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Phytosterol Calculator  (sterols , stanols)

Background Info

Phytosterols (plant-derived sterols) have been found to lower LDL in a dose-dependent manner.  By analyzing existing trials (combined results from 84 randomized, controlled trials), a newly derived equation was developed to estimate the average decrease in LDL based on the daily dose of phytosterols administered.

Final equation developed from the meta-analysis:1

Predicted LDL-C change =
     -12.68 * [1 - EXP ( - phytosterol dose/ (1.12 /ln(2)) ]

Because elevated LDL cholesterol is a major risk factor for coronary heart disease, interventions that can reliably reduce LDL with virtually no side effects are a welcome addition.  The main mechanism of action of phytosterols that produces the cholesterol-lowering effect  is the inhibition of intestinal cholesterol absorption. A daily intake of approximately 2 grams of phytosterols can reduce cholesterol absorption by 30-40%.
The average reduction in LDL when this dose is administered over  21-182 days is roughly 9 percent.  This roughly translateds into 10-20% fewer new cases of CHD.  Individuals with higher baseline LDL cholesterol levels are likely to experience greater reductions.

Daily doses versus divided doses:
There is slightly lower efficacy with single daily doses compared to divided doses, however, both were found to have a signficant effect on LDL cholesterol-lowering.

Maximum dose versus efficacy:
The LDL cholesterol-lowering effect appears to level off when the daily intake of phytosterols exceeds 2.5 grams/day.  The usual suggested daily dose of phytosterols that is practical based on available products is 2 grams/day.  
"Phytosterol-enriched foods and supplements are the only way to achieve intakes high enough to reduce blood LDL cholesterol. Products currently on the market (enriched spreads, fermented milk drinks, etc.) usually contain the proposed daily phytosterol dose of 2 g in 1 to 3 portions."1

Common food sources:
Phytosterols are structurally similar to cholesterol and are found in several food sources such as  whole grains, unrefined plant oils, nuts, seeds, and legumes.

Select the total daily dose of phytosterols

Sample custom value:


Sample products

Product Serv Plant sterols Serv/cont Price
Twinlab cholesterol success 2 tabs 900mg 60 $20.57
Nature Made Cholest-Off Plus 2 caps 900mg 100 24.96
Benecol Smart Chews 2 chew 800mg 60 26.95
TruHeart 100 Softgels Heart Health  4 caps 2000mg 25 14.11


1. Demonty I, Ras RT, van der Knaap HC, Duchateau GS, Meijer L, Zock PL, Geleijnse JM, Trautwein EA. (2009) Continuous dose-response relationship of the LDL-cholesterol-lowering effect of phytosterol intake. Journal of Nutrition 139(2):271-84.

2. Katan MB, Grundy SM, Jones P, Law M, Miettinen T, Paoletti R. Efficacy and safety of plant stanols and sterols in the management of blood cholesterol levels. Mayo Clin Proc. 2003;78:965-78.

3. Naumann E, Plat J, Kester ADM, Mensink RP. The baseline serum lipoprotein profile is related to plant stanol induced changes in serum lipoprotein cholesterol and triacylglycerol concentrations. J Am Coll Nutr. 2008;27:117-26.
Phytosterol Calculator  (sterols , stanols)