Abstract | Phytosterols, also termed plant sterols, are natural components of plants that play important roles in cell membrane integrity. Structurally, phytosterols are similar to cholesterol, with the only difference being the presence of an extra methyl, ethyl group or double bond2. Though plant sterols perform similar functions to cholesterol, the slight differences in structure result in intestinal absorption efficiency levels of 2-5% of that consumed, compared to 60% for cholesterol. Thus, although average daily dietary intakes phytosterols range from 160-400 mg, only a small fraction of this is absorbed by the human gut.
Sylvia Santosa Suhad AbuMweis Peter Jones, PhD
Keywords: Cholesterol, sterols, margarine, anti-oxidation, anti-inflammation