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What are Phytosterols?

Phytosterols are to plants what cholesterol is to humans. All plants contain a variety of phytosterols, but the three most abundant are beta-sitosterol, campesterol, and stigmasterol.

Phytosterols are very similar to animal cholesterol in structure, but they don’t induce the fatty plaque on vessels that can lead to heart disease. In fact, research shows phytosterols can actually stop or slow absorption of dietary cholesterol and cholesterol made by the liver. That is why phytosterols are found in many of today’s natural cholesterol lowering supplements.

Many studies have indicated that up to two grams of phytosterols per day can lower low-density lipoproteins by 10-percent. For this reason, the Food and Drug Administration has permitted products containing phytosterols to be labeled as “heart-healthy.” High density lipoproteins and triglycerides do not appear to be affected by phytosterols.

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