A lipid it’s a organic compound that is generated from a process of esterification of alcohols with fatty acids. Esterifying is the action that takes place when an alcohol (or a phenol) and an acid come together and form an ester.
There are different classes of lipids. The phospholipids are those who have phosphoric acid in its composition. These lipids are found in active membranes of the cells and they are very relevant to the body.
According to the structure that is attached to phosphoric acid, it is possible to differentiate between phosphatidylinositol, the phosphatidylserine, the phosphatidylcholine, the phosphatidylethanolamine and other types of phospholipids. One of the peculiarities of phospholipids is that they are amphipathic: their molecules they have a part that is soluble in water (that is, hydrophilic) and another that is not (hydrophobic).
It is important to note that foods rich in phospholipids, such as milk, lard (butter), almonds, peanuts, wheat germ, liver, walnuts, soybeans and egg yolk, provide various benefits to the organism. At a general level, it can be said that they contribute to regulating the cholesterolThey help the lung function properly and allow the activation of enzymes.
Phospholipids are often called lecithins. However, lecithin is a specific phospholipid: the aforementioned phosphatidylcholine. Lecithin is key to transforming fat into Energy, since it allows it to be preserved in small particles that are quickly burned by the body. These phospholipids, on the other hand, act as natural diuretics (prevent fluid retention) and have antioxidant properties.
In a large number of food we can find phospholipids, more precisely in its cell membrane. The amount in which we usually ingest them is between 2 and 8 grams per day, a value that represents approximately 1.1 percent of the total consumption of lipids within the normal diet of the human being.
Returning to the concept of lecithin, we can say that it is used very frequently as a additive, either as an emulsifier, dispersant or stabilizer and this can be applied by means of intravenous or intramuscular injections, for example. In the specific case of margarine, this phospholipid acts as an emulsifier, giving the product its characteristic texture and consistency; if we focus on chocolate, on the other hand, it helps to make food powders available.
Through the action of phospholipases A1 and A2, two enzymes of the pancreas, phospholipids are digested in the intestine by an average of 90%. Said enzymes act by selectively hydrolyzing the fatty acids of the glycerol molecule, and thus generate those of lysophospholipids. It should be noted that these phospholipases act in an exclusive way: if one performs the hydrolyzation, then the other will not exert any action on the product resulting.
A concept used in this context is that of bioavailability: it is the speed at which a nutrient is absorbed from a food, and the proportion in which this occurs in our organism to later be used in its normal functions. Several studies carried out in children show that phospholipids are better absorbed in a normal diet than triglycerides (a type of fat found in the blood).
While the triglycerides They cannot dissolve in water but require laborious enzymatic processes and the intervention of bile salts so that micelles are formed that can be absorbed by the small intestine, phospholipids do not present major complications for their digestion and distribution in the body of the being human. Another benefit of phospholipids can be seen in the treatment of inflammatory processes, where they offer a significant reduction in symptoms.