Posted on Mar 03, 2011, 6 a.m.
Daily supplementation of phytosterols (plant sterols) markedly reduces cholesterol levels, among people with metabolic syndrome and who consume a Westernized type diet.
Phytosterols (plant sterols) are a naturally occurring plant compound, and previous studies have suggested these phytochemicals may exert cholesterol-lowering effects. T.E. Sialvera, from Agricultural University of Athens (Greece), and colleagues enrolled 108 people with metabolic syndrome, ages 30 to 65 years with average BMIs of 29 kg/m2. Subjects consumed yogurt-based beverages, either with or without added sterols, daily for a two-month period. The daily sterol dose was 4 grams, and participants continued to eat their normal diet. The team found that the subjects who consumed the sterol-enriched beverage demonstrated a 20% reduction in LDL cholesterol, 16% drop in total cholesterol, and a 19% decline in triglyceride levels, as compared to those in the control group. As well, participants in the sterol group experienced a significant decrease in levels of apolipoprotein B (Apo B) of 7%, compared with no change in the controls. As the main apolipoprotein of LDL cholesterol, ApoB is responsible for the transport of cholesterol to tissues; in high concentrations it has been linked to plaque formation in the blood vessels. The researchers conclude that: “Phytosterol supplementation improves risk factors of coronary artery disease even if the diet is a westernized type.”
T.E. Sialvera, G.D. Pounis, A.E. Koutelidakis, D.J. Richter, G. Yfanti, M. Kapsokefalou, G. Goumas, N. Chiotinis, E. Diamantopoulos, A. Zampelas. “Phytosterols supplementation decreases plasma small and dense LDL levels in metabolic syndrome patients on a westernized type diet.” Nutrition, Metabolism and Cardiovascular Diseases, 12 February 2011.