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Clin Hemorheol Microcirc. 2006;35(1-2):251-5.

Phytosterols in milk as a depressor of plasma cholesterol levels: experimental evidence with hypercholesterolemic Portuguese subjects.

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Instituto de Biopatologia Química, Unidade de Biopatologia Vascular, Instituto de Medicina Molecular, Faculdade de Medicina de Lisboa, 1649-028 Lisboa, Portugal.


Plant sterols have been reported to decrease plasma concentrations of cholesterol without any side effects. To evaluate the effects on plasma cholesterol concentrations and the hemorheological parameters, we performed a study with hypercholesterolemic patients (n = 19) treated with phytosterol-enriched milk (2 g/day). Hypercholesterolemic patients (n = 15) of matched age drinking equal type of milk but without phytosterols were used as control group. Concentrations of total cholesterol, HDL-C, LDL-C and hemorheological parameters were measured in the beginning, after 15 and 30 days of milk intake. After 15 days of beverage intake, hypercholesterolemic subjects treated with phytosterol-enriched milk showed a significant decrease in plasma concentrations of total cholesterol and LDL-C by 9.62% (p < 0.05) and 12.20% (p < 0.05), respectively. After 30 days, a little increase in the total cholesterol and LDL-C concentrations were observed. In the hypercholesterolemic control group there were nonsignificant changes between plasma concentrations of total cholesterol, HDL-C and LDL-C during the study. The evaluation of plasma viscosity and erythrocyte aggregation shows no changes statistically significant during the study for both groups studied. The results obtained during the study show a positive effect with the phytosterol-enriched milk as plasma cholesterol-lowering as combined treatment for hypercholesterolemia.

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