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Nutr Rev. 2006 Jul;64(7 Pt 1):348-54.

The role of dietary supplementation with plant sterols and stanols in the prevention of cardiovascular disease.

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Laboratory for Atherosclerosis and Metabolic Research, Department of Medical Pathology, UC Davis Medical Center, Sacramento, California 95817, USA.


Several studies have shown that increased levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol predict cardiovascular events. The Adult Treatment Panel II (ATP II) introduced the principle of therapeutic lifestyle changes, including plant sterols/stanols for the management of LDL cholesterol. Plant sterols and stanols in fat matrices effectively lower LDL cholesterol levels in hypercholesterolemic, diabetic, and healthy human volunteers. Recent studies also show that sterols (2 g/d) lower LDL cholesterol even when incorporated in nonfat matrices. In addition, they may reduce biomarkers of oxidative stress and inflammation. Plant sterols and stanols exert their hypocholesterolemic effects possibly by interfering with the uptake of both dietary and biliary cholesterol from the intestinal tract. Present evidence is accumulating to promote their use for lowering LDL cholesterol levels, as a first line of therapy (as well as adjunctive therapy) in patients on statin therapy.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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