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Phytosterol Supplements May Not Offer Additional Cholesterol-Lowering Benefits For Consumers
Study Published in American Heart Journal Shows Phytosterol Supplements Offer No Additional Cholesterol-Lowering Benefit for Target Population
Numerous clinical studies have shown that a daily intake of 1.5-2.0 gram of phytosterols can result in a 10-15 % reduction in LDL levels. In fact, the effectiveness of phytosterols is so strong that The National Cholesterol Education Program recommends people with high cholesterol consume 2 grams of phytosterols each day. As a result, many people are now turning to foods and supplements before trying prescription drugs to lower their LDL cholesterol, and the food industry is responding with foods fortified with phytosterols. In 2008, Leatherhead Food International estimated the global market for phytosterols was $555-585 million.
Although statins are often successfully prescribed to lower cholesterol, there is a population that either cannot tolerate statins because of side effects, or who just refuse to take a doctor's prescription for a statin. In prior studies, David Becker, MD, and his research team found that RYR, a natural statin alternative, combined with lifestyle changes, is a very effective non-prescription method to lower cholesterol. In this trial, Dr. Becker aimed to determine the cumulative cholesterol lowering effects of phytosterol tablets and lifestyle change on top of RYR therapy in patients with a history of statin refusal or statin intolerance.
The study followed 187 participants with an LDL-C greater than 100 mg/dl and less than 210 mg/dl over the course of one year. All participants took 1800 mg of RYR twice each day. Participants were randomized in blocks of four. Half of the participants were randomized to participate in a lifestyle program which incorporated a Mediterranean-
Resulting data proved that the initial study premise was wrong. There were no significant differences in lipoprotein levels between the phytosterol and placebo groups at week 12, 24, or 52. Likewise, there was no significant difference between groups in the odds of achieving an LDL-C less than 100 mg/dL. The combination of the RYR and phytosterol did not provide any additional cholesterol decrease or any benefit of any parameter researchers examined. It was no different than placebo. However, participants in the lifestyle change group dropped their cholesterol almost 30%, much more than RYR alone.
It’s important for the consumer to know that if they are not currently taking a statin drug or RYR, they may indeed see a reduction in LDL levels with The National Cholesterol Education Program’
The trial was funded by unrestricted grants from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Abington Memorial Hospital, and the Edna G. Kynett Memorial Foundation.
Link to full American Health Journal article: (http://download.journals.elsevierhealth.com/
Video of Dr. David Becker commenting on study and common phytosterol-
ABOUT THE STUDY AUTHOR
David Becker M.D., the originator of the Healthy Change of Heart™