Wednesday November 12, 2008 (foodconsumer.org) -- Many
people know more about statins than plant sterols when it comes to their
cholesterol lowering effects.
is that plant sterols are quite effective at lowering cholesterol which is
believed by many to be a risk factor for cardiovascular events like heart
attacks and strokes.
One report published in the Dec 2008 issue of Current
Atherosclerosis Reports says studies have shown that plant-sterols when incorporated
into fat spread or even other food matrixes such as juices, nonfat beverages,
milk and yogurt, cheese, meat, croissants and muffins, cereals and chocolate
bars helped reduce absorption of cholesterol and lower its levels in the blood.
AbuMweis S S and Jones P J of University of Manitoba in
Canada say in their report that the plant substances are similar to cholesterol
in their chemical structure.
similarity may play a role in the reduced absorption of cholesterol.
The authors also point out that the cholesterol-lowering
effect can be enhanced by adding to a plant-sterols rich diet other beneficial
substances such as olive and fish oil, fibers, and soy proteins. Exercise along
with supplementation of plant sterols may also boost the effect.
One study led by Jenkins D J and colleagues at St
in Toronto and published in Jan 2008 issue of metabolism confirmed that plant
sterols are able to lower circulating cholesterol levels.
The researchers tested a few dietary components that are assumed
to be able to lower cholesterol and found taking all dietary components
including plant sterols resulted in a 15.4 percent reduction in low density
lipoprotein cholesterol or LDL-C.
reduction dropped to 9 .0 percent when plant sterols were removed from the
The tests were conducted in forty-two hyperlipidemic
participants who were given diets high in soy protein (22.5 g/1000 kcal),
viscous fibers (10 g/1000 kcal), and almonds (23 g/1000 kcal) for 80 weeks.
Cholesterol is believed to be a major risk factor for
heart attack and stroke.
Statins like Crestor
are very effective at lowering cholesterol. But the reduction in the risk of
heart disease is not as effective.
A new study presented in New Orleans at the American
Heart Association's Scientific Sessions showed people even with normal range of
cholesterol may benefit from taking Crestor, a statin made by Astra-Zeneca.
The 1.9-year study found cardiovascular event like heart
attacks, strokes, and deaths from cardiovascular causes was found in 0.9% of
statin users had one of these events, compared to 1.8% of placebo users.
But news media reported that to save one life, it would
take 120 people to take Crestor for 1.9 years and the possible cost would be
Worse of all, Crestor like many other statins is not free
of side effects.
It has been known that
all statins cause muscle damage.
case of Crestor, the new study showed that those who took the drug were at a
higher risk of diabetes.
Good news is that there are plenty of things people can
do to avoid high cholesterol.
foods are free of cholesterol in the first place. In addition to plant sterols,
which helps reduce absorption of cholesterol, omega 3 fatty acids and red yeast
rice are two powerful natural remedies to lower cholesterol and prevent heart
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