(also called plant sterols
) are a group of steroid alcohols
naturally occurring in plants
. Phytosterols occur naturally in small quantities in vegetable oils, especially sea buckthorn oil
(1640 mg/100g oil), One such phytosterol complex, isolated from vegetable oil, is , composed of , , and , and is marketed as a . They are white powders with mild, characteristic odor, insoluble in water and soluble in . They have applications in and and as a taken to lower .
Plants contain a range of phytosterols. They act as a structural component in the cell membrane
, a role that, in mammalian
cells, is played by cholesterol
As a food additive
As a food ingredient or additive, phytosterols have cholesterol-lowering properties (reducing cholesterol absorption in intestines).
The status of the safety and efficacy of the use of phytosterols as a food-additive is disputed. While recent studies suggest that dietary supplementation of plant sterols can have a leveling effect on human cholesterol
, some studies would appear to indicate that they are hard on the heart, arteries and blood-vessels, meaning, depending on intake, they may do more damage to the circulatory system
than they... Read More