Phytosterols compete with cholesterol.
Phytosterols are cholesterol for plants. They play a major role in the structure of plant cell membranes, much the same way cholesterol has a role in mammalian cell membranes. These molecules are steroid alcohols, structurally similar to cholesterol.
Where they're found
Effects on the body
NCEP recommended daily intake
Daily intake of 2 to 3 grams per day of plant stanol/sterol esters.4
Conclusions from the literature
Phytosterols and stanols reduce LDL cholesterol by blocking absorption of cholesterol in the intestine.3 FDA has concluded that foods containing at least 0.4 g/serving of plant sterols, eaten twice a day with meals for a daily total intake of at least 0.8 g, as part of a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol, may reduce the risk of heart disease.2
Click here for a list of Smart Balance products containing phytosterols
References: 1. Ostlund RE Jr. Phytosterols in human nutrition. Annu Rev Nutr. 2002;22:533–549. 2. US Food and Drug Administration. Federal Register 65 FR 54685-54739, September 8, 2000 – Food Labeling: Health Claims; Plant Sterol/Stanol Esters and Coronary Heart Disease; Interim Final Rule. Available at: http://www.fda.gov/Food/LabelingNutrition/LabelClaims/HealthClaimsMeetingSignificantScientificAgreementSSA/ucm074747.htm. 3. Earnest CP, Mikus CR, Lemieux I, et al. Examination of encapsulated phytosterol ester supplementation on lipid indices associated with cardiovascular disease. Nutrition. 2007;23:625–633. 4. National Cholesterol Education Program (NCEP) Expert Panel. Third Report of the National Cholesterol Education Program (NCEP) Expert Panel on Detection, Evaluation, and Treatment of High Blood Cholesterol in Adults (Adult Treatment Panel III): Final Report. Bethesda, MD: National Institutes of Health; September 2002. NIH publication no. 02-5215.