Sunflower Lecithin Used for Plugged Ducts - Legendairy Milk

Sunflower Lecithin Used for Plugged Ducts

By: Sabrina Granniss, IBCLC

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4 min

Are you struggling with a painful plugged duct? Sunflower lecithin is a natural supplement that can help clear those stubborn blockages and prevent them from developing into mastitis. Sunflower lecithin is an emulsifier. Its properties play a role in brain development for your baby and can support overall health. Learn effective techniques for working out plugged ducts, explore their causes, and what to keep in mind with long-term lecithin use. Don't let discomfort hinder your breastfeeding journey.

About lecithin and its properties

Lecithin is found in plant and animal sources. It was first discovered in eggs in 1846, and its name was influenced by the Greek word Lekithos, meaning egg yolk. (1)  Lecithin is a phospholipid involved in metabolization within a cell, like a gatekeeper helping food and energy to enter a cell and waste to leave the cell. It supports brain, immune, and digestive health. 


Choline is required in our body to make a neurotransmitter called acetylcholine, which acts as a messenger in the autonomic nervous system. (2) It signals muscle contractions, is essential for memory and mood, and plays a role in gut health. Lecithin breaks down in the digestive system into choline and fatty acids. Choline is in breast milk and is critical to your baby’s brain development. (4)


As an emulsifier, lecithin works by breaking down fats into smaller molecules and mixing them together with other liquids. Added to salad dressings, it is what keeps the oil and vinegar from separating. Lecithin is added to chocolate, making it very smooth and silky. 


Soy lecithin and sunflower lecithin are two of the most common emulsifiers added to foods we find at the store and sold as supplements. In the USA, most soybeans are genetically modified and can damage the gut. (3) 


Sunflower is not a common GMO crop and is an alternative to soy lecithin. Unlike soy, sunflower oil is not a common allergen. Instead of using chemicals to extract the lecithin, sunflower lecithin uses a cold-press method that does not require chemicals.

Sunflower lecithin’s nutritional profile: (5)

  • Phosphorus
  • Potassium
  • Calcium
  • Iron
  • Choline
  • Inositol
  • Omega-3 fatty acids
  • Omega-6 fatty acids
  • When taken with food, it can help absorb fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K.

Plugged ducts

A plugged duct results from milk being unable to flow through an area in the milk ducts. The inflammation of the duct makes the duct more narrow, creating a clog behind the narrowed area, and the spot can feel tender or even painful from the area being inflamed. You may feel a small pea-sized lump under the skin where the clog is. It can be more challenging for your baby to get the milk flowing if it is backed up due to a clog, so they may be fussy when nursing on that side.


Legendairy Milk’s Sunflower lecithin lactation supplement can help discourage milk’s fat molecules from clumping together. It makes the milk less sticky by breaking the fat molecules down in your milk into smaller particles so it can flow more freely through the ducts and get the clog out. Sunflower lecithin works quickly. Most parents see results in 24 - 48 hours. Leaving plugged ducts untreated can lead to mastitis. If you experience recurrent plugged ducts, it is recommended to meet with a skilled IBCLC (International Board Certified Lactation Consultant)  to identify the root cause and why you are experiencing recurrent clogs.

Causes of plugged ducts:

  • Skipping feedings or going too long between nursing or removing milk
  • Oversupply
  • Improper pump flange fit
  • Dehydration
  • Stress
  • Baby is not able to latch deeply and remove milk efficiently
  • Oral restrictions

Working out a plugged duct:

  • Very gentle stroking with your hand around where the plugged duct is, including further up the ducts behind where the clog is.
  • Too much pressure can cause damage, so use a very light touch
  • Apply cold compresses between milk removals to reduce inflammation and a warm, not hot, compress only right before feeding to encourage milk flow
  • Probiotics that support breast health
  • Apply a castor oil compress
  • Homeopathic phytolacca
  • High-quality sunflower lecithin

 

Sunflower lecithin can be beneficial to parents pumping for babies born prematurely.  It helps the milk stick less to the pump tubing. (6)

Foods that contain lecithin:

  • Egg yolks
  • Brussel sprouts
  • Kidney beans
  • Peanuts
  • Liver and other organ meats
  • Soybeans (choose non-gmo)
  • Wheat germ

Other health benefits:

  • Helps lower LDL cholesterol and raise HDL (good) cholesterol
  • Good for your heart
  • Slows aging
  • Improves joint movement
  • Healthy skin and beneficial for eczema and acne
  • Improves cognitive function (7)

Possible risks and side effects

For short-term use, lecithin has been shown to be well tolerated by most people and considered safe while breastfeeding. 


Some people report stomach issues, including diarrhea, nausea, and bloating. Lowering your dosage may eliminate stomach upset.


High doses of lecithin may elicit symptoms of depression. (9)


Talking with your IBCLC and healthcare provider before taking any supplements is always best. They know your complete health history and can provide you with information that is best suited for your individual needs.


If you're enduring the discomfort of a plugged duct, sunflower lecithin is a  natural supplement to help alleviate the clogged duct. With its emulsifying properties and benefits for brain development and overall health, sunflower lecithin offers a holistic solution for breastfeeding parents. By understanding the causes of plugged ducts, you can implement effective techniques and take sunflower lecithin to get rid of plugged ducts faster. Remember to consult with your IBCLC and healthcare provider to support you based on your health history. Plugged ducts do not need to hinder your breastfeeding experience.

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