Plant Sterols

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Latest Edit: Hector 2014-03-17 (EDT)

See Also Food Supplements

Plant sterols are found in diets rich in vegetables. These compounds are structurally similar to cholesterol, with the exception of the one or 2 more carbons in the side chain of the molecule. Although a variety of plant sterols have been identified, beta-sitosterol, campesterol, and stigmasterol are the most common and average 20% of sterols in our diets.[1] Plant sterols are best known for their ability to lower cholesterol.

Food Sources

The foods with the highest source of plant sterols include:

  • Whole grains such as rice bran, wheat germ, oat bran, bran, whole wheat and brown rice
  • Legumes such as dried peas, dried beans and lentils
  • Nuts and seeds including peanuts, almonds, walnuts, pecans, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds and sesame seeds
  • Vegetables including broccoli, cauliflower, brussels sprouts, dill, tomatoes
  • Fruits including apples, avocados and blueberries


Plant sterols are primarily used for:

  • Studies have shown a decrease in colonic tumor formation when the plant sterol, beta-sitosterol was added to the diet. Beta-sitosterol may prevent adenoma formation, however may not affect the transition from adenoma to invasive carcinoma.[1]

Prescribing Considerations

The recommended dosages have not yet been established. To determine what your specific requirements are talk to your naturopathic doctor or other trained medical professional.

  • Adults: recommended daily dosage is 2 grams a day.


Plant Sterols are generally considered safe.


  1. 1.0 1.1 Raicht, RF, Cohen, BI, Fazzini, EP (1980) Protective effect of plant sterols against chemically induced colon tumors in rats. Cancer Research;40:403-405.