Phytosterols For Heart Health
Thank you to visit Phytosterols For Heart Health page

Phytosterols For Heart Health

20th July, 2017

Ingestion of phytosterols are regularly associated with maintaining good heart health and in many ways they have earned the same reputation as statins. You might ask what these agents, phytosterols happen to be ! They are essentially plant based components which are part of a wider group of compounds called stanols and sterols (Ostland, 2002, 2004). You find them mainly in nuts and various vegetable oils. A typical intake based on a ‘normal’ diet means we ingest nearly 1/2 gram of these health compounds daily. In some cases, food is now fortified with them. Who hasn’t heard of margarine or spreadable butter with added phytosterols. They are added because they help us lower or reduce elevated levels of blood cholesterol which is regarded as a significant health issue where the heart is concerned. The main reason phytosterols help us is they are similar in chemical structure to cholesterol so they upset or interfere with its absorption in the intestine (Plosch et al., 2006). We need cholesterol however for our cells to keep living but we don’t need too much of it. The clinical evidence for the benefits of phytosterols generally has been developing over a number of years but the strongest association is with their cholesterol lowering effects (Gylling et al., 2014). So much so, EFSA (2012) and the US FDA (FDA, 2016) now advise that a heart healthy diet combined with consumption of phytosterols certainly helps in managing blood cholesterol and in doing so probably (I say probably guardedly) reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease.