Beta sitosterol

Category: Natural chemicals



Introduction and description

β-Sitosterol is one of several phytosterols (plant sterols) with chemical structures similar to that of cholesterol. Sitosterols are white, waxy powders with a characteristic odour. They are hydrophobic [tending to repel or fail to mix with water ] and soluble in alcohols.

Beta sitosterol  is widely distributed in the plant kingdom and found in plants such as Nigella sativa, Serenoa repens (saw palmetto), Pygeum africanum, sea-buckthorn, wolfberries, Mirabilis jalapa, Cannabis sativa, Urtica dioica, and Wrightia tinctoria.  It is found in pecans, avocados, Cucurbita pepo (pumpkin seeds), cashew fruit, rice bran, wheat germ, corn oils, soybeans and dandelion coffee.

Medicinal behaviour

High levels of β-sitosterol concentrations in blood have been correlated with increased severity of heart disease in men having previously suffered from heart attacks.  Now we could make the mistake here, of course, of doing like many a researcher before us and assuming β-sitosterol was the cause.  But nothing could be further from the truth. 

Just like cholesterol, it is there as a repair substance and is a symptom not a cause.  Indeed high levels of β-sitosterol after a heart attack, might be better seen as good news – the body is attempting to repair itself.

Related observations