Beta-Sitosterol – what it is, what it is for, benefits and deficiency!

Beta – sitosterol is a phytosterol, which is a sterol produced by plants that is chemically similar to cholesterol and the pure form is a waxy white powder. it is soluble in alcohols but insoluble in water. Therefore, it can also be biosynthesized in the body, usually during the manufacturing process of cell membranes.

The specific process of producing beta-sitosterol varies between organisms, but typically uses cycloartenol. The deoxycilulose and mevalonate pathways are also important in biosynthesis.

What is beta-sitosterol?

Dietary consumption is the main source of phytosterols. They are not synthesized within the human body. Fortified margarines used to lower cholesterol contain 2 g of plant sterols per serving daily. Sitosterols are usually obtained from soybean oil, peanut oil, and avocado oil.

Beta-sitosterol- containing preparations , derived from the South African stargrass Hypoxis rooperi or from Pinus and Picea species, are available for the treatment of benign prostatic hypertrophy. Saw palmetto berries also contain high amounts of beta-sitosterol and other plant sterols.

What is beta sitosterol used for?

Beta – sitosterol is an ally of cardiovascular health, in addition to acting in the prevention of prostate diseases and in the control of blood glucose, helping in the treatment of diabetes. In addition, it assists in the diet, reducing cortisol levels, a hormone related to increased food compulsion and the accumulation of fat in the abdominal region.

As a result, it helps with weight loss, as well as improving immunity and preventing heart disease.

Health benefits of beta sitosterol:

1. Regulates high cholesterol:

High cholesterol treatment is probably your best benefit. Several studies are reported indicating its ability to lower LDL levels, or bad cholesterol . Beta-sitosterol does not appear to affect HDL or good cholesterol levels , or triglycerides.

Plant sterol works by reducing the absorption of cholesterol in the gut by about 50%, producing its excreta, so there is less circulation in the bloodstream.

2 Helps in prostate health:

It has a long history of use in Europe for the treatment of benign prostatic hyperplasia. Studies have found that beta-sitosterol reduced symptoms of an enlarged prostate, such as reduced urinary flow. It appears to work by blocking the production of dihydrotestosterone which triggers the growth of prostate cells.

The report also noted that it reduced the growth and spread of cancer cells in the prostate and induced apoptosis, which is the process in which cancer cells self-destruct. These studies involved isolated animals or prostate cancer cells, but the therapeutic benefit in humans is not yet firmly established.

3. Supports the immune system:

Studies have shown that inadequate levels of beta-sitosterol lead to a compromised immune system by overloading your body with dangerous antibodies that cleanse and attack healthy cells. Furthermore, plant sterols are the only natural substances tested to stimulate cells.

T cells eliminate exogenous invaders and infections, including abnormal cells such as cancer cells. This overproduction disrupts the proper autoimmune response and causes chronic diseases such as lupus, chronic fatigue syndrome, rheumatoid arthritis, and psoriasis.

4. Prevents heart disease:

Cholesterol is one of the main causes of heart disease. Cholesterol is necessary for a properly functioning system, but too much is dangerous. Your liver can only eliminate a certain amount of cholesterol , and when there is too much, it sticks to the arteries, contributing to the buildup of plaque that can cause atherosclerosis and harden the arteries. When the arteries become clogged and the lack of oxygen in the heart produces a heart attack.

5. Regulates triglyceride levels:

The benefits of beta-sitosterol have been proven to lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels, thus contributing to a healthy heart and efficient circulatory system. They mimic cholesterol in their structure, but it serves a very different biological function. Their similarities allow you to limit the amount of cholesterol that is absorbed by the body, giving the liver more time to capture and eliminate circulating cholesterol .

6. Fight cancer:

In one study, they found that beta-sitosterol isolated from the milkweed plant curassavica inhibited the growth of human colon cancer cells. Some research indicates that it may also fight breast cancer. In oncology reports, it was found to induced apoptosis in breast cancer cells.

Apoptosis is a type of programmed cell death that is critical to preventing the proliferation of cancer cells. It is important to keep in mind that more research is needed before it can be recommended for the treatment or prevention of any type of cancer.

7. Reduces high diabetes:

Some animal studies suggest that sterols and sterolins may help reduce risk factors for diabetes and help manage long-term symptoms of diabetes . In hyperglycemic (high blood glucose) and normal blood glucose rats, sterol and sterolin compounds both reduced fasting blood glucose levels, and increased fasting insulin levels. This appears to be due to stimulation of beta cells within the pancreas that produce insulin.

8. Helps in weight loss:

In addition, it assists in the diet, reducing cortisol levels, a hormone related to increased food compulsion and the accumulation of fat in the abdominal region. As a result, beta-sitosterol helps with weight loss, as well as improving immunity and preventing heart disease.

9. Increases immunity:

Other functions of beta-sitosterol are to improve immunity by increasing the activity of cells that act by killing invading microorganisms, helping to treat infections and diseases such as cancer and HIV.

10. Prevents against wrinkles:

Also used as a cosmetic, it can be applied directly to the skin, promoting the prevention of wrinkles, reducing skin relaxation and imperfections.

Sources of beta-sitosterol:

1. Nuts and seeds:

Nutrient-rich nuts and seeds are good sources of vitamin E, potassium , magnesium , and unsaturated fats that help lower cholesterol . They also contain beta-sitosterol. One of the top sources pistachio nuts provides 60 milligrams of beta-sitosterol in one serving.

The next best choices include macadamia nuts, almonds, cashews, walnuts, walnuts, and hazelnuts. Sesame seeds are also good sources of beta-sitosterol, with 1 tablespoon providing 19 milligrams.

2. Fruits and vegetables:

Avocados exceed all other options in this category. If you eat half an avocado, or about 2/3 cup of diced avocado, you will consume 76 milligrams of beta-sitosterol. Your favorite fruits and vegetables contain phytosterols, but values ​​are typically reported for total phytosterols, without a separate amount of beta-sitosterol.

As a general guideline, oranges, beets, and Brussels sprouts have about 24 milligrams of total phytosterols per 100 grams of food. The total amount in carrots, cauliflower, cabbage, bananas, apples, peaches and pears is 8 to 18 milligrams per 100 grams.

3. Vegetable oils:

The highest concentrations of total phytosterols are found in vegetable oils, according to the Linus Pauling Institute. One tablespoon of canola oil and corn oil contains 59 milligrams of beta-sitosterol.

You’ll get about 23 milligrams in a tablespoon of soybean oil and 28 milligrams in the same serving of flaxseed oil. Vegetable oils, as well as nuts, seeds, and avocados, are good sources of healthy unsaturated fats that also lower cholesterol .

4. Dark chocolate:

Dark chocolate contains the same antioxidant phytonutrients as grapes, berries, apples and tea. It is also a natural source of beta-sitosterol. To get the most phytosterols, choose chocolate with the highest percentage of cocoa solids.

A 1-ounce serving of milk chocolate has only 3 milligrams of beta-sitosterol, compared to dark chocolate , with 70% to 85% cocoa solids, which contains 24 milligrams.

beta-sitosterol deficiency

Sterols and sterolins are not considered to be essential nutrients for humans. Therefore, there are no known deficiency symptoms to note. However, it is generally believed that people who do not consume enough plant-based foods develop more health problems than those who do.

Side effects:

There are signs of nausea, indigestion, gas, diarrhea or constipation. Beta – sitosterol has also been linked to erectile dysfunction and loss of interest in sex. In its application to the skin, no restrictions were found, and it is considered possibly safe when applied to the skin.

But in general, studies indicate that it is safe because there are no significant side effects or drug interactions reported, and it can be consumed by most people. The exceptions are cases of pregnancy and breastfeeding, which are insufficient to indicate contraindications. Therefore, it is safer to avoid using it.

Patients with sitosterolemia, a rare hereditary disease of fat accumulation , have high levels of beta-sitosterol and related fats in their system. In addition, they are prone to early heart disease and the intake of beta-sitosterol aggravates this condition. So if you are diagnosed with this, do not take beta-sitosterol.


Useful links: 

Avoid plant sterols such as beta-sitosterol in patients with sitosterolemia, a rare inherited plant sterol storage disorder.

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