What do plant sterols do?
Because they have a similar structure to cholesterol, plant stanols and sterols work to reduce the absorption of cholesterol in the gut so more is lost in the faeces (poo). This in turn helps to lower total cholesterol and LDL-cholesterol (the bad type of cholesterol) in the blood.
There are a number of good quality studies to support this. High cholesterol levels have been shown to increase the risk of coronary heart disease and stroke. Stanols and sterols do reduce cholesterol. However, we do not have enough evidence to show that they reduce or prevent heart problems or strokes, as little research has been done in this eld.
Most doctors agree that a total cholesterol level below 5mmol/L and an LDL-cholesterol below 3mmol/L are considered healthy. People at high risk/with existing coronary heart disease, may be asked to lower their cholesterol levels further.
How much plant sterols do I need?
Most diets provide a small amount of plant stanols and sterols (around 300mg per day); vegetarian diets contain about twice this amount. It is not essential to take plant stanols or sterols to help manage your cholesterol. There may be other simpler and less expensive changes that you can make, such as regular exercise and eating plenty of fruit, vegetables, pulses and wholegrains and choosing lean meat, lower fat dairy products, sh, nuts and soya foods more often and replacing butter and lard with vegetable, nut and seed oils.
However, people at high risk of heart disease, especially those with high blood cholesterol levels, may bene t from eating foods that have added (fortified) plant stanols and sterols. If you do choose to use a plant sterol product in addition to the changes outlined above, they need to be eaten every day, with meals, and in the right amount. An intake of 1.5-2.4g per day can lower cholesterol by 7-10% and an intake of 2.5-3.0g per day by 10-12.5% in two to three weeks.
Chemists call it a “plant sterol ester.” It is found in fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds. It is used to make medicine.
Plant Sterol is used for heart disease and high cholesterol.
It is also used for boosting the immune system and for preventing colon cancer, as well as for gallstones, the common cold and flu (influenza), HIV/AIDS, rheumatoid arthritis, tuberculosis, psoriasis, allergies, cervical cancer, fibromyalgia, systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), asthma, hair loss, bronchitis, migraine headache, and chronic fatigue syndrome.
Some men use Plant Sterol for enlarged prostate (benign prostatic hyperplasia or BPH).
Some women use it for symptoms of menopause.
It is also used for enhancing sexual activity.
Marathon runners sometimes use Plant Sterol to reduce pain and swelling after a run.
In foods, Plant Sterol is added to some margarines (Take Control, for example) that are designed for use as part of a cholesterol-lowering diet and for preventing heart disease. The federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA) allows manufacturers to claim that foods containing plant sterol esters such as beta-sitosterol are for reducing the risk of coronary heart disease (CHD). This rule is based on the FDA’s conclusion that plant sterol esters may reduce the risk of CHD by lowering blood cholesterol levels.