Plant Phytosterol Complex
Plant sterols and stanols (also known as Phytosterols) are naturally occurring substances found in small amounts in vegetables, grains, fruits and nuts and seeds. They have been shown to have powerful cholesterol-lowering properties, and for several years manufacturers have been adding them to foods like yogurts margarines, juices and cereal bars. They are now also available in a more concentrated capsule form as Phytosterol supplements.
Scientists are still studying how Phytosterols and stanols may help lower cholesterol but they are thought to work by partially blocking and slowing the uptake of cholesterol in the gut, so that less gets absorbed into your blood stream. One explanation is that as they are chemically very similar to cholesterol and are taken up in its place and so prevent real cholesterol from being absorbed into the bloodstream. The real cholesterol is then free to leave the body as waste rather than causing problems in the arteries.
Dietary choices and exercise can help keep cholesterol at heathy levels but there is also now thought to be a large genetic component as well. If you have high cholesterol talk to your doctor about what course of action is right for you. Medication might be advised or they may be happy for you to try to reduce it by changing your diet and looking at other lifestyle factors such as increasing exercise and stopping smoking.