Articles

Sterols (Sitosterol) and Sterolins (Sitosterolin)

Introduction

These compounds have several interchangeable names. They are called sterols and sterolins, sitosterol and sitosterolin, and beta-sitosterol and beta-sitosterolin which can also be written as B-sitosterol and B-sitosterolin. Sterols and sterolins are fats that are found in most higher plants. These plant fats have chemical structures that are nearly identical to the animal fat known as cholesterol. It is interesting to note that sterols and sterolins exert their biological activity at relatively low concentrations.

Dosage Info

Dosage Range

From 1 to 2 capsules, 3 times daily. This equates to 60 to 120 mg of sterols and 600 to 1,200 mcg of sterolins daily.

Most Common Dosage

1 capsule, 3 times daily on an empty stomach. Each capsule contains 20 mg of plant sterols and 200 mg of plant sterolins. Therefore, a daily dose consists of 60 mg of sterols and 600 mg of sterolins.

Dosage Forms

Capsules

Reported Uses

Laboratory and human studies have shown us that when sterols and sterolins are administered together, they enhance the immune system. (1) Thus, sterols and sterolins may have some benefit in AIDS and HIV therapy. They do so by stimulating the activity of the immune system, which helps control the multiplication of the virus. (2) Also, in a trial with individuals running a marathon race, the blood work of those taking the sterol/sterolin combination revealed significant increases in total white blood cell count as well as in several lymphocyte counts and better ratios of cortisol to DHEAs. (3)

In benign prostatic hypertrophy (BPH), the results of two double-blind clinical trials have reported that men with BPH who took sitosterols had substantial improvements in their symptoms. (4) , (5) In other areas of research, sterols and sterolins may provide benefit in the prevention and treatment of cancer, (6) , (7) , (8) , (9) diabetes, (10) , (11) elevated cholesterol levels, (12) , (13) , (14) rheumatoid arthritis, (15) systemic lupus erythematosus and tuberculosis. (16)

Toxicities & Precautions

Introduction

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General

This dietary supplement is considered safe when used in accordance with proper dosing guidelines.

Health Conditions

If you have phytosterolemia, a rare genetic lipid disorder, DO NOT USE this dietary supplement. (17)

Side Effects

Side effects are possible with any dietary supplement. At high dosage levels, this dietary supplement may cause mild constipation or diarrhea . Tell your doctor if these side effects become severe or do not go away.

Pregnancy / Breast Feeding

To date, the medical literature has not reported any adverse effects related to fetal development during pregnancy or to infants who are breast-fed. Yet little is known about the use of this dietary supplement while pregnant or breast-feeding. Therefore, it is recommended that you inform your healthcare practitioner of any dietary supplements you are using while pregnant or breast-feeding.

Age Limitations

To date, the medical literature has not reported any adverse effects specifically related to the use of this dietary supplement in children. Since young children may have undiagnosed allergies or medical conditions, this dietary supplement should not be used in children under 10 years of age unless recommended by a physician.

References

  1. View Abstract: Bouic PJD, Etsebeth S, Liebenberg RW, et al. Beta-sitosterol and beta-sitosterol glucoside stimulate human peripheral blood lymphocyte proliferation: Implications for their use as an immunomodulatory vitamin combination. Int J Immunopharmac. 1996;18(2):693-700.
  2. View Abstract: Breytenbach U, Clark A, Lamprecht J, Bouic P. Flow cytometric analysis of the Th1-Th2 balance in healthy individuals and patients infected with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) receiving a plant sterol/sterolin mixture. Cell Biol Int. 2001;25(1):43-9.
  3. View Abstract: Bouic PJ, Clark A, Lamprecht J, et al. The effects of B-sitosterol (BSS) and B-sitosterol glucoside (BSSG) mixture on selected immune parameters of marathon runners: inhibition of post marathon immune suppression and inflammation. Int J Sports Med. May1999;20(4):258-62.
  4. View Abstract: Berges RR, Kassen A, Senge T. Treatment of symptomatic benign prostatic hyperplasia with beta-sitosterol: an 18-month follow-up. BJU Int. May2000;85(7):842-6.
  5. View Abstract: Berges RR, Windeler J, Trampisch HJ, et al. Randomised, placebo-controlled, double-blind clinical trial of beta-sitosterol in patients with benign prostatic hyperplasia. Beta-sitosterol Study Group. Lancet. Jun1995;345(8964):1529-32.
  6. View Abstract: Nair PP, Turjman N, Kessie G, et al. Diet, nutrition intake, and metabolism in populations at high and low risk for colon cancer. Dietary cholesterol, beta-sitosterol, and stigmasterol. Am J Clin Nutr. Oct1984;40(4 Suppl):927-30.
  7. View Abstract: Awad AB, Chen YC, Fink CS, et al. beta-Sitosterol inhibits HT-29 human colon cancer cell growth and alters membrane lipids. Anticancer Res. Sep1996;16(5A):2797-804.
  8. View Abstract: Raicht RF, Cohen BI, Fazzini EP, et al. Protective effect of plant sterols against chemically induced colon tumors in rats. Cancer Res. Feb1980;40(2):403-5.
  9. View Abstract: Muti P, Awad AB, Schunemann H, et al. A plant food-based diet modifies the serum beta-sitosterol concentration in hyperandrogenic postmenopausal women. Nutr. Dec2003;133(12):4252-5.
  10. View Abstract: Ivorra MD, D'Ocon MP, Paya M. Antihyperglycemic and insulin-releasing effects of beta-sitosterol 3-beta-D-glucoside and its aglycone, beta-sitosterol. Arch Int Pharmacodyn Ther. Nov1988;296:224-31.
  11. View Abstract: Ivorra MD, Paya M, Villar A, et al. Effect of beta-sitosterol-3-beta-D-glucoside on insulin secretion in vivo in diabetic rats and in vitro in isolated rat islets of Langerhans. Pharmazie. Apr1990;45(4):271-3.
  12. View Abstract: Heinemann T, Kullak-Ublick GA, et al. Mechanisms of action of plant sterols on inhibition of cholesterol absorption. Comparison of sitosterol and sitostanol. Eur J Clin Pharmacol. 1991;40(Suppl 1):S59-63.
  13. Miettinen TA. Regulation of serum cholesterol by cholesterol absorption. Agents Actions Suppl. 1988;26:53-65.
  14. Pollak OJ. Effect of plant sterols on serum lipids and atherosclerosis. Pharmacol Ther. 1985;31(3):177-208.
  15. View Abstract: Bouic PJD. Sterols/Sterolins, the natural, nontoxic immunomodulators and their role in the control of rheumatoid arthritis. Arthritis Trust of America. 1998;3-6.
  16. View Abstract: Donald PR, Lamprecht JH, Freestone M, et al. A randomised placebo-controlled trial of the efficacy of beta-sitosterol and its glucoside as adjuvants in the treatment of pulmonary tuberculosis. Int J Tuberc Lung Dis. Dec1997;1(6):518-22.
  17. View Abstract: Ling WH, Jones PJ. Dietary phytosterols: a review of metabolism, benefits and side effects. Life Sci. 1995;57(3):195-206.