Beta-sitosterol is a substance found in plants. Chemists call it a "plant sterol ester." It is found in fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds. It is used to make medicine.
Beta-sitosterol is most commonly used for lowering cholesterol levels and improving symptoms of an enlarged prostate (benign prostatic hyperplasia or BPH). It is also used for other conditions, but there is no good scientific evidence to support its other uses.
In foods, beta-sitosterol is added to some margarines (Take Control, for example) that are designed for use as part of a cholesterol-lowering diet and for preventing heart disease. The federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA) allows manufacturers to claim that foods containing plant sterol esters such as beta-sitosterol are for reducing the risk of coronary heart disease (CHD). This rule is based on the FDA's conclusion that plant sterol esters may reduce the risk of CHD by lowering blood cholesterol levels. Although there is plenty of evidence that beta-sitosterol does lower cholesterol levels, there is no proof that long-term use actually lowers the risk of developing CHD.
Don't confuse beta-sitosterol with sitostanol, a similar substance contained in the product called Benecol. Both sitostanol and beta-sitosterol are used for lowering cholesterol levels in people with high cholesterol and appear to be equally effective.
Is a Form of:
Substance found in plants
Lowering cholesterol levels
Also Known As:
Angelicin, Angélicine, B-Sitosterol 3-B-D-glucoside
How Does It Work?
Beta-sitosterol is a plant substance similar to cholesterol. It might help reduce cholesterol levels by limiting the amount of cholesterol that is able to enter the body. It can also bind to the prostate to help reduce swelling (inflammation).
- Enlarged prostate (benign prostatic hyperplasia or BPH). Taking 60-130 mg daily of beta-sitosterol by mouth in divided doses daily helps improve symptoms of BPH. But it doesn't actually shrink an enlarged prostate. Taking beta-sitosterol in much lower doses or as a single dose with other ingredients doesn't seem to help.
- High cholesterol. Taking beta-sitosterol by mouth can lower total and "bad" low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol levels. But it doesn't raise "good" high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol levels.
- Inherited tendency towards high cholesterol (familial hypercholesterolemia).Taking beta-sitosterol by mouth may help reduce total and "bad" low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol levels in children and adults with familial hypercholesterolemia who are also following a low fat and cholesterol-lowering diet. But beta-sitosterol doesn't appear to work as well as sitostanol or the cholesterol-lowering medication bezafibrate.
The following doses have been studied in scientific research:
- For enlarged prostate (benign prostatic hyperplasia or BPH): 60-130 mg of beta-sitosterol divided into 2-3 doses daily has been used.
- For high cholesterol: 0.65-1.5 grams of beta-sitosterol has been taken twice daily. Beta-sitosterol is usually taken along with a low-fat diet. A combination product containing 2.5 grams of beta-sitosterol and 8 grams of cholestyramine has also been taken daily for 12 weeks. Another combination product containing 8 grams of soy protein and 2 grams of beta-sitosterol has been used daily for 40 days.
- For inherited tendency towards high cholesterol (familial hypercholesterolemia): 2.5-21.1 grams of beta-sitosterol has been taken daily in divided doses, usually before meals. Some research suggests that beta-sitosterol is most effective when taken at a dose of 6 grams daily. Higher doses don't seem to work better.
- For inherited tendency towards high cholesterol (familial hypercholesterolemia): 2-4 grams of beta-sitosterol taken 3 times daily for 3 months has been used in children and teenagers. Also 1 gram of beta-sitosterol has been taken 3 times daily in combination with the medication bezafibrate for 24 months.
Beta-sitosterol is usually taken along with a low-fat diet.
Beta-Sitosterol Supplements Frequently Asked Questions
What is beta sitosterol used for?
What is beta-sitosterol used for? Beta-sitosterol is said to lower cholesterol levels and reduce the risk of some cancers. It also is said to relieve symptoms of benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) .
Does beta sitosterol lower testosterone?
Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia
These plant sterols are the active ingredients in popular margarine spreads (Take Control, Benecol) used to lower cholesterol. Unlike cholesterol, beta-sitosterol cannot be converted to testosterone. It also inhibits aromatase and 5-alpha-reductase.
What foods are high in beta sitosterol?
Among some of the foods especially rich in beta-sitosterol are:
- Canola oil: 96 mg per tablespoon.
- Avocados: 95 mg per cup.
- Margarine: 77 mg per tablespoon.
- Pistachio nuts (raw): 71 mg per cup.
- Corn chips: 57 mg per cup.
- Almonds (raw): 46 mg per cup.
- Fava beans (fresh): 41 mg per cup.
- Soybean oil: 39 mg per tablespoon.
Is beta sitosterol the same as saw palmetto?
Beta-sitosterol, a plant sterol, can also provide benefit. However, one supplement appeared to contain none of its claimed saw palmetto; one provided only 69.2% of its beta-sitosterol, and two saw palmetto products failed FDA labeling requirements by not indicating the part of the plant used.
Does beta sitosterol really work?
Beta-sitosterol is said to lower cholesterol levels and reduce the risk of some cancers. Men who took beta-sitosterol also had a better urine flow rate then men who took a placebo. Research supports the fact that phytosterols, including beta-sitosterol, can reduce cholesterol levels.
Does beta sitosterol cause weight gain?
Unwanted side effects: Oat beta-glucan beats out plant sterols in cholesterol-lowering study. While plant sterol esters have a bigger effect on lowering cholesterol than oat beta-glucans, they can come with unwanted side effects including weight gain and microbiome disturbance, finds a new study.
Can beta sitosterol cause ED?
Beta-sitosterol is LIKELY SAFE for most people when taken by mouth. It can cause some side effects, such as nausea, indigestion, gas, diarrhea, or constipation. Beta-sitosterol has also been linked to reports of erectile dysfunction (ED), loss of interest in sex, and worsened acne.
Does beta sitosterol shrink the prostate?
Enlarged prostate (benign prostatic hyperplasia or BPH).
Taking 60-130 mg daily of beta-sitosterol by mouth in divided doses daily helps improve symptoms of BPH. But it doesn't actually shrink an enlarged prostate.
Does beta sitosterol raise blood pressure?
Antifertility effects were noted at a higher dose (5 mg/kg). 7 In a study of rats, administration of a phytosterol diet for 5 weeks resulted in increases in systolic and diastolic blood pressure values.
Is beta sitosterol a DHT blocker?
Since DHT is one of the primary causes of BPH, this study data has been spun into claims by some supplement manufacturers that beta-sitosterol is a natural DHT blocker that can reduce DHT levels in the body. While it could potentially reduce DHT levels, there's no conclusive scientific data saying yes or no.