Does phytosterol have a beneficial effect on cholesterol metabolism?

From: The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition

Journal rating:
rating: 98%
Study Quality:
rating: 85%

Overall Reliability

Article Quality:
rating: 65%
rating: 0%


  • 18 adults


  • Participants received a phytosterol-deficient diet plus beverages supplemented with 0, 400, or 2000 mg phytosterols/day for 4 wk each (in random order).
  • All meals were prepared in a metabolic kitchen; breakfast and dinner on weekdays were eaten on site.


  • Phytosterol intakes (diet plus supplements) averaged 59, 459, and 2059 mg/d during the 3 diet periods.
  • Relative to the 59-mg diet, the 459- and 2059-mg phytosterol intakes significantly increased total faecal cholesterol excretion and biliary cholesterol excretion and reduced percentage intestinal cholesterol absorption.
  • Serum LDL cholesterol declined significantly only with the highest phytosterol dose; a trend was observed with the 459-mg/d dose


  • Yes (with confidence) – at doses of 459- and 2059-mg phytosterol.


Editors Notes

  • Phytosterol supplementation of 2 g/d is recommended by the National Cholesterol Education Program to reduce 'bad' LDL cholesterol.
  • Because it is not feasible to obtain 2 g phytosterols in a natural diet, food manufacturers enrich common products (eg, margarine, orange juice, yogurt drinks, and granola bars) with phytosterols to enable individuals to achieve the recommended intake goal.
  • A large failing with the study is the low level of participants, and as such, the results are to be treated with caution.