Update on Using Plant Sterols

I am someone who won't take statins period but I have been getting somewhat alarmed at the rise in my cholesterol, even though the % of LDL and HDL were good. I have suffered from Colitis and IBS since the early 1970's and other autoimmune diseases for some time so I know my inflammation levels are high.

I consulted a nutritionist some time ago who did a comprehensive GI test which came back with some interesting results and as a result she recommended some changes to diet - exclusion of gluten, one third of plate to be protein & fat to come from mainly fish, chicken, unprocessed meat and lentils and nuts. I also take a variety of supplements - specific to my requirements as the GI test showed up an imbalance in gut flora, inability to absorb nutrients as a result and inability to excrete toxins due to production of an enzyme which blocks absorption of short chain fatty acids. Also to add Kefir - I have plenty of grains to spare.

After about 6 weeks of staying with the changes and taking the supplements my cholesterol has dropped from 7.9 to 6.8.

One of the supplements is a plant sterol which I take with every meal. I can keep my GP happy as long as I keep my level below 7. Yeah - result!


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29 Replies

  • Where did the number 7 come from for cholesterol?

    Regular exercise, watching out for hidden and free sugar and food & drink intake can help towards a healthy life.

  • Seems to be the trigger no for my GP surgery to ring me about taking statins when I already said - Never.

  • Why are you concerned about Cholesterol levels? Cholesterol is made in the body if there is a deficiency, and too little is known to be harmful, not too much (barring extremes). Do you want me to provide the evidence for this?

  • Please do provide your evidence. Thanks.

  • Actually I know the evidence, thanks. I am not too concerned about my cholesterol numbers - but my GP, cardiologist and Neuro seem to be.

    The GI analysis was excellent, very specific and the supplements seem to be working Ian - so I am a happy bunny!

  • Since bala has asked, here is the evidence to hand. CDreamer, what major argument could be added?

    By coincidence there is a recent thread here: healthunlocked.com/choleste...’re-all-guinea-pigs-in-a-failed-decades-long-diet-experiment

    I have been watching this cholesterol debate for some time, but cannot argue the details yet. I have been very impressed by Dr Malcolm Kendrick. You can read him for free on his blog: drmalcolmkendrick.org/2015/...

    Some basic facts to think about.

    1. Cholesterol is made by the body, so, if the liver is working properly, what is the point of reducing dietary intake? This fact alone I think is extremely significant.

    2. It seems that except for genuine extremes, cholesterol is actually good for you, and rising levels in old age are natural and helpful

    3. Statins may have a specific use in small specific areas, but their cholesterol lowering effect is not needed, so why take them?

    4. When Cholesterol goes up, heart disease goes down.


  • NICE and PHE would still say they have major arguments. They argue the 'weight of evidence' even though sceptics say that isn't the case.

    There is similar disagreement with dietary guidelines from the Public Health Collaboration.

  • First thing to be convinced yourself. Then to work out what will convince a medic, and how best to present it. I have started keeping a file of key articles and producing them as needed.

  • There was a good extract from a post on here a few days ago - posted as a reply by Tiblington


    Malcom Kendrick again, his book on Cholestrol was excellent - also I like Dr Sarah Myhill - although she writes mainly on ME - I am fairly sure she did something on Cholesterol - she goes into quite good detail of the chemistry I seem to remember - had a quick look but I think it is in her book as the page on raised cholesterol - reasons has been removed.


    There is still debate and conflicting views, no absolutes. Personally I think reducing carbohydrates intake is more beneficial than staying on a low fat diet.

  • That's encouraging, thanks! My total cholesterol at the end of march was 7.6 I'm being re tested end of sept. I had already reduced sugar since Christmas and since this test have reduced (a little) saturated fats but I've lost almost a stone in weight and hoping to lose at least another half stone before my re- test which would bring my bmi down to about 27 and hoping this will have made a difference. If not was planning to try the benecol yoghurts, is this what you have had?

  • No, I stay well away from processed foods. I take a supplement capsule with every meal. I think diet is important and nutritionist has got me to increase my fat intake, not decrease it but very specific about what fats to use - cooking - only butter or coconut oi; add cold pressed olive oil after cooking; only 10% of intake to be carbohydrates of any type - including starchy vegetables such as carrots, parsnips, potatoes etc. increase starch resistant foods - cashew nut, cold brown rice, cold gluten free pasta etc. About 60% of plate to be green vegetables, whole grains a very minor contribution as is fruit - no more than a small handful per day. Every meal to include protein, fat and some carbohydrate.

    My weight is currently stable but I am hoping for some reduction over time.

    My aims are - to get my gut into good health; to lose weight; to reduce inflammation in my body - cholesterol should then reduce as a result.

    I am not focusing on solely reducing cholesterol - as ILowe says - that is not really the issue as 90% of blood serum cholesterol is produces by the body,

  • I am in your camp, I recently had open heart surgery and tow major strokes. so need to work on my body, not on cholesterol count.

  • What is your plan? Are you getting any help? You are not looking at cholesterol, OK.

    Have you been given statin as medication after your heart procedure?

    Sorry to ask the questions but we need to understand the medication ,life style change after any procedure.

  • I had a stent put in about 14 years ago, my heart specialist put me on Lovastatins for inflammation as my cholesterol was OK.

    but since then seeing GP's the inflammation was lost or forgotten and the Gp started pushing to lower my fatty blood.

    then about two years ago I had a 5 bypass open heart surgery and my cholesterol med was doubled in amount.

    I then had two bad strokes that took its toll. I recovered my walking in time but couldn't hardly get out of my easy chair. I was constantly sick to my stomach. and had dizzy spells and a few black outs. I didn't know if it was my medication, heart problems are my stroke that took my normal health away. but medication was the only thing I could control, so started experimenting with it. I quit taking losartan potassium has I was taking beta blockers for my blood pressure. that made me feel much better but was still suffering from the side effect of my atorvastatin. I then started reading up on statins. and finallly came to the conclusion that I would rather die with hi cholesterol than not having a life. so after much debate with my wife and some with by GP i decided to cut down the amount by half then after about two weeks I would quit..

    One of the blog followers introduced to me the good efffects of vitamin B1.b6 and B12 started on those and they took away most of my problems. I am waiting on my CoQ10 and will start taking those.

    I am 76, and just now found out that I can still function. I am up to two miles a day with my walking, well with rest stations. but hey it is a big improvement.

    That is where I am at today.

  • Sir, thank you for your response. Good luck, enjoy your walking and enjoy life.

  • What is the plant sterol that you take with every meal?

  • Sterolvite

  • thank you, I'll try too

  • Unable to find sterolvite in Google!

  • Sorry to trouble you again - forgot to ask if there are any side effects on taking these? If not, where's the best place to get them? I don't suppose they are on NHS prescription?

  • No they are not but you could ask. My Nutritionist prescribed them - I bought them from


    NOT ADVERTISING - other suppliers are available!

    Because my nutritionist is registered with them I get a good discount though.

  • It does sort of look like these may be a discontinued line as on the BioCare site they seem to be replaced with


    I am seeing my Nutrionist again in July so I will ask.

    I am not advocating their use, I want to be clear about this, just saying that along with other supplement regime which was tailored to my individual needs after GI testing, my levels dropped quite dramatically in 1 month - whereas they had been rising for the past 2 years at rather an alarming rate.

  • Are there any side effects?

  • Not for me - I take SO many meds and supplements that it would be rather difficult for me to distinguish but I am not aware of anything like the side effects that people report of statins.

  • Thank you and have a good evening

  • Hi CDreamer - I have been really interested in some of your posts (and others on this forum) about nutritional changes and supplements that can help in the ongoing fight against the progression of AF.

    I am 67 and currently only suffering from occasional episodes of AF, usually at night (so also reading up on Vagal nerve), have recently seen an EP who has agreed I can reduce the amount of the dreadful Bisoprolol as well as reducing Flecainide to Pill in Pocket use only. His final advice was to look into lifestyle changes including any that will keep my Blood Pressure down.

    So now I am starting to make those lifestyle changes we all talk about, moving towards a plant based diet - increasing the veggies and have nearly eliminated meat/fish from my diet (can't part with the fish, yet!) - reading up on the subject, I think Vegan is the way to go for heart health, but I think I will achieve this in stages rather than all at once, especially as I have a determinedly carnivorous bunch to cook for at home. I am also building up exercise - coming at it from the starting point of couch potato, so again this is a gradual process for me.

    I am really interested in the nutrition approach - I don't currently have a problem with cholesterol levels (according to the most recent blood tests my GP occasionally requests) - but I am interested in being properly tested and finding out if specific changes to my diet or supplements could help.

    So my question is - what should I look for by way of qualifications or membership for a Nutritionist? I would need to find one privately, locally (Southampton, Hampshire) and wondered if there was anything specific I should search for to make sure I find a reputable expert?

    I am really interested in any advice you might have on the diet/nutrition aspects of alleviating AF.

    Many thanks


  • Have a look at this link for a free course, if you have the time you can do the course and learn from it.


  • Thanks I will take a look and maybe put it on my retirement to-do list - really interested in nutrition to improve my general health. Liz

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