Lecithin can be found in many foods, including sunflower seeds. It is rich in fats called phospholipids, which are essential to the cells of the body by making up the cell membrane. This cell membrane structure is critical for signal transduction – how cells talk to each other and to other molecules in the body. Phospholipids help maintain proper electrical energy and nutrient transfer across the cell membrane, especially in the brain, making them key factors in learning and memory. They are also lipotropic compounds, meaning they help catalyze the breakdown of fat during metabolism and convert it into other useful products. The lecithin in sunflowers is a rich source of phosphatidyl choline and inositol. Choline helps make the neurotransmitter acetylcholine in the brain which transmits nerve impulses and is essential for optimal brain function. Acetylcholine also works in the peripheral nervous system to activate muscles. Another important role of choline is in the liver, aiding detoxification and the export of fat.
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