We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What are Phytosterols?

Mary McMahon
Updated May 21, 2024
Our promise to you
All The Science is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At All The Science, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

Phytosterols are compounds found in many plants. They are a type of sterol, a specific class of chemical compound, and they are very similar to cholesterol, the type of sterol found in humans. In plants, phytosterols contribute to the structure of the cell membrane, just like cholesterol does in animals. These compounds have a number of interesting effects on the bodies of animals when they are ingested which have led to great interest in phytosterols and their potential applications.

While it may seem counterintuitive to ingest sterols to lower cholesterol, since cholesterol is just a type of sterol, phytosterols appear to actively block the absorption of cholesterol, which can lead to a reduction in levels of bad cholesterol. This, in turn, can reduce the accumulation of cholesterol in the body, reducing the risk of cardiovascular problems. Plant sterols confer these benefits while animal sterols such as those found in meat and animal products do not, illustrating the structural differences between these two groups of sterols.

Some studies have suggested that certain phytosterols can interfere with the cell membranes in animals, and that they can also alter the levels of certain hormones. Over 40 phytosterols have been identified by researchers, and numerous others are waiting for identification. The function of the known compounds in the body of humans is not fully understood, and there are some competing claims about phytosterols, with some people suggesting that they are highly beneficial while others recommend that they be avoided.

Foods rich in phytosterols include oils, nuts, and wheat germ. Many of these foods are recommended as part of a healthy diet which can lower levels of bad cholesterol. It is also possible to find products which have been fortified with phytosterols, with such products often containing health claims which are sometimes a topic of dispute in the medical community. These compounds are also used in products like skin care cream, with the goal of improving skin health.

People who eat a balanced diet and exercise regularly should get all of the nutrition they need and maintain their bodies in a state of balance. People who eat unbalanced diets which are too high or too low in various nutrients can experience health problems. It is unlikely that consuming more phytosterols alone would provide health benefits, although the consumption of phytosterol-rich foods might be beneficial because such foods contain a broad spectrum of nutritionally useful compounds.

All The Science is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Mary McMahon
By Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a All The Science researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

Discussion Comments
Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a...

Learn more
All The Science, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

All The Science, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.