Is Sunflower Lecithin Safe during Pregnancy?

    It is common for women to get concerned about their diet plans. No doubt, sometimes it is good to sneak away from a strict diet plan. But the same can’t be said if you are carrying another life with you. It is better to take precautions now instead of regretting later. A lot has been said about the miracles of lecithin can have on your brain, but there is a lot of murmur about lecithin consumption during pregnancy or after birth. So, “Is sunflower lecithin safe to consume during pregnancy?” is one of the common questions asked by women. 

    What is Lecithin?

    Lecithin is a type of fatty substance. It’s key components include phosphorus compounds, phosphatides, and fatty acids.

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    Is Sunflower Lecithin Safe during Pregnancy?

    The simple answer to this question is Yes. Lecithin consumption is harmless during pregnancy. According to most doctors, consuming lecithin up to 5000 mg on a daily level is safe. The recommended level is 1200 mg daily.

     The following points explain how it is safe to consume lecithin in pregnancy: 

    • Lecithin, derived from sunflower, act as a source of High-Density lipoprotein (HDL). HDL helps in lowering cholesterol and risk of heart-related diseases, so it is used as a supplement by most of the people.
    •  Lecithin is a derivative of phosphatidylcholine, which acts as a significant component in the plasma membrane. It helps in membrane formation and repair of cells in the fetus.
    • Aside from developmental effects, it helps in the formation of acetylcholine. Acetylcholine plays an essential role in proper brain functioning. Thus, it helps in brain development.  
    • Reasonable consumption of lecithin is necessary. It ensures that your baby does not suffer from any developmental diseases as it decreases the risk of congenital disabilities.
    • Lecithin promotes the healthy functioning of the liver and placenta.
    Sunflower Lecithin during Pregnancy

    Lecithin consumption in the third trimester:

    Well in the third trimester, a more significant number of developmental changes occur in fetus body. These include:

    • Rapid brain development 
    • Accumulation of fats 
    • Mineralization of bones and teeth

    During the last weeks of pregnancy, rapid brain development of the fetus occurs. Lecithin consumption shouldn’t differ in the third trimester. That being said, choline should be consumed in excess in the third trimester as it is a significant component of acetylcholine. Researchers show that children whose mothers limit their choline consumption show a higher risk of brain-related diseases. Choline supplementation during the third trimester improves the infant information processing speed. Essentially, there’s been proven research that it boosts baby’s brain development.

    Dosage: 

    Lecithin consumption varies from individual to individual based upon their health conditions. For instance, lecithin dosage in a person suffering from liver diseases should be 350 – 500 mg thrice a day. It’s consumption can be increased to 900 mg thrice a day in cholesterol patients. Pregnant women can consume about 700 mg per day. 

    Lecithin Breastfeeding:

    Does sunflower Lecithin help with milk supply?

    Plugged ducts are one of the common problems faced by almost 20 percent of breastfeeding women at some stage. In this condition, the milk fails to flow through the ducts as a result of a clog. Thus, ducts fail to empty the fluid from the breasts. The following situations can cause plugged ducts: 

    • Excess milk production
    • More pressure in breasts
    • Milk gets jammed in ducts due to the thickness

    Doctors usually advise women to increase their dietary intake for lecithin, as it lowers the stickiness of milk. There is no upper limit described by doctors for young children, pregnant women, and people suffering from liver and kidney diseases.

    Sources: 

    If you choose not to take a pill form of lecithin, there are various sources of lecithin in foods which include:

    • Egg yolk 
    • Milk and other dairy products
    • Sunflower
    • Soybeans
    • Meat

    Lecithin Supplementation:

    Now the question arises, “What kind of lecithin for plugged ducts should we consume?”

    Both soy and sunflower lecithin are useful supplements. Typically overconsumption of fatty acids increases the risk of cardiovascular diseases. Fatty acids derived from lecithins are required for the formation of High-Density Lipoprotein (HDL). Unlike Low-density lipoprotein, HDL is good for health. They also decrease cholesterol level by reducing Low-density Lipoproteins. Thus, both soy and sunflower lecithins are good for health, but some people may have sensitivities towards soy based products.

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    Benefits of Lecithin Diet: 

    A large percentage of women face the problem of plugged ducts in the breastfeeding stage. These plugged ducts can lead to mastitis in almost 20 percent of cases. However, doctors advise breastfeeding mothers to consume adequate lecithin. Lecithin contains a more significant proportion of polyunsaturated fatty acids that decreases the thickness of milk. Hence, lecithin increases milk supply to babies. 

    Its other benefits include:

    • Lower cholesterol thus lowers the risk of cardiovascular disorders
    • Treat irritable bowel movements and good for digestion
    • Treat brain-related diseases, such as dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. 

    Overconsumption:

    People who show allergic reaction to various food products should keep an eye on the sources. For instance, some people are allergic to dairy products. They can consume lecithin supplements. Natural food sources of lecithin are safer to utilize instead of supplementation. In order to avoid the risk of other health-related problems, lecithin daily consumption shouldn’t be more than 5000 mg. When people start taking more than usual dietary intake, they often show minor adverse effects. 

    These include:

    • Stomachache and Diarrhea
    • Abdominal discomfort
    • Nausea
    • Loss of appetite

    It is better for people suffering from heart-related diseases to consult a doctor before taking supplementation. 

    Final Word:

    Therefore, we can conclude that sunflower lecithin is safe during pregnancy. Additionally, proper development of the fetus brain requires choline supplementation in the third trimester.

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