Lecithin for Breastfeeding-Does it help Plugged Ducts?

How does lecithin help plugged ducts while breastfeeding? How is it and what is the dosage? Are there any side effects or dangers to the mother or the infant? Read on to find out.

Lecithin Breastfeeding- How Does Lecithin for Plugged Ducts Work?

Plugged in ducts occur when the milk passage ways become blocked. They are common problems that arise when breast feeding. They happen when milk is not drained fully from breast or when there is so much pressure inside the breast. Milk gets backed up inside the duct and the milk may become thick hence not flowing properly.

This condition can result to painful episodes for both the mother and the child suckling milk. You are likely to become fussy if the condition persists for longer than expected. The condition might resolve  a day or two on its own but if the condition persists, then lecithin is used as a remedy.

The normal dose recommended for this condition is usually about 3600-4800mg per day or rather one capsule (1200mg) three to four times daily. If the condition improves or resolves in a week or two, then you could consider reducing the dose by one capsule.

Continuous improvement should prompt continuous reduction of dose by one capsule at each instance. The main reason or the mechanisms with which lecithin provides relief is not vivid yet. However, suggestions and postulations have been put forward to explain this. One possible explanation was offered by Dr. Jack Newman as outlined below:

“It may do this by decreasing the viscosity (stickiness) of the milk by increasing the percentage of polyunsaturated fatty acids in the milk.”

This explanation seems dependable and workable because lecithin is an emulsifier i.e. used to keep fats/ oils dispersed in the suspension. Furthermore, lecithin has hydrophobic and hydrophilic elements which play different roles. The hydrophobic part has high affinity for fats and oils while the hydrophilic part has great affinity for water.[1]

lecithin breast feeding plugged ducts
Illustration of plugged ducts-Image source WikiHow

Lecithin Supplement Breastfeeding Dosage-Capsules, Pills, Tablets

How or in what forms do you take lecithin for breastfeeding?

Suppository: an example is the lecicarbon which is a cream colored, homogenous, torpedo shaped suppository; packed in PVC/PE blisters of five, with batch number and expiry date embossed. It is safe to be used during breastfeeding because the developed carbon dioxide will not be excreted in the human breast milk. Rarely Soya Lecithin has been known to cause allergic reactions. The insertion of the suppository can very occasionally cause a slight burning sensation, which quickly disappears.[3]

Soft gels: It is useful both in pregnancy and lactation but after close consultation with the doctor. You should terminate the use immediately your doctor advises on the occurrence of side effects. It should be kept away from the reach of children.

Capsules: An example is the Swanson premium which is available in 500mg 100 caps.

Tablets: An example is the L-Arginine 100mg, 120 Tablets. It helps with muscle soreness and it is also crucial for muscle structure and function.

Granules: beneficial to the brain, nervous system and liver. Keeps the brain functioning at the top of its game with natural brain support.

Powder:  An example is the organic protein brand. Includes 1 (2.03lb) Organic Plant Based Sweet Vanilla Bean Protein Power Ideal for healthy, on-the-go nourishment for busy professionals, moms, athletes and students. 21g Organic Plant Based Protein, 5g Organic Fiber, 3g Net Carbs, 150 Calories per Serving Gluten Free, Kosher, Vegan, Non-GMO, Soy Free.

How are the different forms used for mastitis and what is the dosage?

The different of lecithin supplements available are capsules, granules as well as liquids. The best and the most used is the granule form. To benefit from this, stir the granules quickly into juice or milk. The substance does not dissolve but rather drift about as you drink. Lecithin granules may as well be used as a topping on any cold food.

One tablespoon (7.5 grams) of lecithin granules contains about 1700 mg of phosphatidyl choline, 1000 mg of phosphatidyl inositol and about 2,200 mg of essential fatty acids as linoleic acid. Similarly, it contains the valuable fish-oil-like, omega-3 linolenic acid. Daily dose of this supplement is mostly about three tablespoons a day.

According to “The Doctor’s Vitamin and Mineral Encyclopedia” by Sheldon Saul Hendler, MD, Ph.D. (1990, p. 258-269), the maximum dosage of lecithin is 50 grams per day. The maximum dosage recommendation for recurrent plugged ducts is 4.8 grams per day–less than 1/10 of the maximum recommended dosage.[4]

Lecithin Breastfeeding Side Effects-How safe is it for Nursing Mothers & Infants

Lecithin fulfills an excellent safety profile. It is classified as a GRAS (Generally Recognized as Safe) product. Substances that receive GRAS classification have a long and safe history of common use in foods.[5] Despite its many benefits, it can cause some side effects that include diarrhea, nausea, abdominal pain or fullness. Little is known about their side effects specifically in pregnant or breast feeding women.

Tips to use Lecithin While Breastfeeding

Soy lecithin has a number of benefits, but it may not always be appropriate for breast-feeding women. Some infants have soy allergies. According to kellymom.com, a popular online breast-feeding resource, soy is among the more common infant allergies. Most women who eat soy regularly, on the contrary, there is little cause for concern; it is not common for infants to be allergic to anything in their mother’s breast milk.

If your baby is allergic to soy, it may be noticeably fussier after you feed it, or it may develop a substantial rash. Vomiting and diarrhea are also common signs of food allergies in breast-fed babies. Women whose babies show signs of allergic reactions to the soy in their breast milk may have to look elsewhere for their protein until they are done nursing.

Most breast-feeding women could accrue so much benefit from soy lecithin and should not worry about its safety. According to the University of Michigan, while protein supplements are not always necessary, there is little harm in using them if you can burn all of the extra protein you ingest.[6] Most importantly, consult with your health care provider before you begin any dose of lecithin. Only use high grade supplements of lecithin with the right dose for you to gain the full benefits and reduce the side effects.

More Tips to deal with clogged Milk Duct- Natural Remedies, Probiotics etc.

Recommended Further Reading 


[1] http://kellymom.com/nutrition/vitamins/lecithin/

[3] https://www.medicines.org.uk/emc/medicine/28292

[4] http://kellymom.com/nutrition/vitamins/lecithin/

[5] http://www.clarocet.com/lecithin/

[6] http://www.livestrong.com/article/474868-soy-protein-breast-feeding/

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