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Beta-sitosterol is one of many sterols that come from plants (phytosterols) and have a structure like the cholesterol produced in the body. You can find phytosterols in many plants and thus in foods such as rice bran, wheat germ, corn oils, soybeans, and peanuts. Beta-sitosterol is also available as a dietary supplement.
Some people find that taking beta-sitosterol relieves symptoms of benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), but studies had mixed results. This supplement is also taken for other conditions, such as to lower cholesterol levels or to reduce the risk of some cancers, but more research is needed for these uses.footnote 1
Few problems have been reported among men taking beta-sitosterol for BPH. Some men may have problems with their stomach and digestion.
Men who have problems urinating should see a doctor to rule out prostate cancer or other diseases. Prostate cancer is treatable, but treatment may be more successful when you find and treat the cancer as early as possible.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not regulate dietary supplements in the same way it regulates medicines. A dietary supplement can be sold with limited or no research on how well it works.
Always tell your doctor if you are using a dietary supplement or if you are thinking about combining a dietary supplement with your conventional medical treatment. It may not be safe to forgo your conventional medical treatment and rely only on a dietary supplement. This is especially important for women who are pregnant or breastfeeding.
When using dietary supplements, keep in mind the following:
Ulbricht CE (2015). An evidence-based systematic review of beta-sitosterol, sitosterol (22,23- dihydrostigmasterol, 24-ethylcholesterol) by the Natural Standard Research Collaboration. Journal of Dietary Supplements, 13(1): 35–92. Accessed July 26, 2021.
Current as of:
March 17, 2021
Author: Healthwise StaffMedical Review: Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine
Current as of: March 17, 2021
Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine
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