Greater beneficial effect on reducing cholesterol by plant sterols – New European Commission regulation states

Posted: 1 September 2015

The low density lipoprotein (LDL)-cholesterol (also known as ‘bad’ cholesterol) lowering effect of plant sterols and stanols has been reconfirmed by the European Commission. Through this authorisation, the EC authorities have confirmed the beneficial effect of plant sterols and plant stanols and state that foods that provide a daily intake of 2.5 to 3 g/d can have a cholesterol lowering effect of ‘10% to 12.5%’.i

The regulation, which is now published in the Official Journal of the European Union, has also confirmed what the EC had previously authorised; that intake of plant sterols or stanols from 1.5 to 2.4 g/d has an blood cholesterol lowering effect of between 7 to 10%. It takes two to three weeks for the cholesterol lowering effect to be obtained and continuous daily intake of plant sterols is needed to maintain the effect along with a healthy diet and lifestyle with sufficient fruit and vegetables.

Plant sterols and stanols work by partly blocking the absorption of cholesterol from the gut. This, in turn, reduces blood cholesterol. The efficacy of plant sterols and stanols in reducing cholesterol levels is supported by more than 120 human intervention studies, encompassing diverse global populations with different dietary habits.

Tanya Footman, Senior Nutrition & Health Manager at Flora ProActiv explains “When plant sterols or stanols are consumed as part of a healthy diet and lifestyle, this has been shown to reduce cholesterol. Including plant sterols or stanols in foods we eat every day enables people to easily include these in their diet.”