There is a GF/DF/SF chocolate available called Stone Ground from Needham, Mass. It is my absolute favorite chocolate. I take no money from them (or anyone else) to promote this chocolate. I buy it. I eat it.

  106. Actually, this is not “more than you would ever want to know about soy lecithin.”. This detail is EXACTLY why we come to you for guidance in our respective journeys to optimal health and happiness! Thank you!

  107. Chris, I’m wondering about the sweetener Stevia when it comes to Hormonal disrupters. I had read somewhere several years ago that Stevia also can effect hormones. But have not been able to find that article. Do you know anything about that? Or was that just an advertising scare from the sugar company to keep people from buying and using Stevia as a sweetener.

  108. Great article Chris. I enjoy reading most of what you write. I get this question a lot from my patients and you did a great job summarizing the major concerns and questions. Re: soy food allergy, what test do you recommend? I’ve used Cyrex labs in AZ before, but they check for close to 20 other food sensitivities and cross reactivities to gluten. Is there another you would recommend if a pt just wanted to check for soy? Thanks in advance.

  109. Chris, I’m floored by your recent recommendations. First, radioactive fish. Now GMO soy! You are spreading half truths. This is unacceptable. How much did it cost to buy you off?? I will be unsubscribing from this fantasy you think is helpful/healthy information.

    • Right, Silas. The radioactive fish-GMO soy lecithin lobby bought me off! Makes sense.

      My recommendations have always been evidence based. I dislike hysterical web claims that are based only on hearsay and lead to unnecessary stress and overly restrictive approaches to diet and supplements.

      Show me credible, peer-reviewed evidence that contradicts anything written in any of these articles, and we can have a real discussion.

      • Chris, thank you for being one of the most level-headed figures in the paleo community. I’m so sick of passionate people who half the time don’t know the basis for what they’re so passionate about. And the lashing out at others like the above commentator just shows the immaturity. Anyway I’m so glad you posted this as it’s been difficult for me to find a good protein powder for my husband’s work out recovery drink. (I’m sure I could get some backlash about that). But regardless, thanks so posting relevant posts and sticking to the facts. Well done.

      • Chris, you are such a great source of health info because you are evidence/science based. You understand methodology and view research critically. I think the above criticism is misguided. I hope Silas will continue to come to your website and at some point realize that you are true to the science.

      • I made a quick search again and I’ve found a westonaprice page about it.


        In another page I’ve read that as I wrote I remembered soy lecithin increased brain shrinkage in Hawaii Men’s Health Study but there’s no references.


        So such makes me enough cautious about soy lecithin to not consume any gmo soy, but I’m not very sure about non-gmo or organic soy lecithin because probably the lecithin in the studies is mostly gmo soy lecithin. I did not check if there were studies from countries that forbid gmos in human food such as EU countries…

      • Chris –
        This response of yours has won you a follower in me, to replace of the paranoid nutrition-purist who thinks the radioactive fish lobby and pro-GMO lobby paid you off. I would love to see the data you’ve seen about lecithin studies. Are there safer brands than others for those of us who use it for liposomal solutions, homemade chocolates, an other stuff?

  110. I appreciate the article. However, I did want to mention “accumulation.” Although soy lecithin in minute amounts from one product in one day may have no consequence, has anyone considered the idea that there may be an accumulation effect when digesting multiple products per day with small amounts of soy lecithin? And if it is not expelled from the body, how does it accumulate within the body and is there a means for chelating it’s toxic effects?

    • i wouldn’t worry too much about a little bit of soy lecithin here or there. i add a TBSP of it to every large meal to help emulsify the fats for better digestion and absorption. 🙂

  111. Thanks Chris, I am always stressing about products containing any kind of soy. Not that I won’t still avoid it if possible but the stuff is in everything and if you are in a bind…but I will eat the chocolate I like with a little more enjoyment!

    As far as therapeutic uses: Is reducing total cholesterol even a concern anyway?

  112. Years ago I wrote to Boca Burger asking them about GMOs and they wrote back saying that even the organic burgers had GMO soy in it. Its everywhere now.

      • Perhaps but in Australia at least if at least 75% (I think, don’t quote me on that) of the ingredients are organic then the product can be labelled “organic”. So for example, Green & Black’s chocolate is labelled “organic” but if you read the list every ingredient is organic EXCEPT for the soy lecithin. Which pisses me off so I don’t eat it. For the cost I can buy one without the crappy fillers so why would I settle?

        • Krissy, how annoying! In the USA now, the organic label means 95% organic, only things labeled “100% Organic” really are. The standards have been relaxed and the government is trying to relax them further – by ruining organic altogether it seems.

          Anyway, there are youtube videos showing how, but you really can make your own chocolate with honey, cacao (cocoa) powder, and cocoa butter. Very cool! You can even flavor your treats with organic essential oils such as cinnamon, orange, peppermint (my favorite) etc.
          Have fun!

  113. I’ve understood that the cocoa butter is removed and then sold for good money to the cosmetics and pharmaceutical industries. It’s replaced by cheap soy lecithin and vegetable oils. The considerations are purely economical (profits/bottom line), nothing to do with taste (which is inferior to cocoa butter), quality or health. Personally, I think it sucks. I want to eat a superior product that is ‘whole’ and includes cocoa butter for taste, mouth feel AND health. Rather eat less and pay more (a fair price) than eat a more processed and fragmented product with inferior substances. There are some very good chocolates around without soy lecithin, such as Kallari, Theo and Alter Eco – they also all happen to be fair trade, which doesn’t surprise me: integrity all the way. (Not affiliated!).

    As for soy lecithin: for some mysterious reason (maybe the solvents, then?) I cannot tolerate it, whereas little amounts of soy sauce or tofu are no problem.

    • I agree with those chocolate recommendations. It’s becoming easier and easier to find chocolate without any soy added. I also recommend the brand Sacred Chocolate (not affiliated in any way!), as their quality is unparalleled in the business (but also pretty pricey). You’d think that with all the affordable soy-free chocolates out there, more companies would catch on, because of the fact that soy-free eliminates so many issues (GMO, potential allergies).

    • Agreed Lou! I just tried Eating Evolved Primal Dark Chocolate after seeing Chris Kresser’s giveaway a few weeks ago.It’s soy-lecithin free and organic (and also Fair-Trade I believe). Love their 85% cacao. For me it’s worth it to get higher quality chocolate without the fillers.

    • Just wanted to drop a plug for my current top-favorite chocolate, Panama 80% dark chocolate by Equal Exchange. No soy or other additives/preservatives, Fair Trade, $4-or-under per bar, and only ~8g of sugar per 9-square serving (24 squares per bar; total 9g net carbs and 5g fiber per serving). So rich and creamy, amazing with a handful of hazelnuts or macadamia nuts or just by itself, and rich enough that a couple of squares at a time is plenty satisfying. (Not affiliated, just a fan of good food who’s worked their way through all of the more affordable additive/milk-free fair trade chocolate options at the local healthy grocery stores.)

    • You can make your own chocolate, it’s very easy. There’s a recipe for raw chocolate on the Quirky Cooking website.

    • Make your own chocolate. I buy raw cocoa from Vitacost.com and have found many recipes specifically using raw cocoa. All cocoa beans are dried in the hot sun, but most processing involved much more heat which breaks down many of the good enzymes in the cocoa bean. Raw cocoa has most of them intact along with even more antioxidants. Yoga Mama (the blog) has a video recipe for chocolate drops that is raw and instant energy.

  114. I supplement with lecithin and use it to make liposomal Vitamin C and glutathione; so I buy only organic sunflower lecithin made without hexane. Trace amounts delivered directly to my cells via liposomal transport daily would not be an acceptable risk in my view.

    • Do you mind posting your recipe/protocol here. I am also looking into that for DS with Autism but haven’t figured a way out.

      Thanks in advance.

      • To make liposomal vitamin c and glutathione you need to mix 1 tablespoon of ascorbic acid in 1/2 cup of distilled water in a blender for 1 min; mix 3 tablespoons of organic sunflower lecithin granules in 1 cup of distilled water in blender for 1 minute; then pour both into a sonic cleaner and stir with wooden spoon for 6-8 minutes.

        Follow the same instructions to make liposomal Gutathione sulfhydryl

        I tablespoon equals 1 gram of liposomal vitamin C.

        You can buy liposomal vitamin C and Glutathione, but it is much more expensive.

        • Any specific brand material you use or anything that is available.

          With the sonic cleaner, what is it? Can you link the actual product you use.

          Thanks again.

          • Hello,

            I’ve used quite frequently a product called liponano C and liponano glutathione, available at supplementclinic.com. Not cheap, but I think worth it.

          • Noel,

            I have found Swanson to trigger sensitivities and quality issues for me before.

            Also, their lecithin does not appear to be organic, nor does it claim no hexane (unless I’m missing something).

            (I am on the spectrum and heavy metal poisoned, with lots of sensitivities.)

            I get my sunflower lecithin for liposomal C here: http://www.mysunflowerlecithin.com/100-organic-liquid-sunflower-lecithin/

            For autism, look into a hair test, the works of Andrew Hall Cutler, and “frequent dose chelation”(google it). Please be very careful with chelation and supplements as a lot of autistic people are mercury-toxic, and a lot of doctors prescribe supplements and chelation protocols which end up damaging the poisoned person more.

            Don’t ever agree to any IVs of chelating agents, glutathione, or ALA. All drag mercury around.

            Also, be aware that mercury does not show up directly in 75%+ of cases. The body stores it, so autistic children tend to actually have unusually *low* levels of hair mercury.

            There are methods of determining, through statistical analysis of a hair mineral test, whether mercury is inducing deranged mineral transport.

            Look into it. 🙂

            Good luck,


            • By the way, also avoid glutathione in general, NAC, MSM, clay, and chlorella if you have a chance of being metal-toxic.

              Low-dose, frequent oral chelation has helped tremendously with many autistic kids, and many have lost their autism diagnosis to date.

          • Oh, also; for making liposomal ANYTHING in a jewelry cleaner, USE A GLASS CONTAINER, OR OTHER INERT CONTAINER.


            Otherwise, you risk encapsulating nickel/metal from the stainless tank while sonicating and giving yourself chronic nickel poisoning.

            Regarding glutathione, there is some debate over whether it’s overused for all ills, even when inappropriate, but I do not know quite enough to lay out the arguments.

            ..save for that metal-poisoned people should not take glutathione unless there is a true cysteine deficiency and things like NAC don’t work. It will messily drag heavy metals about in the body (This is due to the lone SH, sulfhydryl, group – molecules with 2 -SH groups are considered chelators, chemically, and bind tightly enough that a decent percentage of metal is able to be carried to excretion. Glutathione holds weakly to metals with its 1 -SH group, and this causes what is basically lots of loose picking up and dropping-somewhere-else of metal molecules. You do NOT want to redistribute heavy metals if you’re poisoned – this is one of the main causes of getting a lot worse.)

            • (On a final note, if you have “silver” amalgams or strange mental and overall symptoms, there’s an >50% chance you’re metal-poisoned and should learn how to interpret a hair test correctly for toxicity.

              Same goes for autoimmunity, lyme, Parkinson’s, cancers (yes, really; cancers are often found to have extremely high levels of mercury.), and other degenerative/incurable health problems.

              Do be careful if you decide to replace your mercury (“silver”) -containing amalgams.

              Improper removal can cause even more exposure to mercury through the vapors.

              http://iaomt.org/ has resources for safe amalgam removal.

              Metal poisoning’s a lot more common than most folks tend to be aware of, and this is well documented. Some subsection of the population is more vulnerable to accumulating heavy metals. Generally, if one is chronically ill, or has some incurable condition, this vastly increases their likelihood of being in the vulnerable subsection.


        • Hi,

          Where do you buy the Glutathione sulfhydryl?
          And what is the difference between plain Glutathion and Glutathione sulfhydryl?
          Have you been using these self made liposomal products for some time? What is your experience with the home made version?
          Many thanks for your reply.

  115. Chris, as a breastfeeding mother who recently had problems with plugged ducts and ran the risk of mastitis, I discovered that lecithin is recommended as a dietary supplement to minimize the risk of milk clogging up ducts. Of course the only lecithin I could get my hands on was, you guessed it, soy lecithin. Now the recommendation is to up to 1600 mg per day and this is obviously superior to any amounts there may be in chocolate. What do you think about this usage? Do you think I’m just better off continuing to eat several eggs a day?

    • I have this same question as I have also been taking lecithin to prevent future plugged ducts after having a few intense bouts of mastitis during Breastfeeding. Chris will you please comment on this ? Thank you !

    • I too am wondering about soy lecithin and plugged milk ducts. I just took the plunge and went soy/dairy/gluten free last week and woke this am with a plugged duct,. Soy lecithin (in addition to heat, more frequent nursing etc) has been a huge help the few times this has happened in the past. Now I’m on the fence about taking it. Would searching for some sunflower lecithin be a better choice?

      • Soy lecithin was not recommended when I was nursing (now 7 years ago), but I would avoid it because of the phytoestrogens. Plugged ducts can often be cured with hot water bottles on the affected area, gentle massage and drinking lots of water. Also, try having the baby nurse more frequently and start him or her on the affected side until the blockage clears. If the baby doesn’t fully empty one side you can pump the excess if you are worried about repeat blockages. Good luck.

      • Hi Nicole, rather than using soy try cayenne pepper tincture for this will unplug the ducts as well as heal ulcers, purify blood, heal digestion, great for wounds, all digestive disorders, liver, kidney, and the list goes on and on. Soy can’t say this. Also be sure if u do get a cayenne pepper tincture it’s at the least 40,000 heat units (he). Proferably 90,000. The hotter the more healing however starting out 40,000 3-5drops 3x a day would be awesome to start out with and see what great health benefits come to your from cayenne rather than soy.. (be sure it’s a tincture of pure cayenne and not mixed with paprika for that takes away from the healing qualities) God Bless:jason

        • Hi Jason,

          I’ve heard about the wonders of cayenne pepper tincture but don’t really know much about it. Can you use it if you’ve had your galbladder removed?

          Many thanks for your reply.
          With kind regards,

    • The homeopathic remedy “Phytalacca decandra” is very helpful for plugged ducts and mastitis. It helped me many times over my approximately 18 years of nursing five children and it helped the friends I recommended it to as well. I am not very into homeopathy but there are some remedies so effective that I do recommend them.

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