Do you know beta-sitosterol?  This excellent natural anti-cholesterol compound

Do you know beta-sitosterol? This excellent natural anti-cholesterol compound

If you are prone to developing high cholesterol, you may be interested in supplements that help support overall cardiovascular health, especially those that keep your LDL cholesterol in a healthy range. An example is a plant sterol called beta-sitosterol.

What is the effect of beta-sitosterol?

Scientific evidence shows that a diet containing plant sterols such as beta-sitosterol can reduce the risk of coronary heart disease. Phytosterols work by blocking the amount of cholesterol absorbed by the body after consumption. While phytosterol supplements are a convenient option, you can also get these beneficial compounds by eating healthy foods like nuts, seeds, beans, and certain oils.

What is beta-sitosterol?

Beta-sitosterol (BS) is a phytosterol, which is a type of beneficial compound found in certain plant foods. Specifically, it is a compound found in plants such as nuts, seeds, oils, and legumes that mimics cholesterol and can help lower LDL cholesterol levels in the blood. It is consumed in food as well as in supplement form, most commonly by those looking to lower LDL and total cholesterol levels and improve prostate health.

What is beta-sitosterol used for?

Because it is a phytosterol, also called a plant sterol or sterol ester, whose structure mimics cholesterol, it can naturally help lower cholesterol and potentially the risk of developing heart disease. It is also sometimes used to help manage other symptoms and conditions, although there is currently less research to confirm that it works well for these purposes. In some cases, for example, it can be taken as a supplement to support prostate health and prevent allergies, asthma, gallbladder disease, tuberculosis, and joint and muscle pain.

Benefits of beta-sitosterol

The main benefits of beta-sitosterol:

1. May help lower LDL cholesterol

One of the most common uses of BS supplements and the benefits of consuming foods containing beta-sitosterol is the reduction of cholesterol absorption in the intestines. This helps lower LDL, the “bad cholesterol,” which is associated with an increased risk of heart disease such as coronary heart disease and atherosclerosis. Studies show that people who maintain low levels of total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol in their blood tend to have diets not only low in total fat, especially saturated fat and cholesterol, but also relatively high in plant-based foods containing fiber and other ingredients.

How much should you eat to help balance your cholesterol?

Experts recommend consuming at least two grams of phytosterols daily from healthy foods such as nuts and seeds in addition to regular exercise to support overall cardiovascular function. BS supplements can also be recommended for people with hypercholesterolemia in doses above 200 mg/day. While phytosterols can help lower total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol, they will not increase the “good” high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol. It is therefore always important to consume healthy fats as part of a balanced diet.

2. May help prevent prostate problems

BS is used to reduce symptoms associated with benign prostatic hyperplasia (enlarged prostate), which can cause problems with urinary control and frequency in men. It is thought to work by binding to the prostate to help reduce swelling and inflammation that can cause discomfort and the urge to urinate. However, the exact mechanism of its action is not completely known. It is simply known to be related to cholesterol metabolism and anti-inflammatory effects.

A 2000 Cochrane review looked at the effects of beta-sitosterols on urinary symptoms and urine flow measurements in men with benign prostatic hyperplasia and concluded that the evidence suggests that beta-sitosterols improve both, although they do not reduce the actual size of the prostate. By the age of 60, more than 50% of men suffer from benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), and by the age of 85, 90% of men have the disease. In addition to increasing your intake of plant sterols, other supplements that may help men with BPH include saw palmetto, pygeum, and lycopene.

3. May have immune-boosting and cancer-fighting effects

Some evidence suggests that BS may be able to induce apotheosis (of cancer cells) and inhibit the growth of certain types of human cancer cells, such as those that contribute to colon cancer and breast cancer. It is not used alone as a cancer treatment, but rather as an adjunct to other drugs and procedures. There is also limited evidence to show that it can help improve immune function, especially in athletes who exercise intensely.

Risks and side effects

Although BS is safe when consumed in food and generally considered safe when taken in supplement form, it can cause side effects in some people, such as:

– digestive disorders
– nausea
– bloating
– diarrhea
– constipation

Beta-sitosterol is intended for use for a maximum of six months. If you plan to use the supplement for longer than this period, consult your doctor. People taking medications to control cholesterol should check with their doctor before taking a beta-sitosterol supplement because beta-sitosterol can affect the way some cholesterol-lowering medications work. People with the genetic disease phytosterolemia, which causes excessive absorption of phytosterols, should also carefully avoid BS supplements and consult their doctor about how much phytosterol-containing foods are safe to eat.

Foods rich in beta-sitosterol

Phytosterols, including BS, are found in foods that naturally contain fat, such as nuts, seeds, avocados, and vegetable oils. Although they are low-fat foods, some legumes also contain beta-sitosterol.

Here are examples of some of the foods with the highest beta-sitosterol content:

– Rapeseed oil
– A lawyer
– Vegetable oils made from nuts and seeds, like soybean oil (which some experts don’t recommend as much as healthier oils like olive oil or avocado oil).
– Salad dressings based on vegetable oils
– Pistachios
– Almonds
– Beans
– Hazelnut
– Nut
– Pecans
– Wheat germ
– Peanuts
– Some types of margarine and mayonnaise made from vegetable oils.

Supplements and dosage

In supplement form, BS is usually taken as a capsule by mouth, sometimes in divided doses several times a day. It comes in the form of a white waxy powder that sometimes has an unpleasant smell. In addition to being a supplement, it is used as a food additive.

How Much Beta-Sitosterol Should You Take?

The recommended dosage varies depending on your current medical condition and the condition you are treating. A typical dosage for adults is between 150 and 2,500 milligrams per day, with higher dosages recommended for people with inherited high cholesterol. It is considered safe for most people to take 800 mg/day for up to six months, which is the recommended amount for cholesterol-lowering effects. Lower doses, around 150 mg/day, may be more effective in treating bladder and prostate problems.

* Presse Santé strives to convey knowledge about health in a language accessible to all. IN NO CIRCUMSTANCES can the information provided replace the advice of a medical professional.

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