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Plant sterols as dietary adjuvants in the reduction of cardiovascular risk: theory and evidence

Authors Craig S Patch, Linda C Tapsell, Peter G Williams, Michelle Gordon

Published 15 June 2006 Volume 2006:2(2) Pages 157—162


Craig S Patch1, Linda C Tapsell1, Peter G Williams1, Michelle Gordon2

1National Centre of Excellence in Functional Foods, Northfields Avenue, University of Wollongong, New South Wales, Australia; 2Unilever Food and Health Research Institute, Rotterdam, The Netherlands

Abstract: Plant sterol-enriched foods are an effective dietary adjuvant in reducing cardiovascular risk by lowering total cholesterol and low density lipoprotein-cholesterol (LDLC) in serum by up to ~15%. The mechanism of action of plant sterols is different from those of 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl coenzyme A inhibitors (statins) and thus their effect is additive. Combining plant sterols with other dietary components known to reduce cholesterol in a portfolio approach has proven to be most effective for reduction of hypercholesterolemia and provide an alternative treatment option for clinicians. Plant sterol-enriched foods provides clinicians with a relatively cheap, safe, and effective way to help patients manage their cardiovascular risk.

Keywords: plant sterols, plant stanols, cardiovascular risk, cholesterol, LDL-cholesterol

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