What does beta-sitosterol do?
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.1 2 3
The reduction of cholesterol levels appears to be because beta-sitosterol blocks absorption of cholesterol.4 It has also been effective in reducing symptoms of benign prostatic hyperplasia.5 Although molecules quite similar to beta-sitosterol inhibit cancer cells in test tubes, the relevance of this information for people remains unknown.6
Where is beta-sitosterol found?
Beta-sitosterol is one of several plant sterols (cholesterol is the main animal sterol) found in almost all plants. High levels are found in rice bran, wheat germ, corn oil, and soybeans. Peanuts and its products, such as peanut oil, peanut butter, and peanut flour, are good sources of plant sterols, particularly beta-sitosterol.7
Beta-sitosterol has been used in connection with the following conditions (refer to the individual health concern for complete information):
Who is likely to be deficient of beta-sitosterol?
Because beta-sitosterol is not an essential nutrient, deficiencies do not occur.
How much beta-sitosterol is usually taken?
Between 500 mg and 10 grams of beta-sitosterol per day have been used in clinical research to reduce elevated blood cholesterol levels. Between 60 (20 mg three times per day) and 130 mg per day have been used in trials reporting a reduction in prostatic hyperplasia-related symptoms.8 9
Are there any side effects or interactions with beta-sitosterol?
No significant side effects or interactions have yet been reported in studies on beta-sitosterol.
At the time of writing, there were no well-known drug interactions with beta-sitosterol.