Fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds contain various compounds with outstanding health potential. These compounds support our health and wellbeing in many ways.
Beta-sitosterol is one of them. Beta-sitosterol is a plant substance known as a phytosterol.
Phytosterols are similar in structure to cholesterol. Dietary supplements containing beta-sitosterol are also popular around the world.
What makes this ingredient so important? Scroll down to learn more about the five most important beta sitosterol benefits for your health.
What is beta-sitosterol?
Beta-sitosterol is one of several phytosterols, i.e., plant sterols similar to cholesterol (1). When you consume these compounds, they compete with cholesterol for absorption in the digestive system. This blocks the absorption of cholesterol and thereby reduces blood cholesterol levels.
What is pure beta-sitosterol? Pure beta-sitosterol is a product, usually in a tablet form, containing beta-sitosterol extract without other sterols and additives. Beta-sitosterol is even more effective and may work at lower doses in its pure form. Plus, it’s absorbed quickly and works faster in the body.
What foods are high in beta-sitosterol?
Some of the best beta-sitosterol sources include avocados, canola oil, pistachio nuts, raw almonds, fava beans, hazelnuts, soybean oil, lentils, and walnuts.
Other sources of beta sitosterols include wheat germ, rice bran, peanuts, saw palmetto, rye grass pollen, stinging nettle, and pygeum.
Food highest in beta-sitosterol includes fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and other plant sources.
Is beta-sitosterol safe, though?
It’s useful to mention beta-sitosterol is safe for consumption. Side effects of beta-sitosterol are rare. Beta-sitosterol side effects include nausea, gas, indigestion, constipation, or diarrhea when they do happen.
Adverse reactions happen with excessive doses. For that reason, it’s crucial to take caution and stick to moderate consumption. When taking health supplements, make sure to follow the recommended doses.
If you want to know where to buy beta-sitosterol, you can buy this plant compound as a dietary supplement in the over-the-counter form in drugstores. Many of them have a website.
Just make sure to focus on the quality of the beta-sitosterol supplements. To make that happen, you may want to read beta-sitosterol supplement reviews.
What is beta-sitosterol used for?
Beta-sitosterol, as a plant chemical, is associated with various health benefits. So, what is beta-sitosterol used for? Most people use it to manage prostate problems such as benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) or enlarged prostate and heart disease.
Additionally, athletes often use beta-sitosterol to support and improve athletic performance and reduce post-exercise infection.
In a nutshell, the use of b-sitosterol primarily revolves around cardiovascular health support or prostate management. Also, beta-sitosterol uses are popular among bodybuilders who are looking for effective methods to tone their bodies and get the best results from their workouts.
How much beta-sitosterol should I take? There is no specific dosage that works for everyone. However, lower doses of 60mg to 130mg a day could be effective for most people. In studies, 3g to 4g a day for up to three months were also used.
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5 Health Benefits of Beta-sitosterol
Even though beta-sitosterol has become widely known for its potential effects, more research is necessary to elucidate all the beta-sitosterol benefits and mechanisms of action.
So, why use this compound, you wonder? What is beta-sitosterol suitable for? Here are some of the main reasons to do so.
1) Enlarged prostate management
Quality of life suffers in men with prostate enlargement, primarily due to lower urinary tract symptoms. Supplementation with beta-sitosterol extract could be an effective management strategy for men who want to tackle BPH naturally and improve urine flow.
Evidence shows beta-sitosterol treatment is well-tolerated and has the potential to improve urinary symptoms and flow measures in subjects with mild to a moderately enlarged prostate (2).
One study evaluated the long-term effects of beta-sitosterol on different aspects of BPH. Results showed that six-month treatment with these sterols resulted in improved symptoms of enlarged prostate.
Additionally, the results were maintained 18 months later. Supplementation with beta-sitosterols improved maximum urinary flow rate, postvoid residual urine volume, and other urinary symptoms of this common condition (3).
All things considered, it comes as no wonder that some of the most potent herbal remedies for enlarged prostate also contain beta-sitosterol.
Stinging nettle, pygeum, and saw palmetto are good examples of natural remedies for BPH that have this compound. You can also look to include in your diet beta-sitosterol foods, as discussed earlier in this article.
2) Anti-inflammatory effects
Studies show that beta-sitosterols exhibit anti-inflammatory effects (4, 5). Since these compounds can fight inflammation, they could also help manage health problems with an inflammatory component. A good example is prostatitis.
Prostatitis is inflammation of the prostate gland, characterized by uncomfortable lower urinary tract symptoms. In this case, there is no enlargement of the prostate gland.
Persistent or chronic inflammation can contribute to developing one of the most common types of prostatitis called chronic prostatitis or chronic pelvic pain syndrome (6).
One research study also showed that men with inflammation are at higher risk of benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) and acute urinary retention (7).
Through anti-inflammatory effects, beta-sitosterols could protect the prostate and aid prostatitis management and other problems with inflammatory reactions.
3) Lower cholesterol
As a phytosterol, this plant compound is well-known for its potential to reduce cholesterol levels in the human body. More precisely, beta-sitosterol decreases LDL (bad) cholesterol (8). As a result, it reduces the risk of atherosclerosis and the hardening of blood vessels, contributing to hypertension, heart attack, heart disease, or stroke.
Cholesterol-lowering effects of beta-sitosterol are significant if we bear in mind effects of high cholesterol go beyond heart disease and heart health. High cholesterol is associated with weight gain and many other health problems. It also affects the prostate.
Research confirms men with high cholesterol are at a higher risk of developing aggressive prostate cancer (9). Other studies show cholesterol also plays a role in benign prostatic enlargement (10).
By lowering cholesterol levels, beta-sitosterol could help improve quality of life. This phytosterol could reduce cardiovascular disease risk and protect the prostate.
4) Anti-cancer effects
Many plant compounds can reduce the risk of cancer. Beta-sitosterol could be one of them. Although this subject requires more studies, evidence shows this phytosterol could exhibit anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory activities in cell culture.
Beta-sitosterol could work for prostate cancer, breast cancer, leukemia, and colon cancer (11). A lot more research is necessary to find how beta-sitosterol could aid the management of these cancers or prevent them.
The compound could work by inducing cancer cells’ apoptosis (cell death). Plus, beta-sitosterols could act as antioxidants. This is important because oxidative stress is involved in the development and progression of many cancers, including prostate cancer.
5) Improved testosterone
Beta-sitosterol plant sterols may improve and support testosterone production indirectly. High amounts of these compounds inhibit the 5-alpha reductase enzyme.
This particular enzyme converts testosterone to DHD (dihydrotestosterone). By blocking the expression of this enzyme, beta-sitosterol could support the balance of testosterone.
This could improve symptoms associated with low testosterone levels in the body. Some of these symptoms include low energy, lack of sexual desire, loss of muscle mass, and impaired sexual function.
Keep in mind the relationship between beta-sitosterol and testosterone is indirect and requires further research. Also, if you use dietary supplements, make sure to adhere to the provided beta-sitosterol dosage information. Avoid taking too much.
Beta-sitosterols are among the most powerful natural compounds for prostate health. Reasons to take b sitosterol are numerous, but this post focused on the five most important factors. Enrich your diet with food sources abundant in these plant sterols, or you can give beta-sitosterol supplements a try.
Whether you use beta-sitosterol for the prostate, heart disease, or other purposes, you need to consider that a healthy lifestyle is crucial. The supplement should be an adjunct to healthy choices, not their replacement.
Hello, I have read that beta sitosterol may cause erectile dysfunction. But it is very tough to avoid it on a plant based diet. What do you suggest to take to offset this negative effect of beta sitosterol? Thank you very much. Randy
Hi Randy, thanks for writing.
There is no significant study to suggest that beta-sitosterol causes erectile dysfunction. In fact, quite the opposite may be true since erectile dysfunction is a symptom of BPH and a side effect of taking common prostate medications such as Tamsulosin.
If you were to substitute Tamsulosin for beta-sitosterol you’d be avoiding the risk of erectile dysfunction as a side effect and improving your prostate and sexual health simultaneously.
You can read more about how beta-sitosterol can benefit your prostate health via this blog post:
Should you have any other questions on prostate or sexual health, please contact a member of our expert support team.
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Wishing you good health,
Ben’s Natural Health Team