Serum cholesterol and stanols

Stanol containing margarines and yogurt drinks are an attractive method to reduce the serum cholesterol. Apparently physiological. A Canadian concern is whether or not one is replacing one sterol for another in the blood and hence atheromatous plaques
M Kratz, et al in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition (2007) 61, 896–905; found similar serum plant sterol responses of human subjects heterozygous for a mutation causing sitosterolemia and controls to diets enriched in plant sterols or stanols
They investigated the serum phytosterol responses of heterozygous relatives of sitosterolemia patients to diets enriched in phytosterols or stanols in a randomized double-blind crossover design.Eight heterozygous and 13 control subjects were recruited. One heterozygote and three controls dropped out.Seven heterozygotes and 10 controls received daily portions of margarine containing 2 g of plant sterols, 2 g of stanols or a control margarine for 6 weeks each in a randomized order. These phases were intercepted by wash-out periods of 6 weeks each.
Compared to the control period, serum phytosterol concentrations increased overall by more than 20% when subjects consumed the plant sterol margarine , with no significant difference between heterozygotes and controls , but decreased when subjects consumed the stanol-enriched margarine , again to a similar extent in heterozygotes and controls . The lowest total serum concentrations of cholesterol and phytosterols were seen after the diet enriched in stanols. Serum stanol concentrations increased on this diet, but on a very low level and never exceeded 0.05% of serum cholesterol levels in any subject.
They concluded that serum phytosterol concentrations increased only moderately in heterozygotes consuming a diet enriched in phytosterols, indicating that they retained considerable capacity to excrete phytosterols even at higher intakes.
Which is good news for stanols.
All I know practically is that my wife and I have increased serum cholesterol concentrations and took stanol containing yogurt for 6 months and no change was recordable.
Maybe a one off but very specific to us.

Martin Eastwood
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