Beta Sitosterol: Why Every Man Should Be Getting More of It
Beta sitosterol. Chances are you’ve heard of this plant sterol. You may even recognize its sciency name as “something good for you,” despite not being entirely sure what it does in your body. Or perhaps you heard that beta sitosterol has a chemical structure similar to that of cholesterol, and so you weren’t really sure what to think of it.
Let’s face it: No matter how hard you try to eat healthy and live well, these days you just can’t avoid all of the harmful toxins in the air you breathe, the water you drink and the soil your food is grown in.
So chances are your liver is over-worked and struggling to do its job. If you don’t take action now, your health could continue seriously suffer.
Well, after diving into some research — old and brand new — I say with confidence that we’ve long underestimated this waxy nutrient, and it should be on everyone’s radar — especially if you’re a man.
The sterol is present in fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds — with two of the best food sources being peanuts and avocados — but since it’s difficult to consume therapeutic amounts, most don’t realize the impact it can heave on health. Research shows that beta sitosterol has several health benefits, including lowering cholesterol and supporting the immune system. But where it seems to show the most promise is its ability to reduce symptoms of prostate gland enlargement.
How Beta Sitosterol Reduces Symptoms of Prostate Enlargement
Believe it or not, beta sitosterol is one of the nutrients European doctors routinely look to for patients struggling with the frustrations of benign prostate enlargement.
You see, as men age, overgrowth of cells in the prostate gland can lead to swelling that interferes with the natural flow of urination. This is why many men become frustrated and fed up when they find themselves rushing to the men’s room only to be met with uncomfortable urination that never feels satisfying. And to make matters worse, they literally lose sleep over the matter, thanks to frequent emergency trips to the bathroom throughout the wee hours of the night.
Benign prostatic hyperplasia is a noncancerous enlargement of the gland that is associated with difficult urination. While beta sitosterol doesn’t shrink the prostate gland, it alleviates the symptoms. A review of four clinical trials found that men who took the supplement had a better urine flow rate compared to men on a placebo.
Beta Sitosterol: What Are the Health Benefits?
- Lowers Cholesterol
Several studies show beta sitosterol reduces levels of LDL or “bad” cholesterol, but it doesn’t affect levels of HDL or “good” cholesterol. It accomplishes this by decreasing the amount of cholesterol absorbed in the intestines by approximately 50 percent.
- Helps Prevent Cancer
Research published in BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine revealed beta sitosterol curtails the growth of colon cancer cells. A study published in Oncology Reports found the supplement stimulates apoptosis of breast cancer cells.
- Boosts Immunity
Some studies show beta sitosterol increases the number of peripheral lymphocytes, a type of cell that plays a role in immunity. Research also suggests it enhances the function of natural killer cells. It’s anti-inflammatory action may help control chronic inflammatory conditions.
- May Be Useful in Other Disorders
Aside from the above maladies, beta sitosterol is used for a broad range of conditions; however, not enough research has been conducted to provide proof of its effectiveness in these areas. They include menopausal symptoms, hair loss, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus erythematosus, chronic fatigue, allergies, migraines, asthma, fibromyalgia, psoriasis, sexual performance problems, gallstones, colds and flu
- May Ward Off Prostate Cancer
In addition to protecting the prostate, beta sitosterol may be useful in prostate cancer prevention, as a study in the European Journal of Cancer Prevention discovered it decreases the number of malignant cells and boosts apoptosis, the process by which they self-destruct.
Are There Potential Side Effects?
Beta sitosterol may reduce the absorption and blood levels of vitamin E. If you take this supplement, include more food sources of these vitamins in your diet. The supplement is considered likely safe when taken in recommended dosages for up to six months, but the long-term effects are not yet documented.
Beta sitosterol is generally well tolerated, but in some people it can produce side effects such as indigestion. As with all supplements, consult with your doctor first to be sure it can’t interact with your medications.
What About Margarines with Added Beta Sitosterol?
Some margarines are enriched with beta sitosterol and are purported to have cholesterol-lowering effects. Personally, I would never use these products because margarine is very unhealthy. It contains trans fats, which increase the risk of heart attacks and impairs immune function.
What Is the Recommended Dosage?
For high cholesterol, the experts recommend taking 800 mg to 6 grams each day in divided doses before meals. The dosage for benign prostatic hyperplasia is 60 to 130 mg divided into two to three doses per day.