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Beta Sitosterol Supplement Guide: Do Plant Sterols Have Side Effects?

One should always ask ‘do plant sterols have side effects?’ before taking them as a cholesterol-lowering supplement. The good news is that they actually don’t have any known negative effects on one’s health or interact with medications in any way.

On the contrary, a variety of studies prove the efficiency of plant sterols in reducing the level of ‘bad’ LDL cholesterol in the blood. They can achieve this by inhibiting the body’s ability to absorb this particular type of lipids.

Plant sterols, also called phytosterols, are substances similar to cholesterol. They come from plants and bring you the ‘good’ cholesterol variety, HDL. Note that even following a 100% vegan diet and therefore maximizing the amount of consumed phytosterols cannot flush LDL lipids from your bloodstream completely. Supplementation can help increase your intake of these elements to ensure you get maximum of their benefits. However, you need a healthy diet to maintain the positive effect of ingesting cholesterol-lowering foods.

Do Plant Sterols Have Side Effects or Pose an Allergy Risk?

Thorough studies of plant sterols have started only a few years back, so it’s not yet possible to assess their long-term effects. However, so far, all research into the matter shows that there are no side effects to taking phytosterol supplements as a part of a healthy well-balanced diet.

There have been very few reported issues with the digestive tract, such as nausea, constipation, and heartburn. However, all these cases occurred after taking a large amount of supplements. In most reported patients, the symptoms have disappeared after taking the product for a while.

No interactions with any type of medication have been reported yet. Therefore, it’s safe to assume that plant sterols are safe to take alongside any drugs. Please note that you should always consult your healthcare provider to be sure when mixing dietary supplements and medication.

You also need to understand that due to their effect in the body, phytosterol supplements are less effective when taken with cholestyramine. This drug reduces cholesterol and it acts irrespective of the lipid type. This means that it will lower your body’s ability to utilize plant sterols to ‘push out’ LDL cholesterol from your system.

Note that while we need cholesterol to stay healthy, the human biochemistry is less accepting of phytosterols by default. Therefore, extra blocking effect from the drug will reduce the efficiency of your supplements drastically.

You can take plant sterol supplements and cholestyramine at the course of one treatment, but only if you keep them a few hours apart in your daily medication schedule.

There is no evidence to prove that plant sterols have an adverse effect on nutrient absorption. However, some research indicates they might affect the processing of beta-carotene. Taking a vitamin supplement is believed to resolve the issue.

You should also be aware that there is an extremely rare genetic form of phytosterol intolerance. So far, there has only been a single case of it reported.

Benefits of Plant Sterols

Alongside with asking ‘do plant sterols have side effects?’ you should wonder ‘what kind of benefits do plant sterols offer?’

The most important of those is, of course, the lowering of the cholesterol level in the blood. This benefit is associated with a reduced risk of the coronary heart disease and a variety of other health problems associated with heart and blood vessels.

The Beta-Sitosterol Supplement

Keeping your lipids at a healthy level is also associated with a reduced risk of cancer. The evidence regarding these positive effects of plant sterols is so compelling that the FDA has promoted enriching margarine and butter with these elements to make these ‘artery clogging foods’ less hazardous.

These products are enriched with beta-sitosterol, the most effective phytosterol available in the supplement form. Taking Beta Sitosterol or Cholesterol Support, which also contains this plant sterol, is an effective way to support your general wellbeing by making your vessels healthier.

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