Our proprietary “Star-Rating” system was developed to help you easily understand the amount of scientific support behind each supplement in relation to a specific health condition. While there is no way to predict whether a vitamin, mineral, or herb will successfully treat or prevent associated health conditions, our unique ratings tell you how well these supplements are understood by the medical community, and whether studies have found them to be effective for other people.
For over a decade, our team has combed through thousands of research articles published in reputable journals. To help you make educated decisions, and to better understand controversial or confusing supplements, our medical experts have digested the science into these three easy-to-follow ratings. We hope this provides you with a helpful resource to make informed decisions towards your health and well-being.
3 Stars Reliable and relatively consistent scientific data showing a substantial health benefit.
2 Stars Contradictory, insufficient, or preliminary studies suggesting a health benefit or minimal health benefit.
1 Star For an herb, supported by traditional use but minimal or no scientific evidence. For a supplement, little scientific support.
Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia
60 to 130 mg daily
Men taking beta-sitosterol, a compound found in many edible plants, have reported improved BPH symptoms and urinary flow.
Beta-sitosterol , a compound found in many edible plants, has also been found to be helpful for men with BPH. In one double-blind trial, 200 men with BPH received 20 mg of beta-sitosterol three times a day or a placebo for six months. Men receiving beta-sitosterol had a significant improvement in urinary flow and an improvement in symptoms, whereas no change was reported in men receiving the placebo.4 Another double-blind study reported similarly positive results using 130 mg per day of beta-sitosterol.5
0.8 to 3.2 grams daily
Beta-sitosterol blocks cholesterol absorption and has been shown in studies to reduce blood levels of cholesterol.
Soy contains phytosterols. One such molecule, beta-sitosterol, is available as a supplement. Beta-sitosterol alone, and in combination with similar plant sterols, has been shown to reduce blood levels of cholesterol in preliminary and controlled trials.6 , 7 , 8 , 9 This effect may occur because beta-sitosterol blocks absorption of cholesterol.10 In studying the effects of 0.8, 1.6, and 3.2 grams of plant sterols per day, one double-blind trial found that higher intake of sterols tended to result in greater reduction in cholesterol, though the differences between the effects of these three amounts were not statistically significant.11
Athletic Performance and Post-Exercise Infection (Beta-Sitosterol Glucoside, Beta-Sitosterol)
Refer to label instructions
Beta-sitosterol, found in many plants, has been shown in one trial to improve immune function in marathon runners when combined with B-sitosterol glucoside. This implies that beta-sitosterol might reduce infections in athletes who engage in intensive exercise.
Beta-sitosterol , (BSS) a natural sterol found in many plants, has been shown in a double-blind trial to improve immune function in marathon runners when combined with a related substance called B-sitosterol glucoside (BSSG).12 This implies that beta-sitosterol might reduce infections in athletes who engage in intensive exercise, though studies are still needed to prove this. The usual amount of this combination used in research is 20 mg of BSS and 200 mcg of BSSG three times per day.
Beta-sitosterol is one of several plant sterols (cholesterol is the main animal sterol) found in almost all plants. High levels are found in rice bran, wheat germ, corn oil, and soybeans. Peanuts and its products, such as peanut oil, peanut butter, and peanut flour, are good sources of plant sterols, particularly beta-sitosterol.15
Because beta-sitosterol is not an essential nutrient, deficiencies do not occur.
1. Lees AM, Mok HYI, Lee RS, et al. Plant sterols as cholesterol-lowering agents: clinical trials in patients with hypercholesterolemia and studies of sterol balance. Atherosclerosis 1977;28:325-38.
2. Pelletier X, Belbraouet S, Mirabel D, et al. A diet moderately enriched in phytosterols lowers plasma cholesterol concentrations in normocholesterolemic humans. Ann Nutr Metab 1995;39:291-5.
3. Jones PJ, Raeini-Sarjaz M, Ntanios FY, et al. Modulation of plasma lipid levels and cholesterol kinetics by phytosterol versus phytostanol esters. J Lipid Res 2000;41:697-705.
4. Berges RR, Windeler J, Trampisch HJ, et al. Randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind clinical trial of beta-sitosterol in patients with benign prostatic hyperplasia. Lancet 1995;345:1529–32.
5. Klippel KF, Hiltl DM, Schipp B. A multicentric, placebo-controlled, double-blind clinical trial of ß-sitosterol (phytosterol) for the treatment of benign prostatic hyperplasia. Br J Urol 1997;80:427–32.
6. Lees AM, Mok HY, Lees RS, et al. Plant sterols as cholesterol-lowering agents: clinical trials in patients with hypercholesterolemia and studies of sterol balance. Atherosclerosis 1977;28:325–38.
7. Chen SC, Judd JT, Kramer M, et al. Phytosterol intake and dietary fat reduction are independent and additive in their ability to reduce plasma LDL cholesterol. Lipids 2009;44:273–81.
8. Pelletier X, Belbraouet S, Mirabel D, et al. A diet moderately enriched in phytosterols lowers plasma cholesterol concentrations in normocholesterolemic humans. Ann Nutr Metab 1995;39:291–5.
9. Korpela R, Tuomilehto J, Hogstrom P, et al. Safety aspects and cholesterol-lowering efficacy of low fat dairy products containing plant sterols. Eur J Clin Nutr 2006;60:633–42.
10. Grundy SM, Ahrens EH Jr, Davignon J. The interaction of cholesterol absorption and cholesterol synthesis in man. J Lipid Res 1969;10:304–15 [review].
11. Hendriks HF, Weststrate JA, van Vliet T, Meijer GW. Spreads enriched with three different levels of vegetable oil sterols and the degree of cholesterol lowering in normocholesterolaemic and mildly hypercholesterolaemic subjects. Eur J Clin Nutr 1999;53:319–27.
12. Bouic PJD, Clark A, Lamprecht J, et al. The effect of B-sitosterol (BSS) and B-sitosterol glucoside (BSSG) mixture on selected immune parameters of marathon runners: Inhibition of post marathon immune suppression and inflammation. Int J Sports Med 1999;20:258–62.
13. Berges RR, Windeler J, Trampisch HJ, et al. Randomised, placebo-controlled, double-blind clinical trial of beta-sitosterol in patients with benign prostatic hyperplasia. Lancet 1995;345:1529–32.
14. Klippel KF, Hiltl DM, Schipp B. A multicentric, placebo-controlled, double-blind clinical trial of ß-sitosterol (phytosterol) for the treatment of benign prostatic hyperplasia. Br J Urol 1997;80:427–32.
15. Awad AB, Chan KC, Downie AC, Fink CS. Peanuts as a source of ß-sitosterol, a sterol with anticancer properties. Nutr Cancer 2000;36:238–41.
16. Richelle M, Enslen M, Hager C, et al. Both free and esterified plant sterols reduce cholesterol absorption and the bioavailability of beta-carotene and alpha-tocopherol in normocholesterolemic humans. Am J Clin Nutr 2004;80:171–7.
Last Review: 05-01-2013
Copyright © 2013 Aisle7. All rights reserved. Aisle7.com
The information presented in Aisle7 is for informational purposes only. It is based on scientific studies (human, animal, or in vitro), clinical experience, or traditional usage as cited in each article. The results reported may not necessarily occur in all individuals. For many of the conditions discussed, treatment with prescription or over the counter medication is also available. Consult your doctor, practitioner, and/or pharmacist for any health problem and before using any supplements or before making any changes in prescribed medications. Information expires June 2014.
Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.