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How Much Plant Sterol Is Needed to Lower Cholesterol?

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Scientists know that plant sterols interfere with cholesterol absorption, but how well do these compounds work to lower cholesterol? To answer this question, investigators fed volunteers a carefully controlled diet with a measured small amount of plant sterols. They were then given a daily beverage with either no, 400 mg or 2000 mg of plant sterols as a supplement. At the highest dose, blood cholesterol levels dropped significantly by almost 9 percent. At the lower level of phytosterol supplementation, there was only a non-significant trend toward lower LDL cholesterol. This lower level can be achieved in the diet without supplementation, however.

[American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Dec 2009]

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What are the food sources of the sterols? How long was the study?

So, how does this compare to Zocor and the other cholesterol lowering meds? Does it mean that if we are only taking 10 mgs or 20 mgs that it won't do us much good? Do we need to upgrade to as much as 2000 mgs to actually see improvement? Does it even come in such a high dose? What in the world would a dose that high even cost? If you could find it?

PEOPLE'S PHARMACY RESPONSE: THE BENECOL LABEL SAYS THAT EACH TABLESPOON SERVING CONTAINS 850 MG OF PLANT STEROL ESTERS. THAT MEANS TWO SERVINGS A DAY GETS CLOSE TO THE 2000 MG DOSE USED IN THE STUDY.

The question is how much plant material do we need to eat to get the 2000 mgs. or what percent of broccoli, kale etc. are sterols.

I gave this one a thumbs down because I could not find any information on how I might best get the plant sterols in my diet. I found the article interesting otherwise.

Try Minute Maid premium Heartwise orange juice, sold in most grocery stores. It's much thicker than typical juices. One 8 ounce glass contains 1000 mg or sterols. Drink two a day, and you have 2000 mg. Also, Promise Activ Take Control Light margarine is even better than Benecol. One tablespoon of Promise Activ contains 1700 mg of plant sterols, nearly twice that of Benecol. Two glasses of the Minute Maid Heartwise orange juice and one tablespoon of Promise Activ, and you're at 3700 mg, certainly enough to significantly lower cholesterol according to lots of studies.

Lowering cholesterol can be detrimental rather than beneficial. HDL protects against heart disease, normal LDL has no effect, and Lp(a) greatly increases the risk. What evidence is there than consuming plant stenols in orange juice, skim milk or margarine actually reduces the risk of heart disease or infarction? Actual risk, not risk factors.

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