, Volume 40, Issue 9, pp 919-923

Dietary sitostanol and campestanol: Accumulation in the blood of humans with sitosterolemia and xanthomatosis and in rat tissues

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Dietary sitostanol has a hypocholesterolemic effect because it decreases the absorption of cholesterol. However, its effects on the sitostanol concentrations in the blood and tissues are relatively unknown, especially in patients with sitosterolemia and xanthomatosis. These patients hyperabsorb all sterols and fail to excrete ingested sitosterol and other plant sterols as normal people do. The goal of the present study was to examine the absorbability of dietary sitostanol in humans and animals and its potential long-term effect. Two patients with sitosterolemia were fed the margarine Benecol (McNeill Nutritionals, Ft. Washington, PA), which is enriched in sitostanol and campestanol, for 7–18 wk. Their plasma cholesterol levels decreased from 180 to 167 mg/dL and 153 to 113 mg/dL, respectively. Campesterol and sitosterol also decreased. However, their plasma sitostanol levels increased from 1.6 to 10.1 mg/dL and from 2.8 to 7.9 mg/dL, respectively. Plasma campestanol also increased. After Benecol withdrawal, the decline in plasma of both sitostanol and campestanol was very sluggish. In an animal study, two groups of rats were fed high-cholesterol diets with and without sitostanol for 4 wk. As expected, plasma and liver cholesterol levels decreased 18 and 53%, respectively. The sitostanol in plasma increased fourfold, and sitostanol increased threefold in skeletal muscle and twofold in heart muscle. Campestanol also increased significantly in both plasma and tissues. Our data indicate that dietary sitostanol and campestanol are absorbed by patients with sitosterolemia and xanthomatosis and also by rats. The absorbed plant stanols were deposited in rat tissues. Once absorbed by sitosterolemic patients, the prolonged retention of sitostanol and campestanol in plasma might increase their atherogenic potential.