High dietary intake of phytosterol esters decreases carotenoids and increases plasma plant sterol levels with no additional cholesterol lowering

Peter M. Clifton, Manny Noakes, Donna Ross, Andriana Fassoulakis, Marja Cehun, Paul Nestel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

71 Citations (Scopus)


The objective of this study was to measure the effects on serum lipids and plasma phytosterols of 6.6 g/day phytosterols from three foods (bread, breakfast cereal, and spread) consumed for 12 weeks compared with a diet that was not enriched with phytosterols. Thirty-five subjects undertook a nonrandomized, single-blind study consisting of a 2 week baseline period, 6 weeks on high-phytosterol intake, 6 weeks on high-phytosterol intake plus increased fruit and vegetable intake, and a final 2 week washout period. Serum total cholesterol decreased by 8.3% from 6.59 to 6.04 mmol/l, and LDL cholesterol decreased by 12.6% from 4.44 to 3.88 mmol/l. Plasma phytosterol levels increased by 45% (sitosterol) and 105% (campesterol). Cholesterol-adjusted plasma α- and β-carotene levels decreased by 19-23%, lutein by 14%, and lycopene by 11%. Levels of α-carotene and lutein increased with extra fruit and vegetables. Only lycopene failed to increase during the washout phase. There were no significant changes in biochemical parameters. Serum LDL cholesterol lowering with 6.6 g/day ingested phytosterols was in the range seen with 1.6-3.2 g/day phytosterols. Lowering of plasma carotenoids was greater than that seen with lower phytosterol intake and was partially reversed by increased fruit and vegetable intake.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1493-1499
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Lipid Research
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2004


  • Campesterol
  • Low density lipoprotein cholesterol
  • Sitosterol

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Endocrinology
  • Cell Biology

Cite this