As one of several phytosterols, plant compounds with chemical structures similar to that of cholesterol, beta-sitosterol is commonly found in foods such as wheat germ, soybeans, and corn oil. Over the past few years, concentrated extracts of this particular phytosterol have been tested for lowering cholesterol and lessening such discomforts of benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) as frequent and painful urination.
Beta-sitosterol appears to reduce cholesterol levels by blocking absorption of cholesterol. A review of several double-blind studies designed to test the efficacy of beta-sitosterol in men with symptomatic benign prostatic hyperplasia showed that the phytosterol (beta-sitosterol) significantly improved urological symptoms and flow measure in study participants.
Europeans have long taken beta-sitosterol and other plant remedies for prostate problems and growing numbers of American men are following suit. Beta-sitosterol products are now widely available in health-food outlets, and promising research results on beta-sitosterol for BPH are being published.
Other purported benefits of Beta-sitosterol include boosting immunity and normalizing blood sugar, relieving inflammation, healing ulcers, enhancing uterine tone, and alleviating cramps. However, these health benefits of beta-sitosterol have not been substantiated by scientific evidence.Dosage and Administration
Beta-sitosterol typically comes in mixtures with other phytosterols and also with substances such as pumpkin seed oil and saw palmetto extract. In Europe, doses used for BPH are 20 to 130 milligrams of beta-sitosterol three times daily with meals. Maintenance doses are 10 to 65 milligrams of beta-sitosterol two to three times daily with meals.Supporting LiteratureBerges RR, Windeler J, Trampisch HJ, Senge T. Randomized placebo-controlled, double-blind clinical trial of beta-sitosterol in patient with benign prostatic hyperplasia. Beta-sitosterol Study Group. Lancet. 1995; 345; 1529-1532.
Grundy SM, Ahrens EH Jr, Davignon J. The interaction of cholesterol absorption and cholesterol synthesis in man. J Lipid Res 1969;10:304-15
Wilt TJ, Mac Donald R, Ishani A. Beta-sitosterol for the treatment of benign prostatic hyperplasia: a systematic review. BMU Int. 1999; 83:976-983.