Phytosterols (referred to as plant sterol and stanol esters) are a group of naturally occurring compounds found in plant cell membranes. Because phytosterols are structurally similar to the body’s cholesterol, when they are consumed they compete with cholesterol for absorption in the digestive system. As a result, cholesterol absorption is blocked, and blood cholesterol levels reduced.
As part of a heart-healthy eating plan, consuming phytosterols in recommended quantities has been shown to support healthy cholesterol.
The effectiveness of phytosterols is so strong that The National Cholesterol Education Program recommends people with high cholesterol consume 2 grams of phytosterols each day.