Background: Intake of unsaponifiable compounds from edible oils, such as plant sterols, can lower serum cholesterol concentrations in humans. However, little is known about effects of other chemically related unsaponifiables in edible oils, such as triterpene alcohols.
Objective: We studied the effects of plant sterols from rice bran oil and triterpene alcohols from sheanut oil on cholesterol concentrations in healthy, normolipemic volunteers.
Design: Twenty-eight men and 32 women consumed 29 g/d of 3 margarines for 3 wk each on a crossover, double-blind basis. A margarine based on sunflower oil was used as the control. Concentrates of plant sterols from rice bran oil or triterpene alcohols from sheanut oil were added to make 2 experimental margarines with the same fatty acid composition as the control margarine.
Results: Intake of 2.1 g plant sterols/d from rice bran oil decreased total cholesterol by 0.19 mmol/L (95% CI: -0.31, -0.07 mmol/L) and LDL cholesterol by 0.20 mmol/L (95% CI: -0.30, -0.10 mmol/L). HDL-cholesterol and triacylglycerol concentrations did not change significantly. Intake of 2.6 g triterpene alcohols/d from sheanut oil did not significantly affect lipoprotein concentrations in all subjects combined.
Conclusions: We found that 2.1 g plant sterols/d from rice bran oil lowered serum total cholesterol by 5% and LDL cholesterol by 9% in normolipemic humans, whereas triterpene alcohols from sheanut oil did not significantly affect lipoprotein concentrations in all subjects combined. The effect of rice bran oil sterols is probably due to ss-sitosterol and other 4-desmethylsterols and not to 4,4'-dimethylsterols.