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Beta Sitosterol

What is Beta Sitosterol?

Beta sitosterol, otherwise known as plant sterol or phytosterol, is a large assortment of steroid like alcohols and phytochemicals occurring naturally in many plant species. As constituents of food, or as a nutritional supplement, phytosterols can lower blood cholesterol levels by regulating and decreasing cholesterol absorption by the intestines. Phytosterols are also effective in preventing cancer. Beta-sitosterol is a (good) cholesterol-like compound found in many foods, such as nuts, rice bran, wheat germ, corn oils fruits, vegetables and seeds. It's best absorbed in consistent, supplementary form, such as with a pill or vitamin. There are hundreds of "sterols" in the food supply, but beta-sitosterol has specific properties that fight the effects of stress. Beta-sitosterol has long been known for its properties that help support healthy cholesterol levels and a healthy immune system, but beta-sitosterol is also excellent for helping muscles to recover from stress, such as after a competition or an injury. As such it's best when taken after physical exertion or injury, or during times of stress.

Aside from treating high levels of LDL ("bad") cholesterol, Beta sitosterol is also used to relieve enlarged prostate symptoms in men. Studies have also shown beta-sitosterol can also help boost your immune system, treat asthma, decrease baldness or hair loss, treat gallstones, alleviate menopause symptoms and increase sexual functioning. Researchers conclude that beta-sitosterol is effective in regulating the stress response by managing cortisol levels within a normal range, and it has also been shown to rebuild hormones such as DHEA. In foods, beta-sitosterol is added to some margarines that are designed for use as part of a cholesterol-lowering diet and for preventing heart disease. The federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA) permits manufacturers to mention that foods containing plant sterol esters such as beta-sitosterol are for reducing the risk of coronary heart disease (CHD). This rule is based on the FDA's conclusion that plant sterol esters may reduce the risk of CHD by lowering blood cholesterol levels.

What is Beta Sitosterol used for and who uses it?

Beta-sitosterol is used to help prevent heart disease and lower or regulate high cholesterol by limiting the amount of cholesterol that is able to enter the body. Some other benefits of Beta sitosterol are its anti cancer properties and its ability to bring blood sugar levels back to normal. It is also used for boosting the immune system and for preventing colon cancer, as well as for gallstones, the common cold and flu (influenza), tuberculosis, hair loss, bronchitis, and chronic fatigue syndrome. Men use beta-sitosterol for BPH (benign prostatic hyperplasia) or enlarged prostate, while women on the other hand use it for symptoms of menopause. For athletes like marathon runners beta-sitosterol is used to reduce pain and swelling after intense training sessions or competitions. Some people use beta-sitosterol topically for treating wounds and burns.

Recent studies have shown that Beta-sitosterol can benefit overall health and well-being in two ways. First it can help bring down our cholesterol. With heart disease a major cause of death in both the United States and in many parts of the world keeping cholesterol levels under control should be a priority. Beta-sitosterol has also shown positive results in treating BPH (enlarged prostate), a very common problem for men as they age, by relieving some of the more common symptoms associated with this condition. Men who have taken Beta sitosterol have seen and experienced a reduction in urination problems, by getting improved urination flow and complete control over their urination habits.

How pure is your Beta Sitosterol?

This Beta Sitosterol 40% (Phytosterol 90%) is a powder product assayed by the manufacturer to be 42.10% Beta Sitosterol and 90.50% Phytosterol extracted from soy beans (vegetarian and vegan). Beta Sitosterol is one of a group of organic compounds found in plants that, alone and in combination with similar plant sterols, reduces blood levels of cholesterol. Beta-sitosterol is also one of the best immune-supporting nutrients you can take when your body is undergoing stress, whether physical, mental or emotional. Although Beta-sitosterol is found in many fruits like avocado and food products like margarine, to get enough in your diet can be a rather high-caloric undertaking (several handfuls of nuts or nut butters, or constant servings of vegetables throughout the day). Also, few people today take in the suggested amount of Beta-sitosterol from purely dietary sources. For these reasons, to achieve the optimal levels of protection that may be afforded by Beta-sitosterol, an individual may wish to consider using Beta sitosterol supplements.

Solubility and Daily recommended dose of Beta Sitosterol

All phytosterols are insoluble in water but may be dissolved in alcohol, acetone, and most vegetable oils. For people using Beta Sitosterol to aid an enlarged prostate (known medically as benign prostatic hyperplasia, or BPH), 130 mg of beta-sitosterol divided into 2-3 doses daily is recommended, a total of 390 mg at most daily, or about one fourth level teaspoon of this product. Individuals with high cholesterol wanting to supplement with Beta Sitosterol for their general cardiac and cardiovascular health should consider 800mg per day divided and given before meals, taken along with a low-fat diet.

As always, if you have concerns or questions, consult a physician or a health care professional before taking any supplements. Before taking any kind of medicine, check with your doctor to ensure that the supplement you want to take is right for you. You may be allergic or you may have a sensitive stomach which may raise the need for special instruction as far as dosage goes.

Precautions and Potential side effects of Beta Sitosterol

Numerous clinical trials of Beta Sitosterol have shown that it has no known side effects or toxicity, which makes it generally safe to use. Although most people don't experience many side effects, ingesting more than the recommended dose may cause stomach upset, nausea, diarrhoea, gas or constipation. For those who are pregnant and breast-feeding, stay on the safe side and avoid using this supplement. Beta Sitosterol is also not advisable for people with Sitosterolemia, a rare inherited fat storage disease. People with this condition have too much beta-sitosterol and related fats in their system, so taking beta-sitosterol will only make this condition worse.

This information is NOT a substitute for medical advice. ALWAYS consult your doctor or pharmacist. Do not use any dietary supplement as a replacement for conventional care, or as a reason to postpone seeing a doctor about a medical problem. Tell all your health care providers about any complementary and alternative practices you use. Give them a full picture of what you do to manage your health. This will help ensure coordinated and safe care.

Beta Sitosterol is used in the following Proprietary Formulas

Source Naturals Mega Strength Beta Sitosterol, Vitamin Shoppe - Beta Sitosterol, Beta Sitosterol Phytosterol Complex by AmerMed, Beta-Sitosterol Plant Sterols w/ CardioAid by Now Foods, Beta Sitosterol by Swanson Premium Brand, Beta Sitosterol by Vitabase, Prosta Advance - Advanced Prostate Support w/ Saw Palmetto Beta Sitosterol Quercetin by Vitanutricals, Super Saw Palmetto w/ Nettle root and Beta Sitosterol by Life Extension

References & Further Research

"Inhibition of cholesterol absorption by phytosterol-replete wheat germ compared with phytosterol-depleted wheat germ"
This study found out the efficiency of cholesterol absorption from test meals was substantially lower after consumption of original wheat germ than after consumption of phytosterol-free wheat germ, which suggests that endogenous phytosterols in wheat germ and possibly in other low-fat vegetable foods may have important effects on cholesterol absorption and metabolism that are independent of major nutrients.

"Plant Sterols and Risk of Stomach Cancer: A Case-Control Study in Uruguay"
This research have shown and documented the strong inverse relationship of total phytosterols with stomach cancer

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