Last update Nov. 24, 2020


Very Low Risk

Safe. Compatible. Minimal risk for breastfeeding and infant.

It is composed by a complex mixture of phospholipids (phosphatidylcholine, phosphatidylserine, phosphatidylinositol) as a part of cell membranes and found in large amounts in the seed oil of several plants (soy, sunflower, and colza), egg yolk and liver.

They are used in the food and pharmaceutical industry as softener and stabilizer. Also, as a medication for hyperlipidemia control. It has been also added to pumped breast milk to lessen loss of fat due to adherence to the surface of tubes used for enteral feeding (Chan 2003).

It is naturally found in the plasma, and, at higher levels in human milk. The mature milk contains more Coline than the colostrum or the mother milk of prematures (Ilcol 2005, Holmes 2000 y 1996). This content is also higher in breast milk than in industrial formulas (Holmes 1996).

When used as a supplement, the concentration of Coline is moderately increased in the plasma, the milk and the serum of the infant (Davenport 2015, Fischer 2010). Supplementation with Coline does not enhance the cognitive capability of the infant (Cheatham 2012).
It is used in the treatment of mastitis, blocked ducts, nipple blisters or milk blebs (Zheng 2020, McGuire 2015, Scott 2005), although there is not scientific evidence of its effectiveness.

No adverse effects have been reported. Since a lack of toxicity at usual doses, it is believed to be safe while breastfeeding with a moderate use.

See below the information of these related products:

  • Flaxseed (Possibly safe. Probably compatible. Mild risk possible. Follow up recommended. Read the Comment.)
  • Soy (Possibly safe. Probably compatible. Mild risk possible. Follow up recommended. Read the Comment.)


We do not have alternatives for Lecithin since it is relatively safe.

Suggestions made at e-lactancia are done by APILAM team of health professionals, and are based on updated scientific publications. It is not intended to replace the relationship you have with your doctor but to compound it. The pharmaceutical industry contraindicates breastfeeding, mistakenly and without scientific reasons, in most of the drug data sheets.

Jose Maria Paricio, Founder & President of APILAM/e-Lactancia

Your contribution is essential for this service to continue to exist. We need the generosity of people like you who believe in the benefits of breastfeeding.

Thank you for helping to protect and promote breastfeeding.

José María Paricio, founder of e-lactancia.

Other names

Lecithin is also known as

Lecithin in other languages or writings:


Main tradenames from several countries containing Lecithin in its composition:


  1. Zheng T, Chen W, Hu H, Wang Y, Harnett JE, Ung COL. The prevalence, perceptions and behaviors associated with traditional/complementary medicine use by breastfeeding women living in Macau: a cross-sectional survey study. BMC Complement Med Ther. 2020 Apr 21;20(1):122. Abstract
  2. Davenport C, Yan J, Taesuwan S, Shields K, West AA, Jiang X, Perry CA, Malysheva OV, Stabler SP, Allen RH, Caudill MA. Choline intakes exceeding recommendations during human lactation improve breast milk choline content by increasing PEMT pathway metabolites. J Nutr Biochem. 2015 Abstract
  3. McGuire E. Case study: white spot and lecithin. Breastfeed Rev. 2015 Abstract
  4. Cheatham CL, Goldman BD, Fischer LM, da Costa KA, Reznick JS, Zeisel SH. Phosphatidylcholine supplementation in pregnant women consuming moderate-choline diets does not enhance infant cognitive function: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. Am J Clin Nutr. 2012 Abstract Full text (link to original source) Full text (in our servers)
  5. Fischer LM, da Costa KA, Galanko J, Sha W, Stephenson B, Vick J, Zeisel SH. Choline intake and genetic polymorphisms influence choline metabolite concentrations in human breast milk and plasma. Am J Clin Nutr. 2010 Abstract Full text (link to original source) Full text (in our servers)
  6. Ilcol YO, Ozbek R, Hamurtekin E, Ulus IH. Choline status in newborns, infants, children, breast-feeding women, breast-fed infants and human breast milk. J Nutr Biochem. 2005 Abstract
  7. Scott CR. Lecithin: it isn't just for plugged milk ducts and mastitis anymore. Midwifery Today Int Midwife. 2005 Abstract
  8. Chan MM, Nohara M, Chan BR, Curtis J, Chan GM. Lecithin decreases human milk fat loss during enteral pumping. J Pediatr Gastroenterol Nutr. 2003 Abstract
  9. Holmes HC, Snodgrass GJ, Iles RA. Changes in the choline content of human breast milk in the first 3 weeks after birth. Eur J Pediatr. 2000 Abstract
  10. Holmes-McNary MQ, Cheng WL, Mar MH, Fussell S, Zeisel SH. Choline and choline esters in human and rat milk and in infant formulas. Am J Clin Nutr. 1996 Abstract Full text (link to original source) Full text (in our servers)
  11. Holmes HC, Snodgrass GJ, Iles RA. The choline content of human breast milk expressed during the first few weeks of lactation. Biochem Soc Trans. 1996 Abstract Full text (link to original source) Full text (in our servers)

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