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Phospholipids are not widely known, but they are undoubtedly a brain essential, as omega-3 fats or arachidonic acid must be attached to them to work. There are a number of kinds of phospholipids, all starting with ‘phosphatidyl’. These are:

Phosphatidyl serine (PC)

Phosphatidyl inositol (PI)

Phosphatidyl ethanolamine (PE)

They then get attached to an omega-3 fat, for example DHA, to build that brain-cell membrane. So that’s:

Phosphatidyl + choline + DHA = PC-DHA, sometimes called phosphorylated DHA

The more PC-DHA you have, the lower your risk of Alzheimer’s, and the less you have, the greater your risk. Those with Alzheimer’s have 2.5 times less in their blood and 20 per cent less grey matter (brain volume). [1]

Phosphatidyl choline (PC) is also the raw material for the brain to make one of its most important neurotransmitters, acetylcholine. The first generation of drugs for dementia were based on helping to protect acetylcholine and stop it breaking down.

These critical phospholipids, while making up a large part of your brain, have until recently been sidelined because they are ‘semi-essential’, meaning we can make them to a limited extent but don’t make enough, hence they are, like vitamins and essential fats, an essential part of our diet. The phosphatidyl part is easy to make; it’s the other part, choline, serine, etc., that we have to eat.

Therefore, most people, especially those not eating eggs or fish, must supplement choline, ideally as phosphatidyl choline. The most direct source of choline is from soya-derived lecithin granules and capsules. A flat tablespoon of lecithin granules (7.5g), which has a neutral and pleasant taste and can be sprinkled on cereals, or in shakes and soups, or eaten as is, provides 1,500mg of phosphatidylcholine and around 200mg (13 per cent) of choline. Some ‘high-phosphatidyl choline’ lecithin, sometimes called ‘high-PC lecithin’ is 18 per cent choline, thus you need less – approximately a flat dessertspoon.

One tablespoon of lecithin granules equals three 1,200mg lecithin capsules (if ‘high-PC’, two capsules would suffice). two lecithin 1,200mg capsules a day, which gives 250mg of phosphatidyl choline which is the ideal daily amount to achieve.

Total Phospholipids (mg)Lecithin (mg)
Serving Size (Caps/Amt)
Higher NatureMind-Advanced Brain Nutrients (PC & PS)29002
Higher Nature
Mind Health-Phosphatidyl Serine
LambertsSoy Lecithin012001
HolfordDirectLecithin High Strength024002
HolfordDirectBrain Food Upgrade Pack024002
NutriGoldSunflower Lecithin Powder500001 tsp

HOLFORDirect offers FFB a 10% discount. 
Visit and use this discount code FFBBRAIN to claim your discount.

  • HOLFORDirect: Lecithin High Strength – get it here
  • HOLFORDDirect: Brain Food Pack (includes Connect, Omega-3 & Lecithin) – get it here

HOLFORDirect will match the discount with a 10% donation to the charity to support essential research and education.


[1] Schaefer EJ, Bongard V, Beiser AS, Lamon-Fava S, Robins SJ, Au R, Tucker KL, Kyle DJ, Wilson PW, Wolf PA. Plasma phosphatidylcholine docosahexaenoic acid content and risk of dementia and Alzheimer disease: the Framingham Heart Study. Arch Neurol. 2006 Nov;63(11):1545-50. doi: 10.1001/archneur.63.11.1545. PMID: 17101822; see also Selley ML. A metabolic link between S-adenosylhomocysteine and polyunsaturated fatty acid metabolism in Alzheimer’s disease. Neurobiol Aging. 2007 Dec;28(12):1834-9. doi: 10.1016/j.neurobiolaging.2006.08.003. Epub 2006 Sep 25. PMID: 16996649; see also Whiley L, Sen A, Heaton J, Proitsi P, García-Gómez D, Leung R, Smith N, Thambisetty M, Kloszewska I, Mecocci P, Soininen H, Tsolaki M, Vellas B, Lovestone S, Legido-Quigley C; AddNeuroMed Consortium. Evidence of altered phosphatidylcholine metabolism in Alzheimer’s disease. Neurobiol Aging. 2014 Feb;35(2):271-8. doi: 10.1016/j.neurobiolaging. 2013.08.001. Epub 2013 Sep 13. PMID: 24041970; PMCID: PMC5866043; see also Yuki D, Sugiura Y, Zaima N, Akatsu H, Takei S, Yao I, Maesako M, Kinoshita A, Yamamoto T, Kon R, Sugiyama K, Setou M. DHA-PC and PSD-95 decrease after loss of synaptophysin and before neuronal loss in patients with Alzheimer’s disease. Sci Rep. 2014 Nov 20;4:7130. doi: 10.1038/srep07130. PMID: 25410733; PMCID: PMC5382699.