Plant Sterols in Low-Fat Milk Lower Cholesterol

October 3, 2007

1 Min Read
Plant Sterols in Low-Fat Milk Lower Cholesterol

PARISPlant sterol-rich foods lower cholesterol in people with moderate hypercholesterolemia, but only if the delivery format is a low-fat, according to French researchers reporting in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (2007; 86(3):790-96). While prior studies showing cholesterol-lowering effects of plant sterols focused on high-fat sterol-enriched foods, researchers from Danone joined the Institut National de la Santé et de la Recherche Médicale and several other French research centers to investigate the effect of daily consumption of PS-supplemented low-fat fermented milk (FM) on plasma lipid profile and systemic oxidative stress in hypercholesterolemic subjects.

In their study, 194 hypercholesterolemic subjects (LDL-cholesterol concentrations 130 and 190 mg/dL) consumed two low-fat portions of FM in the same meal daily for six weeks. Then, subjects were randomly assigned to one of two groups: low-fat FM enriched with 0.8 g plant sterol ester per portion; or FM alone. Researchers measured plasma concentrations of lipids, oxidized LDL, ß-carotene, ß-sitosterol, campesterol and high-sensitivity C-reactive protein.

Results showed those taking the plant sterol-enriched milk experienced a 9.5-percent reduction in LDL cholesterol concentrations after three weeks, with a 7.8-percent decrease after six weeks. There was no significant change in plasma triacylglycerol and HDL-cholesterol concentrations, nor any effect on serum ß-carotene on normalization to LDL cholesterol. However, plasma concentrations of oxidized LDL were reduced significantly in the plant sterol group, compared with the control group; Plasma sitosterol concentrations were increased by 35 percent in those taking plant sterols, but campesterol concentrations did not change during the study period.

The researchers concluded daily consumption of 1.6 g plant stoerls low-fat FM efficiently lowers LDL cholesterol in subjects with moderate hypercholesterolemia, without having deleterious effects on biomarkers of oxidative stress.


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