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Eur Heart J. 2012 Feb;33(4):444-51. doi: 10.1093/eurheartj/ehr441.

Plant sterols and cardiovascular disease: a systematic review and meta-analysis.

Author information

  • 1Mannheim Institute of Public Health, Social and Preventive Medicine, Medical Faculty Mannheim, University of Heidelberg, Heidelberg, Germany. bernd.genser@bgstats.com

Abstract

The impact of increased serum concentrations of plant sterols on cardiovascular risk is unclear. We conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis aimed to investigate whether there is an association between serum concentrations of two common plant sterols (sitosterol, campesterol) and cardiovascular disease (CVD). We systematically searched the databases MEDLINE, EMBASE, and COCHRANE for studies published between January 1950 and April 2010 that reported either risk ratios (RR) of CVD in relation to serum sterol concentrations (either absolute or expressed as ratios relative to total cholesterol) or serum sterol concentrations in CVD cases and controls separately. We conducted two meta-analyses, one based on RR of CVD contrasting the upper vs. the lower third of the sterol distribution, and another based on standardized mean differences between CVD cases and controls. Summary estimates were derived by fixed and random effects meta-analysis techniques. We identified 17 studies using different designs (four case-control, five nested case-control, three cohort, five cross-sectional) involving 11 182 participants. Eight studies reported RR of CVD and 15 studies reported serum concentrations in CVD cases and controls. Funnel plots showed evidence for publication bias indicating small unpublished studies with non-significant findings. Neither of our meta-analyses suggested any relationship between serum concentrations of sitosterol and campesterol (both absolute concentrations and ratios to cholesterol) and risk of CVD. Our systematic review and meta-analysis did not reveal any evidence of an association between serum concentrations of plant sterols and risk of CVD.

PMID:
22334625
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC3279314
Free PMC Article

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