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Plant Sterols May Be More Effective Than Triterpene Alcohols


Plant Sterols May Be More Effective Than Triterpene Alcohols

WAGENINGEN, Netherlands--In the December American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (72:6 1510-1515, 2000), researchers discovered that unsaponifiables found in certain triterpene alcohols may not offer the same cholesterol-lowering effects as unsaponifiables found in plant sterols. In a three-week, crossover, double-blind study, 28 men and 32 women consumed 29 g/day of butter supplemented with plant sterols from rice bran oil or triterpene alcohols from sheanut oil. A sunflower oil-based butter was used in the control group.

Researchers, led by Maud Vissers from Wageningen University here, found that volunteers consuming rice bran oil had serum total cholesterol lowered by five percent and their LDL ("bad" cholesterol) by nine percent. However, triterpene alcohols from sheanut oil did not significantly affect lipoprotein concentrations in all subjects combined. Researches believe that the effect of the rice bran oil sterols was a result of its 4-desmethylsterols. For a copy of the abstract, visit

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