Thursday, March 09, 2006

Lower cholesterol with plant sterols

A pill of plant sterols can help lower cholesterol, according to a new study appearing in the Feb. issue of the American Journal of Cardiology.

In the study, researchers from Washing University School of Medicine in St. Louis followed 26 patients who were using the heart healthy diet recommended by the American Heart Association and taking statin drugs to control cholesterol to understand how intake of plant sterols affects cholesterol. Half of the participants were assigned to take four sterol pills twice a day while another half to take placebo pills.

Those who took plant sterol tablets lowered low density cholesterol or bad cholesterol on average by 9 percent. The total cholesterol was reduced by 6 percent. The cholesterol reduction was particularly significant among those who started with higher levels of bad cholesterol.

Researchers believe that plant sterols, similar structurally to cholesterol, reduce the adsorption in the gut by competing with cholesterol to get absorbed and transported into the body.

The highest amounts of plant sterols are found in broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower and olives.

Another study also showed significant cholesterol reductions with 2.2 grams of plant sterols per day. (A typical American diet provides approximately 0.25 g of plant sterol per day.)


Two easy ways to get plant sterols:

Benecol
Take Control

Look for more plant sterol-containing-products in the future.

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