Phytosterols and cardiovascular health

Marangoni F, Poli A.
Pharmacol Res. 2010;61:193-9.

Phytosterols are typical constituents of plants’ cell walls. When ingested with plant foods, they reduce cholesterol absorption from the gut, due to their structural similarity with cholesterol. In the last decades, purified plant sterols or stanols have been added to various foods items to obtain functional foods with remarkable hypocholesterolemic activity. A daily intake of plant sterols or stanols of 1.6–2 g/day, incorporated in these foods, is able to reduce cholesterol absorption from the gut by about 30%, and plasma LDL cholesterol levels by 8–10%. Since the action of plant sterols or stanols on plasma LDL cholesterol is additive to that of statins, the former can be used to increase the latter’s hypocholesterolemic action in patients needing a marked reduction in plasma LDL cholesterol levels. Phytosterols, up to 3 g/day, are safe and effective cholesterol-lowering agents.


  • Functional foods

    Alimenti che sono stati arricchiti o fortificati con vitamine, minerali o altri nutrienti per produrre un beneficio sulla salute.