There are lots of ways to lower your high cholesterol, among them eating right and getting daily exercise, so what are plant sterols and can they lower cholesterol? Plant sterols are defined by Merriam Webster’s dictionary as “any of a group of naturally occurring unsaturated steroid alcohols, typically waxy solids.” This includes cholesterols, and ergo sterols found in fungi, like portabella mushrooms. Plant sterols are those which naturally occur in vegetables and fruits. They are called phytoserols most often amongst the medical communities.
There is a lot of misinformation about how plant sterols (as well as stanols) help to lower your cholesterol levels as well as your triglycerides. So what are plant sterols and can they lower cholesterol? Phytoserols very closely resemble cholesterols due to their chemical compound structure. Since they are so closely matched to ‘bad’ cholesterol, they actually can reduce the absorption of cholesterol in the body, and instead they are eliminated in the colon and through the regular digestive process. So primarily, plant sterols are compounds that mimic cholesterol and therefore lower LDL. If you eat fatty food, or foods which have a lot of cholesterol in them, instead of being absorbed in the body, they are excreted.
Plant sterols or phytoserols can help with prostate cancer and other diseases aside from cholesterol imbalances. According to some people, any brand of phytoserols that you use should be an extract, not the powder. 40% extract of phytoserols is what was shown to be effective in clinical studies. One of the safest forms of phytoserols is a non-GMO (genetically modified) substance that is on the market, (aside from eating organic fruits and vegetables) and comes from pine tree extract.
Still wondering what are plant sterols and can they lower cholesterol? Daily phytoserol usage can lower cholesterol by up to 10-15%. Everyone’s body is different. Everyone’s health requires a slightly different diet, but a good phytoserol is used with other ingredients which help to lower your cholesterol synergistically. Some of these other ingredients in clued CoQ10, artichoke leaf extract and red yeast rice which has been used for thousands of years in Asia. It should also have a liver cleansing formula. Since the majority of cholesterol (both bad and good) starts in the liver, it needs to be healthy, strong and full of life force. Another thing any phytoserol supplement should have is vitamins and something which reduces homocystein levels. High levels of homocystein (a non-protein based amino acid) have actually been associated to high cholesterol and poor heart health.
So just what are plant sterols and can they lower cholesterol? The short answer is yes, but they should be used in a combining fashion with other important nutrients and compounds, especially if taken in a supplement form.