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Metabolism. 1998 Jun;47(6):751-6.

Short-term administration of tall oil phytosterols improves plasma lipid profiles in subjects with different cholesterol levels.

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School of Dietetics and Human Nutrition, McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada.


To assess the short-term cholesterol-lowering potential of sitostanol-containing tall oil plant sterols, 22 subjects consumed fixed-food diets over two 10-day periods with or without 21.2 mg/kg body weight/d tall oil phytosterols (sitosterol 62%, sitostanol 21%, campesterol 16%, and campestanol 1%) in a randomized crossover study design. On day 10 of each diet, plasma lipoprotein cholesterol levels, plasma phytosterol concentrations, and cholesterol biosynthesis rates were determined. Total cholesterol (TC) and low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol levels were lower (P < .01) after administration of tall oil phytosterol (4.7 +/- 0.3 and 3.0 +/- 0.3 mmol/L, respectively) versus placebo (5.0 +/- 0.3 and 3.2 +/- 0.3 mmol/L, respectively). Tall oil treatment had no effect on the plasma high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol level (1.1 +/- 0.1 mmol/L) versus placebo (1.1 +/- 0.1 mmol/L). Similarly, plasma triglyceride (TG) levels did not differ between tall oil (1.3 +/- 0.2 mmol/L) and placebo (1.4 +/- 0.2 mmol/L) treatments. Plasma campesterol (15.8 +/- 3.7 mmol/mol cholesterol) and sitosterol (6.0 +/- 2.1 mmol/mol cholesterol) levels were not different after tall oil treatment versus placebo treatment (15.4 +/- 2.3 and 6.4 +/- 2.0 mmol/mol cholesterol, respectively). Plasma sitostanol levels were essentially undetectable. No difference was observed in cholesterol biosynthesis between tall oil (0.045 +/- 0.004 pools/d) and placebo (0.034 +/- 0.004 pools/d) treatments; however, the effect of treatments in subjects with different cholesterol levels varied. In subjects with lower cholesterol values, the red blood cell cholesterol fractional synthesis rate (FSR) increased from 0.0291 +/- 0.0054 pools/d after placebo to 0.0509 +/- 0.0049 pools/d (P < .05) after phytosterol treatment. In subjects with higher cholesterol values, the red blood cell cholesterol FSR did not change significantly after treatment. These results demonstrate the short-term efficacy of tall oil plant sterols as cholesterol-lowering agents.

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