Cholestatin® 400 mg Vcaps® is a vegetable oil concentrate is primarily comprized of the plant sterols b -sitosterol (40-58%), campesterol (20-30%), stigmasterol (11-22%). The phytosterols are otherwise known as plant steroids and play a crucial role in the structure and permeability of cell membranes in the higher plants. These functions correlate to those observed by cholesterol and other medicinal sterols in animal and human physiology. Despite their similarity in chemical structure with cholesterol, the phytosterols exhibit dramatically different functions in humans. The proportion of vegetable oils used to derive the phytosterols in Cholestatin are 95% soybean oil, 1-2% cotton oil, 2% canola oil, and 1-2% corn oil.
Although the actual mechanism of action is unclear, numerous animal and human clinical trials1-8 have consistently demonstrated that phytosterols, when consumed with food, significantly reduced the absorption of dietary cholesterol (present in dairy and meat products) at the intestinal tract. This further resulted in lowering the serum LDL cholesterol. This is deemed highly beneficial to human health since excess serum LDL cholesterol can contribute to the formation of plaque in arterial walls thus obstructing efficient blood circulation. These studies also show that the serum HDL cholesterol (otherwise known as the "good" cholesterol) level was unaffected-an important constituent to good cardiovascular health.
Besides dietary sources, cells naturally manufacture LDL cholesterol, which is needed to support basic biochemical functions at the smaller amounts. However, a significant number of human cases reveal excess cell biosynthesis of cholesterol mainly due to genetic factors. For these cases dietary cholesterol restrictions will not suffice. Fortunately for these cases, other well executed clinical studies9-11 indicate that consumption of phytosterol fortified vegetable oils in conjunction to a vegetarian diet, again resulted in the reduction of serum LDL cholesterol (at a level greater to that observed in the unfortified vegetarian diets). Normally, as bile acids circulate in the intestine it will carry a portion of the serum LDL cholesterol – a process known as intestinal re-absorption. When phytosterols are present in the intestine they will prevent this re-absorption of LDL cholesterol thus reducing its endogenous concentration on the blood.
The only currently known counter-indication of Cholestatin® is humans suffering from the rare genetic disorder b -sitosterolemia whereby the intestinal absorption and plasma levels of plant sterols is excessively high12-13. This disorder is mainly due to the defective function of HMG-CoA reductase-the enzyme involved in proper cholesterol metabolism and by the increased -activity of the LDL receptor. Human subjects suffering from b -sitosterolemia shoud not take Cholestatin® .
Pharmaceutical drugs that lower total and LDL serum cholesterol include Mevastatin® , Lovastatin® and Pravastatin® among others. These drugs induce their effect by competitively inhibiting the activity of HMG-CoA reductase involved in sterol biosynthesis14-17. This general inhibition of this enzyme will result in the reduction of all sterol levels, not just LDL cholesterol-a process known as non-selective inhibition. Consequently, such mechanism of action results in the known side-effects: weight gain in fat, insomnia, impotence, head aches, loss of energy and others. Another side-effect associated with these drugs is increased liver toxicity with long term use. There are no known counter-indications of phytosterol supplements with cholesterol-lowering drugs.
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