Alternative Healing Resources Holistic Health Tools
Holistic Health and Natural Healing Articles ~
Home holistic health resources Search holistic health resources Privacy Policy holistic health resources Contact Us holistic health resources Children's Health
Women's Health Portal holistic health resources Men's Health Portal holistic health resources Senior Health Portal

Scientific Evidence Proves that Plant Sterols/Stanols Help Lower Cholesterol!

Suggested Reading:
What Your Cholesterol Numbers Mean

By now everybody knows how important cholesterol control is for reducing the risk of heart disease, which is still the #1 killer of men and women in this country. Each year, more than a million Americans have heart attacks, and about a half million people die from heart disease.

Yet, despite a plethora of information, there is still plenty of confusion about heart disease and its relationship to cholesterol, its metabolism, and the best way to manage it. Specifically, high blood and total cholesterol is associated with an increased risk of heart disease. Populations with a relatively low incidence of heart disease tend to have low cholesterol levels, diets low in fat but high in plant food such as plant sterols and stanols. Managing your cholesterol levels is one way to reduce your risk of heart disease.

The function of cholesterol: Cholesterol is an important part of many cells, organs and tissues. It is used for making cell membranes, synthesis of bile acids, and production of steroid hormones such as estrogen, testosterone, progesterone, and vitamin D. Some cholesterol comes from your diet and the rest is made by the liver. From the liver cholesterol is taken to various parts of the body where it is needed by a special protein. This combination of cholesterol and protein is called LDL. The unused portion of cholesterol is returned back to the liver by HDL.

The importance of healthy cholesterol levels: Normal cholesterol levels are important for overall health. However, high cholesterol is a known risk factor for heart disease. High heart disease rates occur among people with high total cholesterol levels of 240 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL) or above and LDL cholesterol levels of 160 mg/dL or above. According to the most recent guidelines, healthy cholesterol level (total cholesterol) is under 200 mg/dl. The LDL or “bad cholesterol” should be under 130 mg/dl for healthy people and those who have no risk factors for heart disease. People who do have other heart risk factors, such as high blood pressure, obesity, and diabetes should have LDL under 100 mg/dl.

What factors contribute to cholesterol levels? Since most cholesterol is produced within the body, we can only control the portion that comes from the gastro-intestinal tract. Cholesterol is extracted from the food you eat and absorbed together with other fats. Some cholesterol is “dumped” into the intestine by the liver. Part of this cholesterol can be re-absorbed. Only foods of animal origin (meats, poultry, eggs and fish) have cholesterol. Plants have substances structurally similar to cholesterol. They are called plant sterols and plant stanols or collectively phytosterols.

Your diet, physical activity, and weight can influence your cholesterol levels. Diets low in fats, especially saturated fats, but high in plant foods such as plant sterols are associated with a reduced risk in heart disease and lower cholesterol. Overweight people tend to have higher cholesterol and triglyceride levels, while physical activity appears to improve them. Thus, it is important to incorporate phytosterols into your diet and exercise routine.

CoQ10 and Heart Health:CoQ10 is absolutely vital to every cell in the body; without CoQ10 NO cell in the body remains alive. The ramifications of interfering with the production of CoQ10 is insurmountable. CoQ10’s most critical role is to protect and create energy within the cells of the heart and skeletal muscles. The heart has the greatest requirement and highest concentrations of CoQ10 than any other tissue in the body. Reduced levels of CoQ10 could be dangerous to the heart.

PHYTOSEROLS: May reduce the risk of heart disease and help reduce total and LDL cholesterol levels

Scientific evidence establishes that plant sterols and stanols safely reduce the risk of heart disease and help lower cholesterol levels. In fact, FDA has approved a heart claim stating that diets low in fat and cholesterol and that include certain amounts of plant sterols and stanols reduce the risk of heart disease. Because of these findings, the National Cholesterol Education Panel issued a new recommendation that phytosterols be added to cholesterol-lowering regimens, along with regular exercise, weight loss, and a low-fat diet.

Phytosterols are a naturally healthy element of the vegetables and grains. The molecular structure of Phytosterols is so similar to cholesterol that the body allows them to compete with cholesterol for absorption. Phytosterols inhabit absorption sites your intestines obstructing assimilation and facilitate the dietary cholesterol to be excreted in stool, which leads to lower blood levels.

Phytosterols also work in another way. When we eat the body dumps bile salts into the digestive tract to digest fat. Bile salts are made from cholesterol and too, are almost identical in molecular makeup. The human body is so efficient that when the bile salts have completed their digestive work the body reabsorbs the remaining salts, containing cholesterol affecting increased cholesterol levels. Phytosterols prevent re-absorption in the same way they block absorption.

The FDA agrees that foods containing at least 0.65 g per serving of plant sterol esters, eaten twice a day with meals for a daily total intake of at least 1.3 g, as part of a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol, may reduce the risk of heart disease.