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| Plant Sterols for High Cholesterol? |
Answered by: Susan Eagles
Question from: Sandi
Posted on: November 24, 2005
My doctor suggested I take "plant sterol" to help control high cholesterol. What forms does it come in, and can you send information about how much to take, and if there would be any side effects? I don’t take any other drugs, but I do take Kyolic and vitamin C daily.
Sterols are chemical compounds found naturally in the body in many forms including cholesterol and cortisol. Plant sterols are present in the natural form of all plants, and are especially high in plant seeds including whole grain seeds, like wheat berries and whole oat grains. Once food is processed or grain is ground into flour, the amount of sterols decrease considerably. Your diet will be high in plant sterols if you cook whole, unprocessed grains for your cereal, use good quality oils and eat fresh nuts and seeds and fresh fruit and vegetables rather than the processed forms of these foods.
You can find plant sterol formulas in the form of capsules in health food stores. There are formulae used to modulate the immune system in auto-immune conditions (like rheumatoid arthritis) and others used to lower high cholesterol. Because plant sterols are the same chemical form as cholesterol, they have been shown to block the absorption of cholesterol from the digestive system into the bloodstream. The products that you can purchase will vary in the plants used and the strength, so you should follow the directions on the package.