Plant Sterols and Plant Stanols and Cholesterol

Plant Sterols and Plant Stanols

Plant sterols and stanols represent a group of compounds that are an essential constituent of cell membranes in animals and plants. Cholesterol is actually a sterol of human cells, whereas phytosterols are produced by plants.

The most common plant sterols are sitosterol, campesterol, and stigmasterol. Plant sterols, although structurally similar to cholesterol, are not synthesized by the human body and are very poorly absorbed. The specific plant sterols that are currently incorporated into foods and supplements are extracted from soybean oil. The plant sterols, currently incorporated into foods, are esterified to unsaturated fatty acids (creating sterol esters) to increase lipid solubility, thus allowing maximal incorporation into a limited amount of fat. Some plant sterols currently available are saturated, to form the stanol derivatives, which are also effective at lowering cholesterol.

Lipidshield Certified Plant Sterols

The plant sterols and stanols in LipidShield™ have been extensively studied clinically and have proven not only to lower cholesterol but protect the heart as well. All lipidshield plant sterols are certified 95% pure or greater. These plant chemicals are similar in structure to cholesterol. They have a slight chemical structure difference that, in comparison to cholesterol, are less absorbent. Plant sterols and stanols reduce cholesterol absorption by competing with cholesterol. You can think of it as “fake” cholesterol that dilutes your overall real cholesterol absorption and when less cholesterol is absorbed, less cholesterol returns to your liver lowering LDLs and overall cholesterol levels.

By lowering total and LDL cholesterol levels, plant sterols and stanols may also reduce your risk of heart disease. Studies have shown that taking plant sterols daily can lower cholesterol measurements by an average of 10% to 14%. The National Cholesterol Education Panel has suggested taking plant stanols and sterols along with a proper low fat diet and regular exercise program to help maintain normal cholesterol levels.


Ostlund RE Jr. Department of Internal Medicine, Washington University, St Louis, Missouri 63110, USA. Phytosterols effectively reduce LDL-cholesterol when given as supplements.
Nestle Research Center, Nestec Ltd, Lausanne, Switzerland. Richelle M, Enslen M, Hager C, Groux M, Tavazzi I, Godin JP, Berger A, Metairon S, Quaile S, Piguet-Welsch C, Sagalowicz L, Green H, Fay LB. Plant sterols reduce cholesterol absorption, which leads to a decrease in plasma and LDL-cholesterol concentrations.

Cardiovasc Drug Rev. 2005 Spring;23(1):57-70. University of Connecticut, Department of Nutritional Sciences, 3624 Horsebarn Road Ext., U 4017 Storrs, CT 06269, USA. Efficacy and safety of sitosterol in the management of blood cholesterol levels.
Am J Clin Nutr. 2004 Nov;80(5):1159-66. Varady KA, Ebine N, Vanstone CA, Parsons WE, Jones PJ. School of Dietetics and Human Nutrition, Faculty of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, McGill University, Montreal, and the Veterans’ Hospital, Sainte Anne de Bellevue, Quebec. Plant sterols and endurance training combine to favorably alter plasma lipid profiles in previously sedentary hypercholesterolemic adults after 8 wk.

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