Lecithin consumption raises serum-free-choline levels

Lancet. 1977 Jul 9;2(8028):68-9. doi: 10.1016/s0140-6736(77)90067-8.


Consumption of choline by rats sequentially increases serum-choline, brain-choline, and brain-acetylcholine concentrations. In man consumption of choline increases in levels in the serum and cerebrospinal fluid; its administration is an effective way of treating tardive dyskinesia. We found that oral lecithin is considerably more effective in raising human serum-choline levels than an equivalent quantity of choline chloride. 30 minutes after ingestion of choline chloride (2-3 g free base), serum-choline levels rose by 86% and returned to normal values within 4 hours; 1 hour after lecithin ingestion, these levels rose by 265% and remained significantly raised for 12 hours. Lecithin may therefore be the method of choice for accelerating acetylcholine synthesis by increasing the availability of choline, its precursor in the blood.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Acetylcholine / biosynthesis
  • Administration, Oral
  • Adult
  • Biological Availability
  • Choline / administration & dosage
  • Choline / blood*
  • Dietary Fats / administration & dosage*
  • Dyskinesia, Drug-Induced / drug therapy
  • Humans
  • Phosphatidylcholines / administration & dosage*
  • Phosphatidylcholines / therapeutic use
  • Synapses / metabolism


  • Dietary Fats
  • Phosphatidylcholines
  • Choline
  • Acetylcholine