Plant-based sterols and stanols in health & disease: "Consequences of human development in a plant-based environment?"
SourceProgress in Lipid Research, 74, (2019), pp. 87-102
Article / Letter to editor
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Progress in Lipid Research
SubjectRadboudumc 16: Vascular damage RIMLS: Radboud Institute for Molecular Life Sciences
Dietary plant sterols and stanols as present in our diet and in functional foods are well-known for their inhibitory effects on intestinal cholesterol absorption, which translates into lower low-density lipoprotein cholesterol concentrations. However, emerging evidence suggests that plant sterols and stanols have numerous additional health effects, which are largely unnoticed in the current scientific literature. Therefore, in this review we pose the intriguing question "What would have occurred if plant sterols and stanols had been discovered and embraced by disciplines such as immunology, hepatology, pulmonology or gastroenterology before being positioned as cholesterol-lowering molecules?" What would then have been the main benefits and fields of application of plant sterols and stanols today? We here discuss potential effects ranging from its presence and function intrauterine and in breast milk towards a potential role in the development of non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH), cardiovascular disease (CVD), inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD) and allergic asthma. Interestingly, effects clearly depend on the route of entrance as observed in intestinal-failure associated liver disease (IFALD) during parenteral nutrition regimens. It is only until recently that effects beyond lowering of cholesterol concentrations are being explored systematically. Thus, there is a clear need to understand the full health effects of plant sterols and stanols.
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