Phosphatidylcholine (PC) is one of the most important nutrients required for optimal health, and IV PC therapy offers significant neurological support for those with brain trauma, stroke, and neurodegeneration. Most adults do not obtain enough of this valuable nutrient through diet alone. Research shows that IV PC is highly bioavailable, making IV phosphatidylcholine an easy way to increase PC in the body.
What is PC and how does it work?
Phosphatidylcholine is the basic building block of the membranes of every cell in the body. Without PC, cells age faster and do not function at their best, affecting many aspects of our health. Phosphatidylcholine (PC) is a phospholipid attached to a choline particle. Phospholipids contain fatty acids, glycerol, and phosphorous. The phosphorous part of the phospholipid substance — the lecithin — is made up of PC. For this reason, the terms phosphatidylcholine and lecithin are often used interchangeably, although they’re different. Foods that contain lecithin are the best dietary sources of PC. Although PC is traditionally used to support brain health, it can also support liver function and keep cholesterol levels in check.
Specifically for brain health, research shows that PC increases our levels of acetylcholine (ACh), which is one of the major neurotransmitters in the central, peripheral, and autonomic nervous systems.
Why is Acetylcholine (ACh) so important?
Acetylcholine is a major neurotransmitter associated with a number of critical functions including memory, learning, movement, REM sleep, organ function, and cognition.
Acetylcholine can be found in all motor neurons, where it stimulates muscles to contract. From the movements of the stomach and heart to the blink of an eye, all of the body’s movements involve the actions of this important neurotransmitter.
In the peripheral nervous system, this neurotransmitter is a major part of the somatic nervous system and works to activate muscles. Within this system, it plays an excitatory role leading to the activation of muscles.
Within the autonomic nervous system, acetylcholine controls a number of functions by acting on preganglionic neurons in the sympathetic and parasympathetic systems. It is also the neurotransmitter released at all parasympathetic innervated organs, promoting contraction of smooth muscles, dilation of blood vessels, increased body secretions, and a slower heart rate.
Other Health Benefits of PC
LIVER HEALTH & FUNCTION
Phosphatidylcholine is a major component of the membranes of the liver cells (hepatocytes). As such, it provides significant protection for the liver, probably because good liver health requires the ongoing replacement of old cell membranes with healthy new ones. Phosphatidylcholine has been shown in numerous studies to protect liver cells from damage from a variety of toxins, including ethanol, carbon tetrachloride, trichloroethylene (used in dry cleaning and as a degreasing solvent), and mushroom toxins. A high-fat diet is known to negatively affect the liver. It may cause nonalcoholic fatty liver disease or cirrhosis of the liver. According to a 2010 study, PC helped reduce lipids that can lead to a fatty liver (hepatic lipids) in a high-fat diet.
Some medications, such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), can cause severe gastrointestinal side effects with extended use. This includes stomach pain, gastric bleeding, and intestinal perforation. According to a 2012 study, long-term NSAID use may disrupt a phospholipid layer of the gastrointestinal tract. This may cause gastrointestinal injury. Research has shown that PC may help prevent NSAID-related gastrointestinal damage.
FAT METABOLISM & CHOLESTEROL
Phosphatidylcholine is an important component of the lipids that circulate in the bloodstream, and is a major constituent of bile, which is necessary to metabolize fats. Phosphatidylcholine also has the potential to decrease the absorption of dietary cholesterol, which helps maintain a normal cholesterol level.