Sterols and Stanols for cholesterol reduction

Sterols and stanols are made by plants and can compete with cholesterol (both ingested and biliary) for absorption in the intestines. There are several products such as Cholestoff that contain both sterols and stanols. They do work, modestly. But, I saw an interview with Dr. Thomas Dayspring in which he raised a caution about sterols, explaining that if you are a hyperabsorber you may take up too much sterols and that could be harmful. The only way to know if you are a hyperabsorber is to test for desmosterol (or something like that – not sure of the exact substance). So, not having tested I do not want to take the risk of using a product with sterols. Stanols do not cause problems, at least that was my takeaway from the Dayspring interview – set me straight please if I am wrong. So, the only product available in the US that contains stanols but no sterols is Benecol chews. But they contain 11 grams of sugar in the four-daily recommended chews. Benecol makes a no-sugar-added yogurt with stanols, but it is not available in the US. So, would welcome any insight into all of this, and especially how one might be able to get the Bencol “original” yogurt without the added sugar. (Benecol also makes a spread with stanols, but personally not interested in that). I do take 5 mg Ezitimibe, another tool to absorb cholesterol in the gut (works differently from Benecol) Ezitimibe is pretty low risk, but there are some reports of cognitive risks.


Just use ezetimibe. At least that doesn’t go systemic and causes a measurable drop in LDL-C of about 15%.


I had been meaning to ask if anyone here takes plant sterols (my cardiologist suggests them) or Amla.

I had no idea there was any potential risk.

I am currently taking amla powder. I need to drink more, to compensate increased loss of fluids. Amla can have the effect, that in some persons it increases the production of urine.

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Thx, that is helpful and didn’t know that potential effect. Do you feel it’s helping your cholesterol? And, if you are having straight powder, is the taste fine? If so, would love you to share your preferred brand (just trying to minimize how many pills I take for my annoyance threshold)

I also see it can be a blood thinner like baby aspirin … I wonder if this means I should reduce my 3x per week dose

The taste is awful. I have only taken it daily fopr about 4 weeks.

I will have my lipids checked in a few weeks. And I have only tried one brand, so I don’t have much experience to share, when it comes to comparing different brands. And since I live in sweden, it is not sure that the brands here are sold were you live. But I’ll let you if I see good results in my lipids.

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Incase you can get this in Sweden, here is an organic pill option. I think iherb ships internationally

Thank you. Yes Iherb can send internationally. I have used them twice.

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Thank you for sharing this, @Deborah_Hall.
My genetic report shows high risk for plant sterols and sitosterolimia. At the time, I’d been told that Zetia medication was the only treatment, and that eating less plants wouldn’t make a difference. I’m not sure if this is still the case. In practicioner whiteboard sessions, some colleagues shared that when their sitosterolimia flared up they would see bumps on their skin. They didn’t like the side effects so they would only take the Zetia when they saw the bumps.
My report shows high risk, but I’m not having symptoms, so I’m not looking into medications right now. I’m attaching my Boston Heart Lab results in case it’s helpful. I’m new here and this is my first posting, so thanks for opening the conversation, @Deborah_Hall.

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Heather, for the Boston Heart Diagnostics test, do you have to live in the Boston Area and go into their physical location to get the blood draw. I look at their website: Boston Heart Test Menu – Boston Heart

and its not too obvious. is this like “LifeExtension” lab tests where you go to any Quest facility and get the blood draw, or are these special tests you can only get from BHD at their facilities?

I did it once at my doctors office in CA.

But now there is actually a relatively cheap, at home version (still evaluated by Boston Heart if think) that I have been using since then:

See also

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I’m not sure if plant sterols are good in either case (there is all a Peter Attia discussions about that that could be one place too look, there might have been some medicine that failed a trial or something long those lines, can’t remember)…

…but it only costs 99 dollars to get your desmosterol and other cholesterol production vs absorption markers tested - perhaps you can order it since it is an at home test even if you are in NY.

(See post directly above)

I just tried to order the Boston Heart Cholesterol Balance Test. This test (like the Quest AD test for beta and tau) is also not available to be ordered in New York.

@Deborah_Hall How about this version

Thanks, just wrote to their CS to ask if it can be ordered by an individual consumer in NYS

Hi @RapAdmin and @Deborah_Hall,
I’m not sure if you have to live in Boston. I had the test done in March of 2021 so things may have changed by now.

I was told that it needed to be ordered by a physician. I was affiliated with Apeiron Genomics at the time and a physician that was in that community with offices on the east coast agreed to order the test. I’m in San Francisco.

I was able to talk Kaiser into doing the blood draw. The kit came with all that was needed and a foam cooler and instant ice bags. When I got there they acted like it was the most foreign request and nearly sent me away, but a supervisor agreed to do the draw. They would not let me take it to Fed ex. They said they had to Fed ex it directly from their location given it had blood samples and there are regulations around that.
In any case, all this is to say I went in the back door, so I can’t advise on how you might get the test. I wonder if Labcorp would be any more accommodating.

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I take a lot of disgusting tasting powders and Amla is right up near the top. Really bad.