Daily Dose of Beta sitosterol: 60-130mg
Beta sitosterol is a sterol which can be further classified as a phytosterol because it comes from plants. Its structure is quite similar to that of the cholesterol produced in the body. It is thought that beta sitosterol can help lower cholesterol levels and reduce the risk of some cancers and heart disease, which explains the rise in the thought that chocolate can actually be healthy. Cardiovascular diseases like atherosclerosis can happen when certain kinds of cholesterol levels are high, causing fatty plaque to build up in the arteries around small tears and clog them. Clogged arteries limit the flow of oxygen carried by blood into the vital organs and other parts of the body, causing many health problems. Taking a supplement like Beta sitosterol can prevent and treat arterial plaque buildup by reducing high cholesterol. Studies from the University of Maryland Medical Center have shown Beta sitosterol’s keen ability to lower LDL, or “bad” cholesterol; it does not affect “good” HDL cholesterol or triglycerides. Beta sitosterol is an effective treatment to reduce high cholesterol because it works by reducing the amount of cholesterol that is absorbed in the intestines by about 50%. This results in more cholesterol being excreted rather than having it circulate in the bloodstream.
Beta sitosterol is also beneficial to prostate health and has been used in Europe for treating enlarged prostates. It works by stopping the production of dihydrotestosterone, which causes the growth of prostate cells. Not only does it stop prostate cancer cell growth, it also induces oncological apaptosis, which is the destruction of cancer cells. This may also be true, but not as effective, in other cancers such as colon and breast cancer. Other benefits include reducing inflammation, enhancing immune function, treating colds, flu, asthma, and relieving symptoms of menopause, however more research must be done to prove these claims.
There are many natural sources of beta sitosterol, like nuts such as pistachio nuts, almonds, hazelnuts, filberts, and macadamia nuts, which provide 100 to 199 mg per 3.5 oz. serving. Fruits such as pomegranate and avocado are also rich sources, the latter providing 76 mg of beta-sitosterol per 3.5 oz serving. Dark chocolate, with 45 to 69 percent cacao solids, is also a good source, containing 66 to 86 mg of beta-sitosterol per 3.5 oz serving.
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