Are plant sterols effective?

Hello.

I am new to this site and would appreciate other peoples help and thoughts on lowering my cholesterol.

I have been asked to go to my surgery following a cholesterol test. My result was 6.6. I am about 2 stone overweight, but have always thought that I eat reasonably healthily, although I do think my portions are large. I have been having skimmed milk for 25 years, I eat low fat spreads and yogurts daily, and eat a fair amount of chicken. My husband and I (he has been on Statins for several years) do not really enjoy fish. I get my 5 a day almost every day. I am considering ordering some high strength plant sterols from Healthspan, and possibly joining WeightWatchers. I do not want to take Statins, having seen first hand the side effects caused. Will simply shifting the excess weight help, or can I do more?

I do have a family history of heart attacks and my mother had a massive stroke 8 years ago. I know that I need to act now-I am 51.

I would like to hear your thoughts, particularly on the plant serols if you have tried them.

Many thanks.

14 Replies

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  • There is good evidence that a low carbohydrate diet can lower your cholesterol and your weight better than low fat. Low fat yoghurt contains sugar which is no good for your health. Have a look at the blog post from Tedd about information that helped him.

    lowcarbdiets.about.com/od/f...

    I have eaten low carb and full fat for several years and have lower than average cholesterol and blood pressure. Taking plant sterols sounds like a better idea than taking statins, but if you try modifying your diet you may not need to.

  • Thanks for the link about carbs-I have learnt a lot from reading through the info.

    I think i will order the plant sterols as a second line of attack.

  • HI, I take plant sterols from Health span. For me, taking sterols only (750mg x2 a day) reduced my total from 9.5 to 7.2 . However my Auntie tried them and said they had no affect on her levels. My consultant did not see the point of taking sterols as he felt statins did a better job and had more studies on them. He argued why try something that has very little testing when statins had 20 years of info! As he felt 7.2 was no low enough,I now take a low dose of statin and 450 x2 of sterols a day and am waiting for my results. Personally I think it is best to do everything you can to try and reduce your cholesterol before having to take statins.

  • Hi MumwithFH.

    Why do you take 2 tablets? I thought one was the recommended dose. Were you advised to do this, or simply made the decision for yourself? Whatever the answer, I certainly seems to be helping you, and I am keen to try them. Did you have weight issues as well?

  • No weight issues. I have FH (genetic fault). 42 years old about 8 .5 stone in weight. The dosage on packet says two tablets a day. You can buy the dose in 750 or 450mg. I would highly recommend lots of oats and flax seeds in your diet too.

  • Hi, I am 66 of Sri Lankan origing, have been in UK for 40 years. two years ago I was told that I have high sugar level and high cholesterol. Life style change, different foof and visit to gym. Managed to bring down blood sugar level. cholesterol very difficult. Started on medication (statin) last week!!!. Only time will tell. Next blood test is three months away. I am afraid you need to look at all the four different results, ration, LDL,HDL and triglyceride. Take a look at calculaters in the Web for different calcualtions. Have read a lot in the news papaers and on the web. So far only lowering blood sugar works.

  • Hello Bala.

    Sorry, but what is ration? The other 3 I understand. Good luck with the statins!

  • Hello, Well I think you know what you have to do. Lose those 2 stone!! Weightwatchers is good idea - my daughter has lost a stone and a half in 7 weeks without much effort and feels much better for it - increase your exercise - just walk more you don't need to go to the gym!! Your husband will benefit too! Plant sterols are a much better alternative to statins - these should only be a last resort (I am a statin sceptic)and perhaps you should give them at least 3-6 months to see their effects before going any further down the statin route. All the best

  • Many thanks patch14. Let the battle of the bulge begin!!

  • I found benecol helped - I take statins too - but Flora made me sick. Different people experience different effects.

  • All,

    Only this morning I saw many spelling mistakes!!! have now spell checked.

    Hi, I am 66 of Sri Lankan origin, have been in UK for 40 years. Two years ago I was told that I have high sugar level and high cholesterol. Life style change, different food and visit to gym. Managed to bring down blood sugar level. Cholesterol very difficult. Started on medication (statin) last week! Only time will tell. Next blood test is three months away. I am afraid you need to look at all the four different results, cholesterol ratio, LDL, HDL and triglyceride. Take a look at calculators in the Web for different calculations. Have read a lot in the newspapers and on the web. So far only lowering blood sugar works. QRISK calculations very interesting.

  • Statins all made me very ill with all the worst side effects (which are only very recently being acknowledged by the medical folk) I take 4 plant sterol tablets and this does keep my cholesterol down to an acceptable level for G.P.s records!! . I was able to confirm that they work for me When I was advised to stop pre surgery - there was a significant rise at the next routine testing!, the main factor is that it does take abouit 6 months to show any effect whereas statins do show results more quickly. Weight loss will make some difference too!

  • Hi Spats.

    Which strength plant sterols do you take? I am thinking of trying the high strength 750mg ones. These are supposed to be one a day, so I assume that you are taking a lower strength.

  • No one seems to have commented on the fact that pharmacutical companies are behind the drive for statins and that governments UK included are influenced by them. They are responsible for urging all patients on the NHS to advise them to take statins. Pharmacutical companies are big business and big businesses control governments. My brother's health was ruined by statins he had back ache muscle pains and was like an old man. He went on to sterols and a year later he was back to normal. I have a heart disease and have taken sterols my GP said I had to take statins sobIbdid but Ibtoo had the same as my brother and took myself off them and went back to sterols. I tell my GP I am still on statins they never check to see if they Are on my prescription! My cholesterol is fine and low. I do have a very healthy diet, walk and exercise regularly. I do not smoke and only drink occasionally. I am 75. If pharmacuticals told us the world was coming to an end and they had a pill to change it governments would believe them.

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