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Phytosterols 

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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 to:
    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 widely employed in different sectors:
    As food additive
    In medicine.
    In pharmacy.
    In biotechnology.
    In cosmetics

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