Phytosterols are steroid compounds, which are found in plant cell membranes, and have been used for some time now in the reduction of cholesterol and may help with cardiovascular health.* Although the exact mechanism of the cholesterol lowering effect is not understood, it is thought that the cholesterol is essentially displaced in the small intestine during absorption due to the structural similarities it shares with phytosterols. Normally, cholesterol is emulsified into fat micelles, which allows it to be absorbed by the intestinal enterocytes. However, phytosterols, when consumed, compete with cholesterol in this emulsification process, and displace cholesterol. So, essentially instead of cholesterol, phytosterols are absorbed by enterocytes (Berdiel, et al.).
In one study, 108 patients with the metabolic syndrome were given either a beverage that contained 4 grams of phytosterols or a placebo. After 2 months of supplementation, serum total cholesterol levels decreased by 15.9% along with the LDL-cholesterol decreasing by 20.3% (Sialvera, et al.). In a meta-analysis, familial hypercholesterolemia subjects ranging from ages 2-69 were given doses of phytosterols ranging from 1.6g-2.8g. Over the course of 3-4 weeks, this resulted in a 7-11% decrease in total cholesterol with the conclusion that phytosterols may be effective in lowering cholesterol (Moruisi). Also, according to a review, phytosterols have been implicated in the prevention of cardiovascular disease, which is supported by scientific evidence (Dhankhar). Furthermore, this claim is supported by another review, which states that according to prospective cohort studies, foods containing phytochemicals (i.e. phytosterols) and other nutrients may reduce the risk of Coronary Heart Disease (CHD) (Hu).
- Calpe-Berdiel, L., J. C. Escola-Gil, and F. Blanco-Vaca. "New Insights into the Molecular Actions of Plant Sterols and Stanols in Cholesterol Metabolism." Atherosclerosis 203.1 (2009): 18-31. Print.
- Hu, F. B. "Plant-Based Foods and Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease: An Overview." The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 78.3 Suppl (2003): 544S-51S. Print.
- Jyotika Dhankhar. "Cardioprotective Effects of Phytosterols." International Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences and Research 4.2 (2013): 590-6. Print.
- Moruisi, Kgomotso G., Welma Oosthuizen, and Anna M. Opperman. "Phytosterols/stanols Lower Cholesterol Concentrations in Familial Hypercholesterolemic Subjects: A Systematic Review with Meta-Analysis." Journal of the American College of Nutrition 25.1 (2006): 41. Print.
- Sialvera, T. E., et al. "Phytosterols Supplementation Decreases Plasma Small and Dense LDL Levels in Metabolic Syndrome Patients on a Westernized Type Diet." Nutrition, metabolism, and cardiovascular diseases : NMCD (2011)Print.
* These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent disease.