Summary: Participants consisted of 9 men and 6 women


            This study was a
randomized, crossover, double-blind clinical trial that tested the effects of
cholesterol with the supplementation of plant sterols and stanols that are
unesterified. There were fifteen participants in this study with high
cholesterol, but, were otherwise healthy. Participants consisted of 9 men and 6
women between the ages of 35-58. The female participants were either postmenopausal
or had hysterectomies. There were originally sixteen participants, but, one man
dropped out of the study due to commute issues. They were each given
unesterified sterols and stanols that were mixed into butter at 1.8 g/d. There four dietary types: plant sterols (NS), plant stanols (SS), a 50:50
mixture of sterols and stanols (NSS), or cornstarch (control). Results showed
that the plasma total cholesterol levels did, in fact, decrease when consuming
the sterols and stanols compared to the control group (respectively at: 7.8%, 11.9%, and 13.1% lower (P < 0.01) in the NS, SS, and NSS groups). LDL cholesterol levels also showed a decrease, respectively, at 11.3%, 13.4%, and 16.0% lower (P < 0.03) in the NS, SS, and NSS groups. However, the HDL cholesterol levels did not show much of a difference. Cholesterol absorption efficiency was also much lower than the control group at 56.0%, 34.4%, and 48.9% lower (P < 0.001) in the NS, SS, and NSS groups Based on these results, the study did show that incorporating unesterified plant sterols and stanols into the diet can help reduce cholesterol levels among those who have high cholesterol.     Critique:   Introduction: Phytosterols, also known as plant sterols or stanol esters, are phytosteroids, like cholesterol in humans, found in plant cell membranes. They are thought to help maintain healthy cholesterol and lower LDL cholesterol. This study was trying to see if fats that were unsaturated and saturated, as well as an equal mixture of unsaturated and saturated phytosterols, in their unesterified form, would equally reduce both plasma total and LDL-cholesterol levels.   Methods:   Results: There was a variation of results with both total and LDL-cholesterol levels during cholesterol absorption. This shows that the circulating cholesterol concentrations require the uptake of cholesterol in the intestine. Cholesterol absorption, as a result, was then inhibited by the plant sterols and stanols. The group with the lowest absorption coefficient was not, however, the group with the greatest degree of cholesterol lowering. Cholesterol absorption was decreased by 56% and raised synthesis by 25% from the sterol diet. Cholesterol absorption was decreased by 34.4% and raised synthesis by 34.1% from the stanol diet. Cholesterol absorption was decreased by 48.9% and raised synthesis at approximately 50% by the 50:50 mix of sterols and stanols, yet decreased the cholesterol concentrations to the greatest degree.

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