As per studies, heart disease is the main reason that causes death among American men and women. If your blood cholesterol levels are high, then you are more vulnerable to heart disease and stroke. In simple terms, the higher your cholesterol levels, the greater the risk. Prescription medicines such as statins have proved to be quite effective in curbing cholesterol.
As a result of consuming such medicines, many patients have benefited from lower cholesterol levels and reduced risk of heart disease. Having said that, some patients suffer from side effects as well.
In some people, cholesterol levels are not that high to start prescription medication. In order to avoid prescription medication and its associated side effects, doctors recommend lifestyle changes for such patients
Studies have proven that these lifestyle changes can reduce cholesterol by up to 30%. Some of these changes include following a diet, loss of weight, performing exercises, and a dietary supplement known as plant sterols.
What Are Plant Sterols? Is There Any Benefits
Plant sterols are substances that we consume daily as part of our foods. Some examples of such foods are vegetables, vegetable oils, fruits, legumes, and nuts. Studies reveal that if we include enough plant sterols in our diet, it leads to a reduction in blood cholesterol levels.
However, it is difficult to get enough plant sterols only through diet. Thus, a better option would be to include a dietary supplement or food with added plant sterols that help bring down your cholesterol to desired levels.
The US FDA has permitted the production of drugs that contain a certain level of plant sterols and can make claims associated with lowering cholesterol and heart disease, provided such drugs are low in saturated fat and cholesterol.
How Do Plant Sterols Help In Cholesterol Reduction?
It is the liver that produces the majority of the cholesterol in your body. In turn, it releases cholesterol to your intestine to help with digestion. Inside the intestine, cholesterol is reabsorbed again into your bloodstream and sent back to the liver. As with soluble fiber, plant sterols aid in preventing the reabsorption of cholesterol in your intestine.
As a result, it causes a reduction of LDL or bad cholesterol in the range of 5 to 15%. However, it does not affect HDL or good cholesterol and triglycerides. Several studies show that plant sterols lower blood cholesterol levels in the human body in approximately 4-6 weeks.
Top Criteria To Consider While Choosing A Plant Sterol Gummy
There are several top-quality plant sterol products available in the market. Here are some key aspects to consider while choosing a plant sterol-based gummy.
1. Quality – Make sure that the product is developed by medical professionals. It is also important to determine whether the manufacturer discloses the quality testing data for each batch of product.
2. Convenience – To get its full benefits, it is recommended to consume plant sterols around mealtime. It would be more convenient if you purchase smaller, portable packages instead of large bottles. The reason is it would be easy to carry while you are going to the office, restaurant, or even when on a trip.
3. Manufactured in the USA – Always choose a product that is manufactured in the United States. As per the US FDA norms, it is mandatory to follow Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) standards, the gold standard in the industry.
4. Easy to use – If you don’t prefer to use large pills, then go for a product that you have to consume twice a day on an ongoing basis.
Dosage Of Cholesterol-Lowering Plant Sterols
Doctors generally recommend consuming a total of 2 grams of plant sterols in a day (this is inclusive of the plant sterols that are part of your regular diet). If you take the example of an average Western diet, in a day it provides an average of 0.3 grams of plant sterols. In the case of a vegetarian diet, the yield is about 0.6 grams every day. In short, you need to target 1.4 grams daily by using a dietary supplement.
Hope the article throws light into the unexplored areas of plant sterols. Apart from the above-discussed applications, plant sterols are also used in the treatment of colon cancer, stomach cancer, heart attack, and obesity. However, there is no scientific evidence to support these benefits.