As its notoriety in cholesterol and heart disease remains on the agenda, the variety of cholesterol-lowering drugs or methods seems likely to continue to increase. Today, the only group of drugs that have been shown to consistently lower bad cholesterol (LDL cholesterol) and thus reduce deaths (or even all deaths) from heart disease are drugs called statins. It has been proven from some unfortunate drug trials that the idea of lowering cholesterol somehow, at all costs, does not work very well. For this reason, it is always necessary to consider the price we will pay and our gains while lowering our cholesterol.
Plant sterols (“phytosterols”) are molecules found in nature in small proportions in many plants, with a molecular structure somewhat similar to cholesterol, but with completely different properties. These sterols have been shown to reduce cholesterol absorption from the gut. In order to benefit from these effects, the idea of adding it to foods has been increasingly accepted and widespread in recent years. Studies have shown that plant sterols taken between 1-2 g per day reduce blood cholesterol level by 10-15%. It has been confirmed by western health authorities that plant sterols taken at this dose do not carry any other safety risks in terms of health. For this reason, some dairy products, especially in the world and in our country, are fortified with plant sterols and are positioned differently in the market in this way. It should not be forgotten that the cholesterol reduction achieved is far from the targeted cholesterol reductions in heart patients. However, consuming these products also helps lower cholesterol without posing additional safety risks.