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Plant sterols
While some complementary and alternative techniques have been studied scientifically, high-quality data regarding safety, effectiveness, and mechanism of action are limited or controversial for most therapies. Whenever possible, it is recommended that practitioners be licensed by a recognized professional organization that adheres to clearly published standards. In addition, before starting a new technique or engaging a practitioner, it is recommended that patients speak with their primary healthcare provider(s). Potential benefits, risks (including financial costs), and alternatives should be carefully considered. The below monograph is designed to provide historical background and an overview of clinically-oriented research, and neither advocates for or against the use of a particular therapy.

Related Terms

  • 3-Beta-stigmast-5-en-3-ol, (3beta)-stigmast-5-en-3-ol, 22,23-dihydrostigmasterol, 24-beta-ethyl-delta-5-cholesten-3beta-ol, 24-ethyl-cholesterol, 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.

Background

  • Phytosterols, also called plant sterols, are a group of chemicals that occur naturally in plant-based foods such as fruits, vegetables, soybeans, breads, peanuts, peanut products, olive, flaxseed oil, and tuna.
  • Beta-sitosterol is one of the most common dietary phytosterols and 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.
  • Margarines enriched with phytosterol have been marketed for their cholesterol-lowering effects. 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 for immune stimulation. However, more research is needed on the use of plant sterols for these conditions in humans.

Evidence

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Dosing

The below doses are based on scientific research, publications, traditional use, or expert opinion. Many herbs and supplements have not been thoroughly tested, and safety and effectiveness may not be proven. Brands may be made differently, with variable ingredients, even within the same brand. The below doses may not apply to all products. You should read product labels, and discuss doses with a qualified healthcare provider before starting therapy.

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Safety

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration does not strictly regulate herbs and supplements. There is no guarantee of strength, purity or safety of products, and effects may vary. 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. Consult a healthcare provider immediately if you experience side effects.

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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.

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Author Information

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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.

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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.