Background & aims: Intake of 2-3 g/d of plant stanols as esters lowers LDL cholesterol level, but there is no information about the efficacy and safety of a respective very high daily intake. We studied the effects of 8.8 g/d of plant stanols as esters on serum lipids and safety variables in subjects with mild to moderate hypercholesterolemia.
Methods: In a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study the intervention (n=25) and control (n=24) groups consumed spread and drink enriched or not with plant stanol esters for 10 weeks.
Results: Plant stanols reduced serum total and LDL cholesterol concentrations by 12.8 and 17.3% from baseline and by 12.0 and 17.1% from controls (P<0.01 for all). Liver enzymes, markers of hemolysis, and blood cells were unchanged. Serum vitamins A, D, and gamma-tocopherol concentrations, and the ratios of alpha-tocopherol to cholesterol were unchanged. Serum beta-carotene concentrations decreased significantly from baseline and were different from controls even when adjusted for cholesterol. Serum alpha-carotene concentration and alpha-carotene/cholesterol ratio were not different from controls.
Conclusions: High intake of plant stanols reduced LDL cholesterol values without any other side effects than reduction of serum beta-carotene concentration. However, the end product, serum vitamin A levels, were unchanged. The results suggest that plant stanol ester intake can be increased to induce a greater cholesterol lowering effect.
Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT00698256.
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