Intravenous Therapies: Phosphatidylcholine

What is it?

Phosphatidylcholine (PC) is a phospholipid that is one of the main components of lecithin. Lecithin is found in all cell membranes and plays a major role in maintaining the fluidity of the cell by affecting what enters and leaves the cell through the cell membrane. In the body, phosphatidylcholine is a major supplier of choline, which is a precursor to acetylcholine(1). Acetylcholine is an excitatory neurotransmitter essential to proper muscle, brain and nerve function.   Schedule an appointment.

Hepatitis B & C Support:

PC is an important supplement for liver health and has shown significant benefits to patients with Hepatitis B and C (2). In a double-blind trial, two groups of people with progressing liver damage from chronic hepatitis B on standard therapy were examined. After one year subjects taking phosphatidylcholine have clinically stabilized, with significant improvement of liver structure, whereas the disease has progressed in the placebo group (3). In a multicenter, double-blind trial, patients with chronic viral hepatitis B or C were begun on interferon alpha for 24 weeks, then were randomized to phosphatidylcholine or a placebo for 24 weeks. Significantly more patients responded to PC, particularly in the hepatitis C subgroup (4). In addition, PC supplementation sustained a longer term improvement from hepatitis C over another 24 weeks (5).

Energy/Fatigue Support:

As a precursor to the excitatory neurotransmitter acetylcholine, it is reasonable to expect PC to affect energy levels and to reduce fatigue. In various sports activities PC supplementation has enhanced performance where exercise has depleted choline concentrations (5). Although more research is needed in this area, other populations with depleted choline concentrations who may benefit from PC supplementation include people with chronic fatigue and fatigue secondary to cancer. At GWCIM we found that patients suffering from fatigue from various causes were benefiting from phosphatidylcholine administered intravenously.

Mold and Other Toxicities

We have used PC successfully to treat a number of patients with different toxicity-related syndromes,  most commonly for mold toxicity.  Chronic mold toxicity is very complex and requires a comprehensive treatment approach, in which PC is one of the key elements.

Brain Injury from Strokes or Trauma

There is a growing understanding of the critical role the cell membrane lipids play in brain cells recovery.  PC is one of the key membrane lipids, and its use has been suggested as an effective treatment for strokes and traumatic brain injury.(6)

Safety:

Standard toxicological assessments indicate no significant acute or chronic toxicity from PC, as well as no mutagenicity and no teratogenicity. PC is well tolerated at daily intakes of up to 18 grams. (7) PC is not recommended for people taking acetylcholinesterase (AChE) inhibitor medications since this combination may excessively increase acetylcholine levels and potentially cause cholinergic side effects.

References:

  1. Zeisel SH, Blusztajn JK. Choline and human nutrition. Annu Rev Nutr 1994;14:269-296.
  2. Phosphatidylcholine. Altern Med Rev. 2002 Apr;7(2):150-4.
  3. Jenkins PJ, Portmann BP. Use of polyunsaturated phosphatidyl choline in HBsAg negative chronic active hepatitis: results of prospective double-blind controlled trial. Liver 1982;2:77-81.
  4. Niederau C, Strohmeyer G, Heintges T, Peter K, Göpfert E. Polyunsaturated phosphatidyl-choline and interferon alpha for treatment of chronic hepatitis B and C: a multi-center, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. Hepatogastroenterology. 1998
  5. Jäger R, Purpura M, Kingsley M. Phospholipids and sports performance. J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2007 Jul 25;4:5.
  6. Ali Mousavi S, Khorvash F, Hoseini T. The efficacy of citroline in the treatment of ischemic stroke and primary hypertensive intracereral hemorrhage; a review article. ARYA Atheroscler. 2010 Fall;6(3):122-5.
  7. Kidd PM. Phosphatidylcholine, a superior protectant against liver damage. Altern Med Rev 1996;1:258-274.

Resources:

Phosphatidylcholine (PC)

In addition to the above listed infusions we provide other individualized formulas. We also work closely with several practices across the country to provide continuity infusions during patients’ travels. If your physician prescribed a specific nutritional IV formula, we may be able to provide it for you. Please contact us directly at 202-833-5055 if you have questions.