While we aren’t enthusiastic about soy products in general, certain derivatives, such as soy lecithin, might be useful for cognitive enhancement and other health benefits. Even though soy lecithin seems to have many benefits, including phosphatidylcholine and phosphatidylserine, it is not the most efficient source of choline for enhanced cognition.
Soy lecithin may be one of the most ubiquitous supplements for choline (and it is certainly the cheapest), but it is the least efficient and we would advise using a different type of choline source if that is your main purpose.
Otherwise, there are some unique benefits (such as the phosphatidylserine), which make soy lecithin a potentially novel nootropic compound.
Editors’ Thoughts on Soy Lecithin
I have never had a positive opinion of soy lecithin until doing the research for this profile. Typically, the only time anyone discusses soy lecithin within the nootropics community is as a choline source for which it is not that great. I’m a big believer in CDP choline and alpha GPC rather than soy lecithin.
That being said, it seems at the right doses, soy lecithin confers some other benefits I didn’t know about (serine and inositol), which may be effective in other ways. I’ve never tried it, but I’d say the jury is still out.
Mansal Denton, Nootropedia Editor
Benefits of Soy Lecithin
Most of the research around soy lecithin seems to revolve around cholesterol and heart disease, which are important, but not for Nootropedia’s focus. For many nootropics users, soy lecithin is considered to be a cognitive enhancer via choline-providing properties. The soy lecithin provides phosphatidylcholine, which is then broken into choline and further to acetylcholine.
As we will explore further below, this is useful, but not nearly as useful as other forms of choline compared to the soy lecithin. Besides the choline boost, soy lecithin benefits include a reduction of stress. One study used a social stress test on 80 subjects and found that 2 grams of soy lecithin could reduce perceived stress .
This reduction of stress either facilitates (or is the cause of) a reduction of cortisol as well . Some of the reasons soy lecithin has stress reduction capabilities is because of the added phosphatidyl groups that come alongside the choline.
One of these is inositol, which is a potential way to combat Alzheimer’s disease  and can reduce symptoms of anxiety as well .
Phosphatidylserine from Soy Lecithin
There are a host of studies around phosphatidylserine and various cognitive benefits. Soy lecithin provides the stress-relieving aspects most probably through phosphatidylserine. Studies on this unique molecule suggest it can reduce cortisol levels in the elderly .
Beyond that confirmation, phosphatidylserine provides enhancements in cognition and prevents cognitive decline. In one study, 18 subjects were able to increase their mental speed by 20% and improve their accuracy (13% more right, 39% less wrong) on the battery of tests. .
Increasing cognitive performance with soy lecithin isn’t the only benefit of phosphatidylserine. A 6 month trial with nearly 80 participants showed cognitive decline and dementia seriously declined with supplementation of phosphatidylserine .
This unique molecule can be supplemented by itself or consumed in many fish products, but for many it may be useful to combine the choline and serine sources together for a more holistic product.
Alternative Sources vs. Soy Lecithin
The phosphatidylserine seems to be a great side ingredient from soy lecithin, but if choline is what you’re after, there are better.
Alpha GPC – this form of choline is known to be the most choline by weight (up to 40%) and it is highly potent for pure choline supplementation. It is one of the two options that we would consider a good choline source.
Studies on alpha GPC show that it can help to reduce cognitive decline (via the cholinergic system in the brain) in both healthy and elderly individuals .
CDP Choline – here is another high quality form of choline that you can use for cognitive enhancement. Using CDP choline might be a higher dose than A-GPC, but it will still be effective and provide outside benefits (such as uridine).
Using CDP choline can increase working memory  and there are a host of cognitive benefits that come mostly cholinergic mechanisms.
Choline Bitartrate – while the above two choline sources are good, bitartrate is not. Not only is the dose far higher because it is inefficient, but the product does not produce the same results according to much of the evidence.
While soy lecithin is not much better than choline bitartrate (for the purposes of choline), it does have other merits as we have described above.
Side Effects of Soy Lecithin
Soy lecithin is a relatively mild product of soybeans and thus does not have many side effects. Consuming too much of the drug might create soy lecithin side effects, but in general this is not a common concern.
Some people take extremely high doses of lecithin in order to confer enough choline. Many people in the nootropics community use soy lecithin as a choline source for piracetam or aniracetam, which can be useful for some and create side effects for others.
If you are planning to take a higher dose than the recommended range, we suggest you do so slowly and methodically. Do not jump straight to the highest range.
Soy Lecithin Dosage
The soy lecithin dosage is anywhere between 500 – 2000 mg per day for starting out. However, to use soy lecithin as a nootropic for cognitive enhancement, the dose range is closer to 7500 mg per day.
As we have mentioned above, it is important to not consume such high doses of soy lecithin (or any drug) immediately. Using the Alexander Shulgin method , which can help you to test yourself and whether the drug is harmful.
How and Where to Buy Soy Lecithin
In any grocery or health food store, it’s easy to buy soy lecithin. There are numerous vendors selling various products because this is ubiquitous. As with any supplement, soy lecithin for sale at a grocery store is going to be far more expensive than you can find online.
The safety of soy lecithin makes it possible to find the cheapest soy lecithin on a platform like Amazon. Deciding to buy soy lecithin online will not save you a lot of money per se, but it will help you to get reviews from other enthusiasts, find the best deal, and use reputable brands.
Selected Community Experiences
“Start with 1g a day for nootropic purposes. If you want bigger loads (indication #2) raise dose to 10g a day. Good luck, lecithin is actually pretty good as a nootropic, not so much as a choline source.”  – OakFad
- References (Click to Expand)