Choosing the best lecithin granules is usually a matter of knowing what you’re looking for, as well as what you hope to achieve. Before shopping, it’s often a good idea to familiarize yourself with the options as well as some of the most common manufacturing processes. There are usually many different varieties available, and there are also typically a range of textures and sometimes even flavors for sale. Lecithin is usually considered a natural derivative, but this doesn’t mean that all granules are necessarily “all natural.” People who are concerned about chemical additives or the use of animal products usually have to spend a lot of time scrutinizing product labels. It’s also important to remember here that the question of which product is “best” is necessarily subjective and can vary from person to person. Asking for recommendations from friends and family members can be a good place to start, but what’s best for them might not necessarily also be best for you.
Understanding Lecithin Generally
Lecithin comes in many forms, and it can be derived from a number of different sources. The general category is quite broad and encompasses a range of different fatty acids, most of which are derived from nature; soybeans and egg yolks are two of the most popular sources. Granules are a highly concentrated form of lecithin, and they usually have an appearance similar to small grains of rice or barley. People usually choose granules when they want an antioxidant supplement; this is a different use entirely from to the liquid form of lecithin oil, which is commonly used as a fat emulsifier and baking additive during the manufacture of food products.
Antioxidants are chemicals that have the ability to block harmful substances known as “free radicals” which are sometimes present in the body. Popular research suggests, but does not prove, that consuming antioxidants might help prevent certain cancers and other illnesses while promoting overall health. Granules can help achieve this, and might also have additional health benefits, too. Soy lecithin in particular contains large amounts of choline, for instance, which the body needs as an essential nutrient. One standard serving of the granules provides approximately 50% of the choline the body needs every day.
Granules are commonly perceived to be the best type of lecithin supplement, since they contain the highest concentration of lecithin that can be obtained in dietary supplements and they are also usually very easy for the body to absorb and process. The granules are said to be oil-free, since oil content has been removed. This leaves a granular substance, which is then bottled or packaged in bulk form.
Think About the Source
Choosing the best granule is often complicated by the sheer number of choices. Some stores have just one or two varieties, but in most places there are many different options. One of the first things you can do to narrow the decision is to look at how each product is made, and more specifically what it’s made from.
Most granules are manufactured from soybeans, but those derived from egg yolks are also available. Egg products might absorb more quickly and sometimes have a higher concentration of nutrients per serving, but they also tend to be more expensive when compared to lecithin from plant sources. Soy-based granules are widely available and can be obtained at low cost, and can be obtained both prepackaged and in bulk. Prepackaged granules may be contained in bottles of loose granules or in tablet form.
Flavoring and Additive Considerations
Lecithin granules by themselves often have a mild nutty flavor, though some manufacturers also add flavorings to improve the taste. In addition, some have other supplements added, too, such as coenzyme Q10, a substance that helps cells produce energy. Kelp can also be added to the granules, which is popular with bodybuilders due to its high content of iodine and amino acids. The ratio used is generally about 0.004 ounces (100 mg) of kelp to 0.04 ounces (1,200 mg) of soy lecithin.
The only sure way to verify what additives a given product contains is to read the label. Some companies add tricalcium phosphate to reduce clumping of the granules. This is an odorless food additive composed of calcium plus citric acid, which is said to be nontoxic and is used in many foods as a stabilizer. Additionally, lecithin granules that have been preformed into tablets may have one or more of the B vitamins added, such as B-6 or B-12.
Deciphering Labeling Information
Labeling information isn’t always as straightforward as it might seem, and it may take you a bit of time to figure out what exactly it is you’re reading. For instance, numerous labels state “pure lecithin” as the only component of the product. Some labels may simply state “natural soy lecithin.” If it is certified to contain no animal contaminants, it might also state “pure vegan.” While this type of granule does not contain animal products, it is not necessarily derived from organic plant sources, which is of concern to those who do not wish to consume lecithin from genetically engineered soybeans.
Increasingly, it seems that companies have become aware of this preference and many now place “non-GMO” (non-genetically modified organisms) labels on their brand of lecithin granules. Still, if these are important considerations for you, you’ll want to spend the time to be sure you understand what is included in the supplement and where it came from.