At this time, it is not known exactly what to expect from a plant sterol overdose or whether an overdose is even possible. It is highly unlikely to consume excessive plant sterols simply from diet, since most foods contain only small amounts of plant sterols. Treatment for an overdose of plant sterols, if necessary, will most likely consist of supportive care.
An Overview of Plant Sterol Overdose
Plant sterols are added to some dietary supplements and "functional foods," such as margarines or spreads designed to lower cholesterol. It is not known exactly what to expect from a plant sterol overdose, or if an overdose is even possible. The effects of a plant sterol overdose will most likely vary depending on the plant sterol dosage and the particular plant sterol product.
If you happen to overdose on plant sterols, seek medical attention immediately.
Is a Plant Sterol Overdose Possible?
It is not known if it is possible to overdose on plant sterols. It is highly unlikely to get excessive plant sterols simply from diet (from unenhanced foods), since most foods contain only small amounts of plant sterols. While plant sterol products contain higher amounts, the nature of such products often limits the likelihood of an overdose. For instance, people are not likely to eat several tubs of margarine-like spreads at a time.
Some dietary supplements contain plant sterols in combination with other active ingredients. It is possible that the other ingredients in such supplements could cause overdose symptoms.
Treatment for a Plant Sterol Overdose
It is not known how to best treat a plant sterol overdose. Therefore, treatment (if necessary) will involve supportive care, which consists of treating the symptoms that occur as a result of the overdose.
It is important that you seek medical attention immediately if you believe that you may have overdosed on plant sterols.
Written by/reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
Last reviewed by: KristiMonson, PharmD;
List of references (click here):
American Heart Association Nutrition Committee, Lichtenstein AH, Appel LJ, Brands M, et al. Diet and lifestyle recommendations revision 2006: a scientific statement from the American Heart Association Nutrition Committee. Circulation 2006;114(1):82-96.
Berger A, Jones PJ, Abumweis SS. Plant sterols: factors affecting their efficacy and safety as functional food ingredients. Lipids Health Dis 2004;3:5.
Food and Drug Administration, Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. FDA talk paper: FDA authorizes new coronary heart disease health claim for plant sterol and plant stanol esters (9/5/2000). FDA Web site. Available at: http://www.fda.gov/bbs/topics/ANSWERS/ANS01033.html. Accessed January 31, 2008.
Jellin JM, editor. Pharmacist's Letter/Prescriber's Letter Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database Web site. Available at: http://naturaldatabase.com/. Accessed January 17, 2008.
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