Plant Sterol Dosage
Although a standard plant sterol dosage has not been established, the FDA and AHA recommend taking a certain amount of the compound daily for lowering cholesterol. The FDA states that at least 1.3 grams of plant sterol esters per day are necessary for a significant cholesterol-lowering effect, and the AHA states that a plant sterol dose of 2 grams is required daily.
The best dose for plant sterols has not been definitively established. Unlike medications (for which the standard doses have been well established in carefully designed studies), there is less information for recommending the best dose for most dietary supplements (including plant sterols). However, since plant sterols have been studied quite a bit, some basic dosing information is available. In fact, both the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the American Heart Association (AHA) make basic plant sterol dosage recommendations for lowering cholesterol and preventing heart disease.
The FDA states that at least 1.3 grams of plant sterol esters (or 3.4 grams of plant stanol esters) per day are necessary for a significant cholesterol-lowering effect. The AHA states that 2 grams of plant sterols (and/or plant stanols) are required to achieve the maximum cholesterol-lowering effect. Plant stanols are very similar to plant sterols and have similar health benefits.
The best doses of plant sterols for other uses have not yet been established.
Some considerations for people taking plant sterols include:
- Plant sterol margarines or spreads probably work best in place of other margarines, spreads, or butter. This means that they probably provide the most benefit for people who already consume margarines, spreads, or butter. If you did not previously consume such products, you might get less benefit, because you are adding fat and calories to your diet.
- Remember that plant sterol spreads or margarines have fat and calories. Just because a product contains plant sterols does not mean that you can eat all you want.
- You need to take plant sterols on a daily basis to obtain benefit. Try to think of plant sterols as medications, not foods, as this may help you take your plant sterol product every day.
- Be sure to discuss your use of plant sterol products with your healthcare provider. Your healthcare provider may want to monitor your cholesterol levels to see if the product is actually helping.
- If you are unsure about anything related to your dosage or plant sterol dosing in general, please talk with your healthcare provider.