β-sitosterol are plant sterols found in all plants and herbs containing a chemical structures similar to that of cholesterol.
Beta Sistosterol is a phytosterol or plant alcohol that is in every herb. Beta Sitosterol is one of the primary bioactive compounds in both saw palmetto berries and stinging nettle. Beta Sitosterol can decrease the absorption of cholesterol in the digestive system and decrease the amount of cholesterol produced by the liver.
Beta Sitosterol decreases absorption by locking to the fat molecules eaten and by blocking the fat molecule absorption gates in the intestines. The fats and cholesterol are then excreted rather than absorbed.
Beta Sitosterol is one of several plant sterols that have been studied for its effectiveness in lowering levels of cholesterol. Studies show it works, because it appears to block the absorption of cholesterol. It has also been studied for its ability to reduce the symptoms of BPH (caused by enlargement of the prostate gland).
Sterols can reduce cholesterol in human subjects by up to 15%. Phytosterols have cholesterol-lowering properties (reducing cholesterol absorption in intestines), and may act in cancer prevention. Ostlund RE, Racette, SB, and Stenson WF (2003). "Inhibition of cholesterol absorption by phytosterol-replete wheat germ compared with phytosterol-depleted wheat germ". Am J Clin Nutr 77 (6): 1385-1589.
The mechanism behind phytosterols and the lowering of cholesterol occurs as follows : the incorporation of cholesterol into micelles in the gastrointestinal tract is inhibited, decreasing the overall amount of cholesterol absorbed. This may in turn help to control body total cholesterol levels, as well as modify HDL, LDL and TAG levels.
No side effects or interactions have been reported in studies.
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