Dr. Ron’s Research Review – November 1, 2017


This week’s research review focuses on reducing cholesterol by a high-fat diet plus lecithin by Francis Pottenger.

Francis Pottenger (of the Price-Pottenger Foundation) published an interesting study in The American Journal of Digestive Diseases (Am J Dig Dis) showing that a diet high in fat and cholesterol plus soybean phospholipids reduced hypercholesterolemia in 91 cases, but not in the 31 controls. (Pottenger and Krohn, 1952)
122 hypercholesterolemic patients followed a high- fat diet. 91 of them took a teaspoon of soy bean phospholipids with each meal. The remaining 31 served as controls. The average daily diet contained over 4,000 calories. About 30% to 40% of this was fat, mostly animal fat. The patients were advised to eat internal organs including at least a tablespoon of raw liver and one of raw brains daily; these foods are rich in cholesterol. The daily diet also included a teaspoon of a B-vitamin concentrate extracted from rice-bran. The patients took one teaspoon of soy bean phospholipids with each meal. Soy bean phospholipids include a mixture of 29% lecithin which contains choline, 40% inositol phospholipids, and 31% cephalin. This mixture, plus a low concentration of phytosterols, is used widely in the food industry under the name of "lecithin," and we shall refer to it as such here.
Other investigators have shown that a high-fat diet plus proteins and B-vitamins will relieve fatty degeneration of the liver (12, 37, 5, 6, 22). This paper suggests that a similar diet plus lecithin will relieve hypercholesterolemia. A high-fat diet will not raise the blood cholesterol (62, 61, 40, 60, 59, 26) ; it will not cause fatty degeneration of the liver if the diet contains cer- tain nutritional factors, including proteins (37), especially methionine (6, 22), and lecithin (1, 44, 39, 33, 34); and it will not interfere with liver regeneration (54). On the other hand, a fat-free diet will cause fatty degeneration of the liver by taking the unsaturated fats out of the diet; and one may cure it by returning the unsaturated fats to the diet (17). Fats, then, help to correct lipid dyscrasias.
72 of the 91 hypercholesterolemic patients who took lecithin and fat benefitted: their blood cholesterols dropped 15 mg.% or more. In the remaining 19 patients, the cholesterol stayed the same +/- 15 mg.% in 13 patients and increased 15 mg.% or more in 6. The control patients were also on a high-fat, high cholesterol diet, but they received no lecithin. Approximately the same number of these patients had an increase in cholesterol as had a decrease. The high- fat diet did not affect the blood cholesterol level. Adding lecithin to the diet reduced the cholesterol in 79% of the patients so treated.

Dr. Ron



Reduction of hypercholesterolemia by high-fat diet plus soybean phospholipids.
            (Pottenger and Krohn, 1952b) Download
Some investigators advise a low-fat diet to relieve hypercholesterolemia (48, 58, 38). We gave our hypercholesterolemic patients the opposite diet, one high in fat and cholesterol, plus soybean phospholipids. This paper presents 91 such cases and 31 controls: the blood cholesterol came down notably in the treated cases, but not in the controls.



Pottenger, FM and B Krohn (1952), ‘Reduction of hypercholesterolemia by high-fat diet plus soybean phospholipids.’, Am J Dig Dis, 19 (4), 107-9. PubMed: 14914738