STEROLS and STANOLS
 
   

Sterols and Stanols

This section was compiled by Frank M. Painter, D.C.
Send all comments or additions to:
  Frankp@chiro.org

If there are terms in these articles you don't understand, you can get a definition from the Merriam Webster Medical Dictionary. If you want information about a specific disease, you can access the Merck Manual. You can also search Pub Med for more abstracts on this, or any other health topic.

Jump to:    Sterols and Stanols Articles        Sterols and Stanols Abstracts

 
   

Sterols and Stanols Articles
 
   

The Cholesterol Problem:

  • 80 million Americans have levels above the recommended 200-mg/dL cap set by the NIH. That’s 1 out of every 3 Americans! [1]

  • In 2007 it was estimated that 30-36 million Americans were taking statins every day, at an cumulative cost of $34 billion dollars a year! [2-3]

Questionnaires, gathered by the Medical Expenditures Panel Survey (MEPS), an arm of the Federal Government that tracks prescription use, has revealed some interesting statistics: [4]

  • Although more than 30 million Americans filled their first statin prescription in 2005, only 27 million of them renewed it for a 2nd time, and by the 4th month, only 19 million ever refill them. That’s a 36% dropout rate! [3]

  • It’s also estimated that another 25 million people, who were recommended statins by their doctor, never fill that first prescription. [5] This is primarily because of the widely reported side effects of statins.

The most interesting statistics come from recent meta-analyses of all the statin drug trials. Meta-analyses are statistical assessments of a series of clinical trials, to determine the long-term effects of a specific treatment protocol. Most of the clinical trials reported that statins reduced mortality in individuals who already had a heart attack. Sounds good, doesn’t it? However, the researchers at Harvard Medical School crunched all the numbers and revealed that in reality only 1 death is prevented for every 95 people who are treated with high-dose statin therapy over a 2-year period. [6] That doesn’t sound too encouraging, does it?

This page described 2 natural, plant-derived compounds called sterols and stanols, which appear to to inhibit cholesterol absorption within the intestines, and does so safely and effectively. Sterols are almost identical in molecular structure to cholesterol, but the mircovilli within the small intestine will not absorb them, so they competitively block the ability to absorb cholesterol. There are 80 different published clinical trials that have demonstrated the effectiveness of these 2 compounds for naturally balancing total cholesterol levels.


References:

  1. Cholesterol Levels: AHA Recommendations
    American Heart Association website

  2. Statins: Too many people are taking them (and they’re doing far less good than you think)
    Healthy.Net ~ 2/11/2007

  3. How Many People Take Cholesterol Drugs?
    Forbes Magazine ~ Oct 30, 2008

  4. Medical Expenditures Panel Survey
    Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality

  5. Dr. Jaime McManus
    Internationsl Convention Report ~ 8-06-2010

  6. Effect of intensive lipid-lowering therapy on mortality after acute coronary syndrome
    (a patient-level analysis of the Aggrastat to Zocor and Pravastatin or Atorvastatin Evaluation and Infection Therapy-Thrombolysis in Myocardial Infarction 22 trials)
    Am J Cardiol. 2007 (Oct 1); 100 (7): 1047-51


The New Low-Cholesterol Diet:
Plant Sterols and Stanols

A WebMD Feature

Plant sterols and stanols are substances that occur naturally in small amounts in many grains, vegetables, fruits, legumes, nuts, and seeds. Since they have powerful cholesterol-lowering properties, manufacturers have started adding them to foods. You can now get stanols or sterols in margarine spreads, orange juice, cereals, and even granola bars.

 
   

Sterols and Stanols Abstracts
 
   

Association of Natural Intake of Dietary Plant Sterols with Carotid
Intima-media Thickness and Blood Lipids in Chinese Adults:
A Cross-section Study

PLoS One. 2012;   7 (3):   e32736

This community-based cross-sectional study included 1160 men and 2780 women aged 31-75 years. Dietary intakes were assessed using a food-frequency questionnaire. The IMTs at the common, bifurcation and internal carotid artery segments, and fasting serum total (TC), LDL (LDLc) and HDL (HDLc) cholesterol, and triglycerides (TG) were determined. Greater PS consumption from natural diets is associated with lower serum total, LDL, non-HDL cholesterol and with thinner left internal IMT in women and men.


Very High Plant Stanol Intake and Serum Plant Stanols
and Non-cholesterol Sterols

Eur J Nutr. 2010 (Mar);   49 (2):   111–1117

We evaluated the effects of very high daily intake of plant stanols (8.8 g/day) as esters on cholesterol metabolism, and serum levels of plant sterols and stanols.


Plant Stanol Supplementation Decreases Serum Triacylglycerols
in Subjects With Overt Hypertriglyceridemia

Lipids. 2009 (Dec);   44 (12):   1131–1140

Evidence is accumulating that high serum concentrations of triacylglycerols (TAG) are, like LDL cholesterol, causally related to cardiovascular disease. A recent meta-analysis has indicated that plant stanol ester (PSE) intake not only lowered LDL cholesterol, but also serum TAG concentrations, especially in subjects with high baseline TAG concentrations. We therefore evaluated the effects of PSE supplementation on lipid metabolism in a population with elevated fasting TAG concentrations.


The Influence of Dietary Plant Sterols and Plant Stanols on Cholesterol
and Plant Sterol Levels in Atheromatous Plaques

The ClinicalTrials.gov website

Evidence is accumulating that high serum concentrations of triacylglycerols (TAG) are, like LDL cholesterol, causally related to cardiovascular disease. A recent meta-analysis has indicated that plant stanol ester (PSE) intake not only lowered LDL cholesterol, but also serum TAG concentrations, especially in subjects with high baseline TAG concentrations. We therefore evaluated the effects of PSE supplementation on lipid metabolism in a population with elevated fasting TAG concentrations.


Plant Sterols and Sterolins: Monograph
Alternative Medicine Review 2001 (Jun);   6 (2):   203 ~ FULL TEXT

Sterols and sterolins, also known as phytosterols, are fats present in all plants, including fruits and vegetables. Although they are chemically similar to the animal fat, cholesterol, they have been shown to exert significant unique biochemical effects in both animals and humans. Because they are bound to the fibers of the plant, they are difficult to absorb during the transit of digested food through the gut, particularly in individuals with impaired digestive function. [1] For this reason, and because much of the modern diet is over-processed and low in fresh plant materials, sterols and sterolins appear in the serum and tissue of healthy humans at 800-1000 times lower concentrations than that of cholesterol.


Plant Sterols and Sterolins:
A Review of Their Immune-Modulating Properties

Alternative Medicine Review 1999 (Jun);   4 (3):   170–177 ~ FULL TEXT

Beta-sitosterol (BSS) and its glycoside (BSSG) are sterol molecules which are synthesized by plants. In animals, BSS and BSSG have been shown to exhibit anti-inflammatory, anti-neoplastic, anti-pyretic, and immune-modulating activity.

Thanks to  
Pub Med
for their quality MEDLINE search tool.


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