[Phytosterols: another way to reduce LDL cholesterol levels].

Rafael Bitzur*, Hofit Cohen, Yehuda Kamari, Dror Harats

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Phytosterols are sterols found naturally in various oils from plants. Phytosterols compete with cholesterol for a place in the mixed micelles, needed for cholesterol absorption by the small intestine. As a result, cholesterol absorption, either from food or from bile salts is lowered by about 50%, leading to a towering of about 10% of blood cholesterol level, despite an increase in hepatic cholesterol synthesis. This reduction is achieved when phytosterols are given both as monotherapy, and in addition to statin therapy. The average Western diet contains about 400-800 mg of phytosterols per day, while the dose needed for lowering the blood cholesterol level is about 2-3 grams per day. Therefore, for the purpose of reducing blood cholesterol, they should be given either as phytosterol-enriched food or as supplements. The reduction in the level of LDL-choLesterol achieved with phytosterols may reduce the risk of coronary disease by about 25%. Hence, the American Heart Association recommended the consumption of phytosterols, as part of a balanced diet, for towering blood cholesterol levels.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)729-731, 751
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2013


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