Using plant sterol ester capsules to treat high cholesterol

They’re modestly effective.

According to the FDA, “Foods supplemented with plant sterols/stanols may reduce cholesterol and are a promising addition to interventions aimed at lowering heart disease risk.”

This study evaluated plant sterol ester (PSE) capsules 1.3 grams per day in 16 people with high cholesterol blood levels during 4 weeks of treatment.

The results compared to placebo.

  • LDL (bad) cholesterol significantly reduced 7% at week 3, and 4% at week 4
  • HDL (good) cholesterol significantly increased 9% at week 3, but not at week 4 (4%)
  • Total cholesterol (TC) did not different from placebo at any time
  • TC:HDL and LDL:HDL ratios were significantly reduced 8 % at week 3, and 6% and 10%, respectively at week 4.
  • No effect on triglycerides

The bottom line?
As summarized here, you might do better practicing yoga. But if you must take a pill, the response is relatively weak compared with prescription drugs.

No side effects were reported.

4/30/07 22:35 JR

Hi, I’m JR

John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at, a complementary and alternative medicine website.