June 6, 1903


JAMA. 1903;XL(23):1584-1585. doi:10.1001/jama.1903.02490230036003

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Although lecithin is a constant constituent of all kinds of cells, and therefore an ingredient of all foods, the manner in which it is absorbed and utilized is unknown. Its constancy in the cells, both of animals and plants, and the large amounts that exist in the central nervous system, are sufficient evidence that it must play some important part in life processes, but what these are is little more than surmised. On the other hand, its composition, although very complex, is well understood. Shorn of technicalities it is a fat which has had one of the three fatty acid groups replaced by phosphoric acid, to which is attached a nitrogenous body, cholin. It is the presence of this last group that makes the substance of particular interest, for the body cholin, although not very toxic itself, is easily converted into an extremely poisonous substance, neurin. It may also be

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