Beta-sitosterol is one of the most popular supplements for cholesterol. Studies have shown that regular intake of beta-sitosterol may help to reduce elevated blood cholesterol levels. Some people are not familiar with this efficient natural supplement but beta-sitosterol is one of several plant sterols (cholesterol is the main animal sterol) found in almost all plants.
Peanuts, pecans, cashews, rice bran, wheat germ, corn oil, avocadoes, and soybeans are all excellent sources of beta-sitosterol. Moreover, all peanuts products, such as peanut oil, peanut butter, and peanut flour, are good sources of plant sterols, particularly beta-sitosterol. Nutritional supplements of Beta-sitosterol are available in several different potencies.
Beta-sitosterol is one of several plant sterols with chemical structures similar to cholesterol and many clinical studies have confirmed the efficacy of beta-sitosterol in lowering plasma LDL-C concentrations.
Beta-sitosterol reduces blood levels of cholesterol as it inhibits cholesterol absorption in the intestine. When the sterol is absorbed in the intestine, it is transported by lipoproteins and incorporated into the cellular membrane. Phytosterols and phytostanols both inhibit the uptake of dietary and biliary cholesterol, decreasing the levels of LDL and serum total cholesterol. Since the structure of beta-sitosterol is very similar to that of cholesterol, beta-sitosterol takes the place of dietary and biliary cholesterol in micelles produced in the intestinal lumen, causing less cholesterol absorption in the body.
Additionally, a number of studies have shown that a combination of beta-sitosterol and saw palmetto may be helpful to support proper prostate function. Many products for prostate support may offer the combination of say palmetto and beta-sitosterol to support normal urinary flow and control inflammatory actions in the prostate gland.
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