- What other names is Beta-sitosterol known by?
- What is Beta-sitosterol?
- How does Beta-sitosterol work?
- Are there safety concerns?
- Are there any interactions with medications?
- Dosing considerations for Beta-sitosterol.
Beta-sitosterol is used for heart disease and high cholesterol. It is also used for boosting the immune system and for preventing colon cancer, as well as for gallstones, the common cold and flu (influenza), HIV/AIDS, rheumatoid arthritis, tuberculosis, psoriasis, allergies, cervical cancer, fibromyalgia, systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), asthma, hair loss, bronchitis, migraine headache, and chronic fatigue syndrome.
Some men use beta-sitosterol for enlarged prostate (benign prostatic hyperplasia or BPH). Some women use it for symptoms of menopause.
It is also used for enhancing sexual activity.
Marathon runners sometimes use beta-sitosterol to reduce pain and swelling after a run.
Some people apply beta-sitosterol to the skin for treating wounds and burns.
In foods, beta-sitosterol is added to some margarines (Take Control, for example) that are designed for use as part of a cholesterol-lowering diet and for preventing heart disease. The federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA) allows manufacturers to claim that foods containing plant sterol esters such as beta-sitosterol are for reducing the risk of coronary heart disease (CHD). This rule is based on the FDA's conclusion that plant sterol esters may reduce the risk of CHD by lowering blood cholesterol levels. Although there is plenty of evidence that beta-sitosterol does lower cholesterol levels, there is no proof that long-term use actually lowers the risk of developing CHD.
Don't confuse beta-sitosterol with sitostanol, a similar substance contained in the product called Benecol. Both sitostanol and beta-sitosterol are used for lowering cholesterol levels in people with high cholesterol and appear to be equally effective.
Likely Effective for...
- High cholesterol. Taking beta-sitosterol significantly lowers total and bad (LDL) cholesterol levels, but it does not raise good (HDL) cholesterol levels.
- Trouble urinating because of an enlarged prostate, or "benign prostatic hyperplasia" (BPH). Taking beta-sitosterol helps the symptoms of BPH, but it does not actually shrink an enlarged prostate.
Possibly Effective for...
Likely Ineffective for...
Insufficient Evidence to Rate Effectiveness for...
- Baldness. Some men report that using beta-sitosterol with saw palmetto makes them grow more and better hair.
- Burns. There is some evidence that treating second degree burns with beta-sitosterol and berberine ointment works about as well as conventional treatment with silver sulfadiazine.
- Prostate infections.
- Sexual performance problems.
- Preventing colon cancer.
- Rheumatoid arthritis.
- Cervical cancer.
- Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE).
- Chronic fatigue syndrome.
- Other conditions.
Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database rates effectiveness based on scientific evidence according to the following scale: Effective, Likely Effective, Possibly Effective, Possibly Ineffective, Likely Ineffective, and Insufficient Evidence to Rate (detailed description of each of the ratings).
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