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Am J Clin Nutr. 2010 Jul;92(1):24-33. doi: 10.3945/ajcn.2009.29143. Epub 2010 May 26.

Plant stanols dose-dependently decrease LDL-cholesterol concentrations, but not cholesterol-standardized fat-soluble antioxidant concentrations, at intakes up to 9 g/d.

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Department of Human Biology, Maastricht University, Maastricht, Netherlands.



It is unclear whether plant stanols lower serum LDL-cholesterol concentrations and cholesterol-standardized fat-soluble antioxidant concentrations dose-dependently when consumption exceeds the recommended daily intakes of 2.0-3.0 g.


The objective was to study the relation between plant stanols provided as plant stanol esters on changes in serum concentrations of LDL cholesterol and fat-soluble antioxidants.


Healthy subjects (n = 93) with slightly elevated serum total cholesterol concentrations (5.0-8.0 mmol/L) received, after a 3-wk run-in period, control products (n = 22) or products (margarine and soy-based yogurt) providing 3 g (n = 24), 6 g (n = 22), or 9 g (n = 25) plant stanols provided as fatty acid esters for 4 wk.


Serum LDL cholesterol decreased dose-dependently. Compared with control, decreases in the 3-g group were 0.32 mmol/L (7.4%; P = 0.005 after adjustment for multiple comparisons). An intake of 6 g plant stanols caused an additional decrease of 0.18 mmol/L (4.5%; P = 0.100 compared with the 3-g group). In the 9-g group, a further decrease of 0.22 mmol/L (5.4%) was observed (P = 0.048 compared with the 6-g group). Serum LDL-cholesterol concentrations were lowered by 17.4% in the 9-g group compared with the control group. No effects on cholesterol-standardized beta-carotene concentrations were observed. Even the change of -0.01 mumol/mmol cholesterol (or -9.2%; P = 0.341) in the 3-g group compared with the control group was not statistically significant because of the large variation in response. Serum HDL-cholesterol and triacylglycerol concentrations, cholesterol-standardized alpha-tocopherol and lutein concentrations, and plasma markers reflecting liver and renal function were not affected.


Daily consumption of plant stanols up to 9 g reduces serum LDL-cholesterol concentrations linearly up to 17.4%. For cholesterol-standardized fat-soluble antioxidant concentrations, such a relation could not be ascertained.

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