The effect of a very high daily plant stanol ester intake on serum lipids, carotenoids, and fat-soluble vitamins

Clin Nutr. 2010 Feb;29(1):112-8. doi: 10.1016/j.clnu.2009.08.005. Epub 2009 Aug 26.


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: NCT00698256.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Biomarkers / blood
  • Carotenoids / blood*
  • Cholesterol / blood
  • Diet / methods*
  • Diet / statistics & numerical data
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Female
  • Finland
  • Humans
  • Hypercholesterolemia / blood
  • Hypercholesterolemia / diet therapy
  • Hypolipidemic Agents / administration & dosage
  • Hypolipidemic Agents / blood*
  • Hypolipidemic Agents / pharmacology
  • Lipids / blood*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Sitosterols / administration & dosage
  • Sitosterols / blood*
  • Sitosterols / pharmacology
  • Vitamin A / blood
  • Vitamin D / blood
  • Vitamins / blood*
  • Young Adult
  • alpha-Tocopherol / blood
  • beta Carotene / blood


  • Biomarkers
  • Hypolipidemic Agents
  • Lipids
  • Sitosterols
  • Vitamins
  • plant stanol ester
  • beta Carotene
  • Vitamin A
  • Vitamin D
  • Carotenoids
  • Cholesterol
  • alpha-Tocopherol

Associated data