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*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. 


Beta-sitosterol is a substance found in plants. Chemists call it a "plant sterol ester." It is found in fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds. It is used to make medicine.

Beta-sitosterol is used for heart disease and high cholesterol. It is also used for boosting the immune system and for preventing colon cancer, as well as for gallstones, the common cold, the flu (influenza), swine flu, HIV/AIDS, rheumatoid arthritis, tuberculosis, psoriasis, allergies, cervical cancer, fibromyalgia, systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), asthma, hair loss, bronchitis, migraine headache, and chronic fatigue syndrome.

Some men use beta-sitosterol for enlarged prostate (benign prostatic hyperplasia or BPH). Some women use it for symptoms of menopause.

It is also used for enhancing sexual activity.

Marathon runners sometimes use beta-sitosterol to reduce pain and swelling after a run.

Some people apply beta-sitosterol to the skin for treating wounds and burns.

In foods, beta-sitosterol is added to some margarines (Take Control, for example) that are designed for use as part of a cholesterol-lowering diet and for preventing heart disease. The federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA) allows manufacturers to claim that foods containing plant sterol esters such as beta-sitosterol are for reducing the risk of coronary heart disease (CHD). This rule is based on the FDA's conclusion that plant sterol esters may reduce the risk of CHD by lowering blood cholesterol levels. Although there is plenty of evidence that beta-sitosterol does lower cholesterol levels, there is no proof that long-term use actually lowers the risk of developing CHD.

Don't confuse beta-sitosterol with sitostanol, a similar substance contained in the product called Benecol. Both sitostanol and beta-sitosterol are used for lowering cholesterol levels in people with high cholesterol and appear to be equally effective.

How does it work?

Beta-sitosterol is a plant substance similar to cholesterol. It might help reduce cholesterol levels by limiting the amount of cholesterol that is able to enter the body. It can also help reduce swelling (inflammation) in the prostate and other tissues.

Traditionally used for

Trouble urinating because of an enlarged prostate, or "benign prostatic hyperplasia" (BPH).
High cholesterol.
Reducing cholesterol levels in people with an inherited tendency toward high cholesterol (familial hypercholesterolemia).
Rheumatoid arthritis.
Chronic fatigue syndrome.
Prostate infections.
Sexual performance problems.
Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE).



By Mouth:

For benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH): 60-130 mg of beta-sitosterol divided into 2-3 doses daily has been used.

For high cholesterol: 0.65-1.5 grams of beta-sitosterol has been taken twice daily. Beta-sitosterol is usually taken along with a low-fat diet. A combination product containing 2.5 grams of beta-sitosterol and 8 grams of cholestyramine has also been taken daily for 12 weeks. Another combination product containing 8 grams of soy protein and 2 grams of beta-sitosterol has been used daily for 40 days.

For reducing cholesterol levels in adults with an inherited tendency toward high cholesterol (familial hypercholesterolemia): 2.5-21.1 grams of beta-sitosterol has been taken daily in divided doses, usually before meals. Some research suggests that beta-sitosterol is most effective when taken at a dose of 6 grams daily. Higher doses don't seem to work better.


By Mouth:

For reducing cholesterol levels in children with an inherited tendency toward high cholesterol (familial hypercholesterolemia): 2-4 grams of beta-sitosterol taken 3 times daily for 3 months has been used in children and teenagers. Also 1 gram of beta-sitosterol has been taken 3 times daily in combination with the medication bezafibrate for 24 months.

Beta-sitosterol is usually taken along with a low-fat diet.

Possible Side Effects

Beta-sitosterol is SAFE for most people when taken by mouth. It can cause some side effects, such as nausea, indigestion, gas, diarrhea, or constipation. Beta-sitosterol has also been linked to reports of erectile dysfunction (ED), loss of interest in sex, and worsened acne.

Beta-sitosterol is SAFE when applied to the skin.

Special Precautions & Warnings

Pregnancy and breast-feeding: Not enough is known about the use of beta-sitosterol during pregnancy and breast-feeding. Stay on the safe side and avoid use.

Sitosterolemia, a rare inherited fat storage disease: People with this condition have too much beta-sitosterol and related fats in their blood and tissues. They are prone to early heart disease. Taking beta-sitosterol makes this condition worse. Don't take beta-sitosterol if you have sitosterolemia.

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