Image for Plant sterols
Plant sterols

Synonyms/Common Names/Related Substances:

  • 22,23-dihydrostigmasterol, 24-beta-ethyl-delta-5-cholesten-3beta-ol, 24-ethyl-cholesterol, 3-beta-stigmast-5-en-3-ol, (3beta)-stigmast-5-en-3-ol, a-dihydrofucosterol, alpha-dihydrofucosterol, alpha-phytosterol, a-phytosterol, Azuprostat®, beta-sisterol, beta-sitostanol ester, beta-sitosterin, beta-sitosterol, betasitosterol, beta-sitosterol glucoside, beta-sitosterol glycoside, beta-sitosterolin, brassicastanol, brassicasterol, B-sitosterol 3-B-D-glucoside, B-sitosterolin, campestanol, campesterol, cinchol, cupreol, delta-5-stigmasten-3beta-ol, ergostanol, ergosterol, phytostanol ester, phytostanols, plant stanol ester, plant stanols, plant sterol ester, plant sterols, quebrachol, rhamnol, sitostanol, sitosterin, sitosterin delalande, sitosterol, sitosterolins, sitosterols, soy sterol ester, stanol, stanol ester, sterinol, sterol, sterol esters, sterolins, stigmastanol, stigmasterol.
  • Select combination products: Benecol® (spread and smart chews), Flora® pro-activ, Harzol® (beta-sitosterol and beta-sitosterol glucoside), Moducare® (beta-sitosterol and beta-sitosterol glucoside), Promise active™ (spread), Take Control® (spread), WA184 (beta-sitosteryl beta-D-glucoside).

Clinical Bottom Line/Effectiveness

Brief Background:

  • Phytosterols, also called plant sterols, are a group of chemicals that occur naturally in plants. Beta-sitosterol is one of the most common dietary phytosterols (1;2;3;4;5;6;7;8;9;10;11;12;13). Beta-sitosterol glucoside is a glucoside attached to beta-sitosterol (5;14;15). Other phytosterols include campesterol and stigmasterol (1;4;6;7;8;9;10;16;17). Stanols are saturated derivatives of sterols (18).
  • Beta-sitosterol is classified as a noncholesterol sterol, or neutral sterol. However, it is structurally similar to cholesterol and is the main sterol in the Western diet (4;19;20;21;22;23;24;25). One analysis of the composition of a simulated American diet showed that Americans consume approximately 165mg of beta-sitosterol daily. Beta-sitosterol and beta-sitosterol glucoside are found in the tissue, plasma, and feces of healthy individuals (26;27;28). The average content of plant sterols found in the plasma of healthy Western individuals is 1mg/dL (29).
  • Plant sterols are found in plant-based foods such as fruits, vegetables, soybeans, breads, peanuts, and peanut products (1;14;30;31;32;33;34;35;36;37;38). Plant sterols are also present in olive and flaxseed oil and tuna (39;40). Plant oils contain the highest concentration of phytosterols. Nuts and seeds contain moderate amounts of phytosterols, while fruits and vegetables generally contain the lowest phytosterol concentrations (14). For example, roasted peanuts contain 61-114mg of plant sterols per 100g, 78-83% of which is in the form of beta-sitosterol. Peanut butter contains 144-157mg of plant sterols per 100g (20;41). These values indicate that peanut products are a good source of phytosterols, specifically, beta-sitosterol (20). Avocados have also been identified as a good source of beta-sitosterol (42). Beta-sitosterol can also be derived from pulp and paper mill effluents (22).
  • Margarines enriched with phytosterol and phytostanol esters, including beta-sitosterol, have been marketed for their cholesterol-lowering effects (18;43;44;45;46;47;48;49;50;51;52;53;54;55). The U.S. Food and Drug Association (FDA) has authorized the use of labeling health claims for foods containing plant sterols and plant stanol esters. Sitosterols are also used in products for the treatment of other health disorders, including, but not limited to, benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) and immune stimulation (26;56;57).

Dosing/Toxicology

  • Content available for subscribers only.

Precautions/Contraindications

  • Content available for subscribers only.

Interactions

Most herbs and supplements have not been thoroughly tested for interactions with other herbs, supplements, drugs, or foods. The interactions listed below are based on reports in scientific publications, laboratory experiments, or traditional use. You should always read product labels. If you have a medical condition, or are taking other drugs, herbs, or supplements, you should speak with a qualified healthcare provider before starting a new therapy.

  • Content available for subscribers only.

Mechanism of Action

  • Content available for subscribers only.

History

  • Content available for subscribers only.

Evidence Table

  • Content available for subscribers only.

Evidence Discussion

  • Content available for subscribers only.

Products Studied

  • Content available for subscribers only.

Author Information

  • Content available for subscribers only.

References

Natural Standard developed the above evidence-based information based on a thorough systematic review of the available scientific articles. For comprehensive information about alternative and complementary therapies on the professional level, go to www.naturalstandard.com. Selected references are listed below.

  • Content available for subscribers only.
The information in this monograph is intended for informational purposes only, and is meant to help users better understand health concerns. Information is based on review of scientific research data, historical practice patterns, and clinical experience. This information should not be interpreted as specific medical advice. Users should consult with a qualified healthcare provider for specific questions regarding therapies, diagnosis and/or health conditions, prior to making therapeutic decisions.