Plant Sterol Supplements
Many people supplement their diet with plant sterols (cholesterol-like compounds found in plant-based foods). Plant sterols are taken for a number of reasons, including:
- Lowering high cholesterol
- Reducing the risk of heart disease
- Treating an enlarged prostate (also known as benign prostatic hyperplasia, or BPH).
Because it would be difficult to get enough plant sterols through the diet to achieve any medicinal benefit, many products now contain added plant sterols. Such foods are known as "functional foods." These include but are not limited to:
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) allows certain plant sterol products to make a "health claim" stating that plant sterols can reduce the risk of heart disease. The American Heart Association (AHA) also recognizes that plant sterols help lower cholesterol and reduce the risk of heart disease.
(To learn more about these supplements and their potential benefits, click Plant Sterols.)