Phytosterol: safety and functional applications

Soybeans-the botanical source of phytosterol
Soybeans-the botanical source of phytosterol

Is phytosterol safe?

Numerous studies have shown that phytosterol at normal doses does not cause any significant toxicity or side effects in humans or other animals. Even at very high doses, studies have found that it may cause some side effects, such as constipation, in a small number of people, but the probability of occurrence is very low. Therefore, phytosterol is very safe for the human body.

What are the functions and applications of phytosterol?

Phytosterol has a variety of physiological functions such as regulating immunity, anti-inflammatory, antipyretic, lowering cholesterol and blood lipids, reducing atherosclerotic damage, scavenging free radicals, skincare, and inhibiting cancer cell proliferation, etc.

As a food additive, it is both nutritious and antioxidant. As an animal feed additive, it can promote animal growth. The sterols in rape act as a phytohormone to promote the growth of vegetables and crops. In addition, because phytosterol is effective in skin moisturization, dermatitis inhibition, sun protection, and anti-aging, it can also be widely used in the cosmetic field.

Phytosterol helps to regulate immunity

Phytosterols are structurally similar to animal and human cholesterol and are essential for stabilizing plant cell membranes. There is a wide range of natural phytosterols, mainly divided into free and esterified forms. Free phytosterols are mainly present in nuts and legumes, while esterified phytosterols are predominant in cereals. Phytosterols are usually obtained from vegetable oils and processing by-products, cereals, cereal processing by-products, nuts, etc. Natural vegetable oils contain between 1 and 5 grams of phytosterols per kilogram.

Phytosterol esters and their applications

Phytosterol esters are esterified phytosterols, which have increased fat solubility and are more easily dissolved in oil and fat products, thereby improving the efficacy of sterols and expanding their application range. For example, in the production of easily oxidized DHA, EPA fish oil products, the addition of phytosterol esters can extend the shelf life and provide more health benefits than traditional chemically synthesized antioxidants.

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