The health benefits of beta-sitosterol
According to Wikipedia, beta-Sitosterol is a phytosterol with chemical
structure similar to that of cholesterol. It is white and waxy. Beta-sitosterol can
be found in pecans, saw palmetto, avocados, pumpkin seed, pygeum
africanum, cashew fruit, rice bran, wheat germ, corn oil, soybean,
sea-buckthorn and wolfberries. Its health benefits may include
cholesterol-lowering and anti-cancer activities.

Ovesna Z and co-workers at Slovak Academy of Sciences, Slovak Republic,
reported beta-Sitosterol acts at various stages of tumor development,
including inhibition of tumorigenesis, inhibition of tumor promotion, and
induction of cell differentiation. Beta-Sitosterol effectively inhibits invasion of
tumor cells and metastasis. [1]  But, most of the evidence have been found
only in animal and cell studies. For instance, Paniaqua-Pere R and
co-workers at Instituto Nacional de Rehabilitación, Mexico, found that 200 to
1,000 mg/kg of beta-sitosterol can significantly reduce the frequency of sister
chromatid exchanges induced by 10 mg/kg of doxorubicin in bone marrow
cells. [3] Park C. at Dongeui University, Korea, beta-sitosterol potently
induced apoptosis in human leukemic U937 cells and that
beta-sitosterol-induced apoptosis is related to the selective activation of
caspase-3 and induction of Bax/Bcl-2 ratio. [4] Moon Do at Cheju National
University, Korea, reported beta-sitosterol induced anti-proliferation and cell
death in MCA-102 fibrosarcoma cells. [5]

Chung DW and co-workers at University of Suwon observed feeding a
cholesterol-enriched diet containing 1% or 3% beta-sitosterol, lipophilic
derivative, or hydrophilic derivative for 2 and 4 weeks resulted in lowered
levels of total blood cholesterol and reduced the atherogenic index in all
groups of rats. [2]

Researchers suggested there are no obvious side effects nor toxicity of
beta-sitosterol. [1]

[1] Ovesna Z et al, Taraxasterol and beta-sitosterol: new naturally compounds with
chemoprotective/chemopreventive effects. Neoplasma. 2004;51(6):407-14. [2] Chung DW et al J
Agric Food Chem. 2008 Aug 13;56(15):6665-70. Epub 2008 Jul 11 Effects of hydrophilic and
lipophilic beta-sitosterol derivatives on cholesterol absorption and plasma cholesterol levels in
rats. [3] Paniaqua-Pere R Cell protection induced by beta-sitosterol: inhibition of genotoxic
damage, stimulation of lymphocyte production, and determination of its antioxidant capacity. Arch
Toxicol. 2008 Feb 6. [4]  Park C et al, Beta-sitosterol induces anti-proliferation and apoptosis in
human leukemic U937 cells through activation of caspase-3 and induction of Bax/Bcl-2 ratio. Biol
Pharm Bull. 2007 Jul;30(7):1317-23. [5] Moon Do et al, Beta-sitosterol-induced-apoptosis is
mediated by the activation of ERK and the downregulation of Akt in MCA-102 murine fibrosarcoma
cells. Int Immunopharmacol. 2007 Aug;7(8):1044-53. Epub 2007 Apr 26.

This article can not be used as medical advice. Please, consult with your medical doctor for
any question or before taking any drug products and supplements. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
zhion 2011
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