Cholesterol natural enemy in food-plant sterols

Date:Apr 08, 2021

Phytosterol, also known as plant cholesterol, is a natural active ingredient in plants, similar in structure to animal sterols such as cholesterol. Phytosterols are a large family. There are more than 70 phytosterols with similar structures in nature. Common ones include β-sitosterol, sitosterol, campesterol, stigmasterol, oatsterol and so on.

As early as the 1960s, studies on the effect of plant sterols on cholesterol levels began abroad. Authoritative organizations such as the World Heart Federation, American Heart Association, and European Atherosclerosis Society have jointly recognized that plant sterols can effectively reduce cholesterol levels, thereby reducing The risk of cardiovascular and cerebrovascular diseases.

Plant sterols enter our small intestines and begin to take effect. Because cholesterol has to flow into our blood and other organs through the small intestine, plant sterols can effectively stop cholesterol at this time and excrete it with the garbage in our intestines. Phytosterols have three functions that effectively inhibit the intake of exogenous cholesterol:

One is the confusion function. Phytosterols are similar in chemical structure to animal sterols such as cholesterol, but their effects are completely different from cholesterol. In the small intestine mucosa, there is a carrier that binds to cholesterol. It is this similar structure that makes this carrier be confused by phytosterols and combine with it, so that phytosterols can competitively "occupy" cholesterol absorption channels in the intestine. Once plant sterols occupy the position of cholesterol, the body absorbs less cholesterol.

The second is the screening function. Studies have shown that phytosterols can "recognize" good and bad cholesterol in the blood, and seize the position of low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (bad cholesterol) in the intestine, reducing its absorption, and at the same time does not affect the high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (good cholesterol). Level, thereby regulating blood lipid balance.

The third is to consider the function. The cholesterol-lowering effect of phytosterols has its own unique features. Only when the body's daily dietary cholesterol intake is higher than 400-450 mg, phytosterols will play its role in hindering the absorption of cholesterol. This means that if the body's own cholesterol intake is not high, plant sterols will not affect the absorption of cholesterol and keep cholesterol in the body at a normal level.