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Atherosclerosis. 1977 Nov;28(3):325-38.

Plant sterols as cholesterol-lowering agents: clinical trials in patients with hypercholesterolemia and studies of sterol balance.


We have evaluated the efficacy of plant sterol preparations from two different sources and in two different physical forms in lowering the plasma cholesterol of a total of 46 patients with type II hyperlipoproteinemia when given in addition to appropriate diet therapy. In addition, the mechanisms of the hypocholesterolemic effect were investigated in 7 patients by a sterol balance technique. The maximal mean cholesterol lowering in response to any preparation was 12 percent, although it was much greater in some individual patients. Sterol balance data showed that plant sterols inhibit cholesterol absorption with maximal negative cholesterol balance in adults at a dose of 3 g/day of a tall oil sterol suspension. Interestingly, maximal plasma cholesterol reduction in the adult outpatients on this preparation was seen at the same dose level. Since the tall oil sterol suspension is relatively palatable and is poorly absorbed, it has potential value as an adjunct to dietary therapy in patients with mild hypercholesterolemia for whom long-term drug therapy is deemed advisable.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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