Beta-sitosterol is a plant sterol which is used as a nutritional supplement. Sterols are white waxy type substances which can resemble cholesterol in appearance. These plant sterols are found in many different plant sources. Beta-Stiosterol is found in plants such as the saw palmetto berry the black cumin seed, pumpkin seeds, soybeans and wolfberries.

These substances have been studied and used for several different medical purposes by naturopaths and others who seek natural or alternative ways to treat certain ailments. The specific benefits of Beta-Sitosterol will be discussed here in detail in this article.

Beta-Sitosterol has been studied thoroughly for its benefit in a wide array of disorders. One of the main benefits that many people recognize the Beta-Sitosterol for is that of the Saw Palmetto berries for benign prostatic hypertrophy. This disorder causes inflammation and swelling of the prostate gland in men. The prostate gland causes a partial obstruction of the urethra which can cause problems such as urinary tract infections, urinary retention, backflow of urine into the bladder, ureters, or kidneys, loss of bladder function and even kidney failure. Some men also experience problems with sexual function including impotence with this disorder. Other symptoms include low back or abdominal pain, testicular pain or swelling, and groin pain.

Western medicine has two options for men who have this disorder. There are medications that can be prescribed and there are surgical procedures that can be utilized to reduce the size of the prostate gland. The problem with the prescription medications are the fact that they can take a very long time to take effect. They can also have side effects. The Beta-Sitosterols such as Saw Palmetto works more quickly in most cases in reducing the discomfort of the enlarged prostate gland and reducing urinary symptoms. In addition, there are very few if any side effects that have been reported with this herbal supplement. Many urologists are recommending that men who have mild to moderate benign prostatic hypertrophy utilize Saw Palmetto for their disorder.

Research has also shown that Beta-Sitosterol can be beneficial in reducing cholesterol levels. Today there are many plant sterols that are added to food products such as margarine that are marketed to help promote heart health and to help reduce cholesterol levels. Beta-Sitosterol has been added to margarines, yogurts and other foods in the market in order to allow people to get a daily dosage of 1.3 to 3 grams on a daily basis. Clinical trials showed that Beta-Sitosterol was able to reduce the cholesterol levels of participants who were between the ages of 40-49 17mg/dl when they averaged getting 2 grams of this substance on a daily basis. Those who were between the ages of 50-59 had a reduction in their cholesterol levels of 21 mg/dl and the participants who were between the ages of 30-39 had a reduction in their cholesterol levels of 13mg/dl. The information gathered in the studied stated that by reducing the levels of the 50-59 age group by over 20mg, they had effectively reduced their chance of developing heart disease by as much as 25% after a 2 year period of time. They felt this was much better than the results that had been obtained by those wanting to reduce cholesterol levels who had attempted to do so by eating a low fat diet alone.

Beta-Sitosterol has been studied for its anti-inflammatory effects in addition to the other uses noted above. A small study was done on people with pulmonary tuberculosis. They found that the participants who were supplemented with the plant sterols were successfully able to gain weight and had higher level white cell counts. These people generally had a quicker clinical recovery than their counterparts.

More studies are being done on these plant sterols to see what other benefits they may have to offer the average consumer. However they already play a big part in helping to reduce cholesterol levels and lowering our chances of heart disease which is a big plus for a lot of people.

Last updated on Oct 5th, 2009 and filed under Nutritional Information. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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