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- Phytosterols are plant
sterols structurally similar to cholesterol that act in the
intestine to lower Cholesterol absorption.
- The term "
phytosterols " covers plant sterols and plant stanols. Plant sterols
are naturally occurring substances present in the diet principally
as minor components of vegetable oils. Plant stanols, occurring in
nature at a lower level, are hydrogenation compounds of the
respective plant sterols.
- Benefit of
Phytosterols - Cholesterol Reduction :- Phytosterols may be
beneficial in lowering cholesterol levels. Because they have very
low systemic absorption and are already present in healthy diets,
increasing the intake of phytosterols may be a practical way to
reduce coronary heart disease with minimum risk.
- Free phytosterols
extracted from oils are insoluble in water, relatively insoluble in
oil, and soluble in alcohols.
- Dietary phytosterols
:- The richest naturally occurring sources of phytosterols are
vegetable oils and products made from them. Nuts, which are rich in
phytosterols, are often eaten in smaller amounts but can still
significantly contribute to total phytosterol intake.
- The intake of
naturally occurring phytosterols ranges between ~150-450 mg/day
depending on eating habit.
- The most commonly
occurring phytosterols in the human diet are β-sitosterol,
campesterol and stigmasterol which account for approximately 65%,
30% and 3% of diet contents,respectively.
- Oils have a very high
content of phytosterols. gdPeas, cauliflower and broccoli are
vegetables with a high content of phytosterols. Oranges, tangerines
and mangos are fruits with a high content of phytosterols.
- A daily intake of
approximately 2.5 g of phytosterols enriched breakfast cereal,
reduced fat yoghurt, reduced fat milk or bread reduces LDL-C levels
by approximately 5 to 15%.
- Phytosterols are able
• reduce both total cholesterol and low-density lipoproteins levels.
• Inhibit the cholesterol absorption in the intestine due to great
hydrophobicity. High doses of phytosterols can reduce the
cholesterol absorption in 30-50%.
• Act as immunomodulators, playing a pivotal role in the prevention
of colon and breast cancers, control of the benign prostatic
hyperplasia and in the damaged tissues associated with inflammation.
- Phytosterols are
employed in different sectors:
• As food additive
• In medicine.
• In pharmacy.
• In biotechnology.
• In cosmetics
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