Dietary consumption is the main source of phytosterols. They are not synthesized inside the human body. Fortified margarines used for lowering cholesterol contain 2 g of plant sterols per daily portion. The sitosterols usually are obtained from soybean oil, peanut oil, and avocado oil. Preparations containing β-sitosterol, derived from the South African star grass Hypoxis rooperi or from species of Pinus and Picea, are available for the treatment of benign prostatic hypertrophy. Saw palmetto berries also contain large quantities of beta-sitosterol and other plant sterols.
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No major adverse effects at recommended dose. Reduced absorption of carotenes and vitamin E may occur.
Beta sitosterol is incorporated in margarine, yogurt, or other foods to give a daily intake of 1.5 to 3 g.