Korean Circulation Journal (순환기), Vol.31(10) : 1027~1033, 2001
Background and Objectives : Phytosterols(Plant sterols) have been known to reduce serum cholesterol concentrations by inhibiting the absorption of both dietary and biliary cholesterol from the small intestines. In consideration of the lack of evaluation in Korea into the hypercholesterolemic effect of plant sterols, this study investigated the effect of plant sterol containing beverage on blood lipid profiles in hypercholesterolemic patients. Materials and Methods : Forty-five hypercholesterolemic patients(fasting LDL-cholesterol>130 mg/dL) were fed either a placebo beverage for 4 weeks or a test beverage containing plant sterols for 8 weeks in a single-blind, randomized, cross-over study. The subjects were instructed to maintain the same amount of dietary fat and cholesterol intake during the study. After 4 weeks of plant sterols treatment, the dose of plant sterols was doubled (3.2 g/d) for subjects whose LDL-cholesterol reduction rate had not been reduced by 15%. Results : The study population consisted 45 patients(15 males, 30 females, mean age 56) who completed the whole protocol.
At baseline, the subjects' mean dietary intake of saturated fat was 11.12 g, and cholesterol was 135.2 mg. After 8 weeks treatment with plant sterols, serum concentrations of total cholesterol and LDL-cholesterol were significantly reduced by 4.38%(p= 0.039), and 8.28%(p=0.036), respectively. However, the HDL-cholesterol and triglyceride levels/concentrations did not change significantly. Two-thirds of the subjects responded to treatment with plant sterols, and the mean reduction rates in LDL-cholesterol and total cholesterol levels/concentrations of those subjects were 14.1% and 9.2% respectively.
Conclusion : Our findings indicate that plant sterols significantly reduce serum total cholesterol and LDL-cholesterol concentrations and further suggest that plant sterols are also effective for those with low cholesterol intake.