Some athletes say that beta-sitosterol helps boost resistance to infection.
A combination of beta-sitosterol (BSS) and BSSG, a related compound, is known to enhance some parts of the immune system in animals and humans. While not proven to prevent infections in athletes, this combination has been shown to prevent the decline in immune function often experienced at the end of an ultramarathon.
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).1 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.3
Last Review: 05-01-2013
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