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Beta-Sitosterol For Prostate Health: Benefits, Side Effects, and What Foods Are High In Beta-Sitosterol
Any man who’s looked into prostate support supplements has undoubtedly come across a myriad of products containing beta-sitosterol. But what is this ingredient? In this discussion of beta-sitosterol for prostate health, we’ll cover it’s benefits, side effects, and even what foods are high in beta-sitosterol.
A lot of common ingredients for prostate health have pretty straightforward names that make it easy to understand what they are. Saw palmetto is a species of palm with jagged leaves, rye grass extract is a concentrated form of the rye plant... but, beta-sitosterol? It almost sounds like something out of a laboratory (even though it’s entirely natural) and, despite the fact that beta-sitosterol is one of the most popular ingredients for prostate health on the market, lots of men don’t fully understand what they’re dealing with.
Whether this is the first time you’ve heard of beta-sitosterol for prostate support or you’re already familiar and want to learn more, you’ve come to the right place. From the basics, to beta-sitosterol’s uses, benefits, side effects, and even where you can get it in your diet and in supplements, here’s everything you need to know.
The Basics: What Is Beta-Sitosterol and What Is It Used For?
Before we talk about using beta-sitosterol for prostate health, it’s important to understand what this compound actually is. To do that, we need a quick chemistry lesson; but, don’t worry, this one’s actually interesting!
Plants contain naturally occurring compounds known as phytosterols, which make up the membranes of their cells. They’re molecularly similar to the cholesterol found in our bodies, which allows them to be easily absorbed by the digestive tract where they actually “compete” with the LDL cholesterol commonly known as “bad” cholesterol. As you might’ve guessed, beta-sitosterol is one of these phytosterols, and it’s the most abundant in the human diet.
So, what does that mean for wellness? Well, the answer to “what is beta-sitosterol used for” has two main answers:
- Prostate Health Support: Beta-sitosterol is a popular choice for men looking to promote better urinary and prostate health in the face of natural age-related changes.
- Heart Health Support: Beta-sitosterol is also used to promote healthy cholesterol levels to help maintain strong cardiovascular wellness. One study in the American Journal of Clinical nutrition even noted its ability to lower LDL cholesterol at certain doses.1
As we move into a more in-depth look at beta-sitosterol’s benefits, we’ll primarily focus on how beta-sitosterol works for prostate support, but it’s nice to know that it can provide some extra heart health benefits, as well!
Beta-Sitosterol’s Benefits and Side Effects
So, what is it about this powerful compound which is normally invisible in our daily lives that makes it a potent choice as a natural wellness ingredient? There’s still research that needs to be done for us to fully understand beta-sitosterol’s benefits, but here’s what we do know:
Beta-Sitosterol For Prostate Health
When used as a prostate health supplement, beta-sitosterol is normally taken with the intention of promoting better urinary function for men experiencing trouble caused by an aging prostate. This can include things like decreased flow and urinary hesitancy.
Scientists don’t know exactly how beta-sitosterol acts on the prostate, but it’s hypothesized that it may either help to ease the prostate on a cellular level, or that beta-sitosterol’s effect on the metabolization of cholesterol may have the additional effect of supporting prostate function. In any case, we do have some interesting research to give us some real world insight into its efficacy.
A review of multiple studies exploring beta-sitosterol for prostate health investigated the ingredient’s impact on a total of 519 men. Using the American Urological Association’s questionnaire to “score” urinary health quality, all of the studies found greater improvement in both urinary flow measures and self reported urinary quality scores in the men given beta-sitosterol compared to those given a placebo.2
Beta-Sitosterol Side Effects
Beta-sitosterol is typically well-tolerated in most people who take it, with few problems being reported. However, there are some mild side effects that may arise:
Aside from these minor gastrointestinal effects, it’s especially important to talk to your doctor before taking beta-sitosterol if you take certain cholesterol medications such as a statin, since there may be an interaction.
What Foods Are High In Beta-Sitosterol + How Else Can I Get It?
Earlier, we mentioned that beta-sitosterol is the supplemental plant sterol of choice because it’s the most abundant in our diets. But if you’re interested in using this impressive compound for your own wellness, you might still be wondering what foods are high in beta-sitosterol.
Let’s finish up by covering some of the most beta-sitosterol rich foods, as well as another way you can incorporate it into your personal health regimen.
Foods High In Beta-Sitosterol
Nuts and Seeds
Not only are certain nuts and seeds some of the most beta-sitosterol rich foods, they also pack a healthy punch of other nutrients like vitamin E, potassium, magnesium, and unsaturated fats. Some nuts and seeds with the most beta-sitosterol per serving include:
- Pistachios (71 mg per cup)
- Almonds (46 mg per cup)
- Sesame seeds (19mg per tablespoon)
- Hazelnuts (34 mg per cup)
We often think of a lot of oils as being unhealthy, but some plant oils are quite high in beta-sitosterol and other healthy unsaturated fats. Among some of the best are:
- Canola Oil (96 mg per tablespoon)
- Corn Oil (59 mg per tablespoon)
- Soybean Oil (39 mg per tablespoon)
- Flaxseed Oil (28 mg per tablespoon)
It’s impossible to talk about what foods are high in beta-sitosterol without giving a nod to avocados. A great addition to any healthy diet for a whole host of reasons, each cup’s worth of avocado packs 95 mg of beta-sitosterol. Whether you whip up a batch of guacamole or just spread it on some toast, avocado is a great option.
Who says you can’t enjoy a little treat while also getting a solid serving of beta-sitosterol? You’ve probably heard about dark chocolate’s major antioxidant content, but might not know that it’s also a food high in beta-sitosterol. The higher the cacao content, the more beta-sitosterol you’ll be getting: about 25mg per 1-ounce serving for dark chocolate containing 70-85% cacao.
Getting Beta-Sitosterol Through Supplements
If you don’t want to mess around with your diet to increase your intake of beta-sitosterol, taking natural supplements that contain the compound is another great option.
You can find both supplements that only contain beta-sitosterol, as well as special wellness blends that highlight beta-sitosterol as a key ingredient while also including other ingredients aimed at a certain area of wellness, such as prostate or heart health.
If you started reading this article with questions like “is beta-sitosterol a good choice for prostate”, “what else is beta-sitosterol used for”, and “what foods are high in beta-sitosterol,” you’re now basically a beta-sitosterol expert compared to where you started! The information we’ve gone over here is some truly powerful knowledge that can be a great tool for you to make new and better wellness decisions.
Want to read more content like this exploration of beta sitosterol for prostate health? Check out our health blog to find even more in-depth ingredient breakdowns and much more! You can also follow us on Facebook and Instagram to make sure you never miss a new post.
- Susan B Racette, Xiaobo Lin, Michael Lefevre, Catherine Anderson Spearie, Marlene M Most, Lina Ma, Richard E Ostlund, Jr, Dose effects of dietary phytosterols on cholesterol metabolism: a controlled feeding study, The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Volume 91, Issue 1, January 2010, Pages 32–38, https://doi.org/10.3945/ajcn.2009.28070
- Wilt T, Ishani A, MacDonald R, Stark G, Mulrow C, Lau J. Beta-sitosterols for benign prostatic hyperplasia. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2000;(2):CD001043. doi: 10.1002/14651858.CD001043. PMID: 10796740.