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Maturitas. 2010 Jun;66(2):158-62. doi: 10.1016/j.maturitas.2009.12.015. Epub 2010 Jan 8.

Plant sterols and stanols for healthy ageing.

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Lipid Research Center, CHUQ-CHUL Pavilion, Québec, Québec, Canada.


The proportion of elderly is growing worldwide. This trend is in parallel to an increase in diseases, such as cardiovascular disease (CVD). Plant sterols and stanols (PS) consumption is known to decrease low-density lipoprotein-cholesterol (LDL-C) levels by 5-15%, and thus lower CVD risk. Yet, the effect of PS on LDL-C levels differs between individuals. Furthermore, PS have recently been investigated for the prevention of other age-related diseases. The objective of this review is to examine the benefits of PS on CVD as well as ageing-associated diseases. PS have the ability to significantly lower LDL-C; yet, the large inter-individual variability in the lowering of LDL-C may be due to subject characteristics, food matrix of PS, dose of PS, dietary background, frequency of intake of PS, the additive effect of other foods or drugs, as well as genetic factors. Further, PS may also have other potential beneficial effects including anti-atherogenic, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and anti-cancer activities. Overall, dietary intervention strategies, such as incorporating PS into a healthy diet, should be recommended and implemented in older adult populations in order to prevent ageing-associated diseases and hence promote healthy ageing.

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