Statins and Plant Sterols
If your patient has been prescribed cholesterol-lowering medication such as statins, research shows it could be beneficial for them to also consume foods with added plant sterols as part of a healthy diet and lifestyle.43*
Statins work by directly reducing the amount of cholesterol made in the liver. Plant sterols work by reducing the amount of cholesterol absorbed from the gut into the bloodstream.
Neither interferes with each other’s mode of action, which means the cholesterol-lowering effect of one is added to the other.
For this reason, recommending cholesterol-lowering spreads such as Flora ProActiv can be a useful alternative to higher-amount statins. Consumption of plant sterols in the range of 1.5 to 2.4g per day can lower LDL-cholesterol by 7 to 10% and in the range of 2.5-3g daily can lower LDL-cholesterol by 10 to 12.5% in only 2–3 weeks as part of a healthy diet and lifestyle including plenty of fruit and vegetables.35
Clinical evidence shows that eating foods with added plant sterols, in combination with statins, can have a greater cholesterol lowering effect than statins alone:43
- Statins reduce LDL-cholesterol levels by an average of 25%44
- Moving to a healthy diet and lifestyle can lower cholesterol by 5%45
- Including a spread with added plant sterols can help lower cholesterol by a further 7-10%.46,47
This combination of statins and plant sterols can lead to a greater reduction in cholesterol levels than doubling the statin dose, which has been shown to achieve a 7% further reduction of LDL-cholesterol.49
If your patient wants to start consuming food with added plant sterols on top of their lipid-lowering medication, they should consult with you or an alternate appropriate HCP first for supervision and advice.
*this is not the case for all statins (i.e. ezetimibe), please advise your patient on a case-to-case basis.