Meta-analysis supports phytosterols’ potential blood pressure benefits

By Stephen Daniells contact

- Last updated on GMT

 © Getty Images / Who_I_am
© Getty Images / Who_I_am

Related tags: Phytosterol, Heart health, Blood pressure

The cholesterol-reducing potential of phytosterols are well established, and a new meta-analysis now suggests the heart-friendly ingredients may also help manage blood pressure.

Data pooled from 19 randomized clinical trials indicated that phytosterol supplementation may reduce both systolic and diastolic blood pressure by an average of 1.55 mmHg and 0.84 mmHg, respectively.

“Based on current findings supplementation with phytosterol may be a beneficial adjuvant therapy in hypertensive patients as well as a complementary preventive option in prehypertensive and normotensive individuals,” ​wrote scientists based in Iran and the UK in Clinical Nutrition.

Heart health blockbusters

Phytosterols/stanols – along with omega-3s – are leaders in the cardiovascular health sector. Clinical data indicates that daily consumption of 1.5 to 3 grams of phytosterols/-stanols from foods can reduce total cholesterol levels by 8-17%.

The US FDA approved health claim states​ that 1.3 grams of plant sterols per day as part of a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol, may reduce the risk of heart disease. (For plant stanols, the daily dose increases to 3.4 grams)

A 2014 paper in the Journal of Nutrition​,​ also by scientists from Unilever, reported that combining omega-3s and sterols in a single food format was associated with triglyceride reductions of between 9 and 16%, and LDL cholesterol reductions of about 13%.

Study details

The new meta-analysis suggests that phytosterols may also have a role in blood pressure management.

The authors reviewed the literature up to May 2019 and identified 19 clinical trials to include in their meta-analysis. Subgroup analysis of the pooled data revealed that significant reductions in systolic and diastolic blood pressure were observed in studies lasting less than 12 weeks, while phytosterol doses over 2000 mg were effective for systolic BP reductions, but lower doses were effective for diastolic BP.

While the data indicated the potential of these ingredients to help manage blood pressure, the researchers called for further investigation in future studies to support these observations.

Source: Clinical Nutrition
Published online ahead of print, doi: 10.1016/j.clnu.2019.12.020
“Effects of phytosterols supplementation on blood pressure: A systematic review and meta-analysis”
Authors: E. Ghaedi et al.

Related topics: Research

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