Phytosterols show benefits as part of Western diet

Daily supplements of phytosterols were associated with a 20 percent reduction in LDL cholesterol levels in metabolic syndrome patients on a Westernized type diet.

A daily 4 gram dose of plant sterols in an enriched yogurt was associated with a 20 percent drop in LDL cholesterol, 16 percent drop in total cholesterol, and a 19 percent decline in triglyceride levels, despite the volunteers maintaining their habitual western-type diet, according to results of a randomized placebo-controlled study published in Nutrition, Metabolism & Cardiovascular Diseases.
Numerous clinical trials in controlled settings have reported that daily consumption of 1.5 to 3 grams of phytosterols/-stanols from foods can reduce total cholesterol levels by eight to 17 per cent, representing a significant reduction in the risk of cardiovascular disease.
According to a recent market research conducted by Frost & Sullivan, phytosterols are the most heart health targeted and benefited from approved health claims in many markets (as well as recently approval from the European Food Safety Authority).
The Athens-based scientists recruited 108 people with metabolic syndrome, aged between 30 and 65 and with average BMIs of 29 kg/m2. Participants were randomly assigned to receive yoghurt mini-drinks with or without added sterols (ELAIS-Unilever Hellas SA) for two months. The daily sterol dose was 4 grams, and participants continued to eat their normal diet.
Results showed a significant reduction in total cholesterol, LDL-cholesterol, triglycerides, as well as small and dense LDL (sdLDL) levels in the phytosterol group, compared with the control group.
The Greek researchers also noted that participants in the sterol group experienced a significant decrease in levels of apolipoprotein B (Apo B) of 7 percent, compared with no change in the controls. ApoB is the main apolipoprotein of LDL cholesterol and is responsible for the transport of cholesterol to tissues. In high concentrations it has been linked to plaque formation in the blood vessels, although the mechanism behind this is not clear.
 “However, a change in the dietary habits toward a Mediterranean type dietary pattern (low in SFA, high in MUFA and PUFA, high in fruits and vegetables) could have an additional benefit in the lipid profile and the risk of cardiovascular diseases (CVD), since it has been found that the Mediterranean diet affects not only blood lipid levels but also endothelial function, blood pressure, and other risk factors of CVD,” they added.
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Source: Nutraingredients