What is Plant Stanols (Phytosterols)?


Understanding Plant Stanols (Phytosterols)

The Plant Stanol Ester ingredient is made from Plant Stanols and vegetable oil. Plant Stanols occur naturally in certain foods, such as edible plants, seeds and grains, but the levels we get from our normal daily diet are too low to be effective for lowering cholesterol.

By the end of the 1980s, scientists at Raisio, a Finnish food company, discovered a way of concentrating them and creating an ingredient called Plant Stanol Ester that can be added easily to a wide range of delicious food products.

Organizations around the world such as the European Society of Cardiology, and American Heart Association have proven the cholesterol-lowering effects of Plant Stanols as well as their safety1-3. According to the European Union Register of Nutrient and Health Claims, if individuals were to consume 1.5-2.4 grams of Plant Stanols daily for a continuous duration of 2-3 weeks, their LDL cholesterol levels could decrease by 7-10%3.


Natural and Effective

Plant Stanols was one of the first functional ingredients to get a coveted health claim in Europe. This means that we can mention reduction of a risk factor in the development of disease for those using our products that include Plant Stanols. The approved claim makes Benecol® one of the most trusted products for people who want to lower their cholesterol. Safety is also assured.


    • 1. International Atherosclerosis Society 2013. http://www.athero.org/IASPositionPaper.asp
    • 2. Cardiovascular disease prevention. In MIMS Cardiology, Hong Kong 2012-2013'  5th edition:A1-A7
    • 3. European Guidelines on cardiovascular disease prevention in clinical practice (version 2012) Eur Heart J 2012;33: 1635-1701

plant stanols statistics


Getting Plant Stanols (Phytosterols) in your diet


The Plant Stanol Ester ingredient is made from Plant Stanols (Phytosterols) and vegetable oil and has significant health benefits when it comes to lowering cholesterol. It occurs naturally in certain foods, such as edible plants, seeds and grains, but the levels we get from our normal daily diet are too low to be effective for lowering cholesterol.

How does Plant Stanol Ester work, and what are the benefits of it?

Plant Stanols have a structure very similar to that of cholesterol that means they can inhibit the absorption of both dietary cholesterol and the cholesterol incorporated into bile salts by the liver. The major benefit of plant stanols is that they are poorly absorbed from the gut and are capable of significantly reducing the amount of cholesterol absorbed. This ultimately leads to lower blood total and LDL cholesterol concentrations. Prior to being absorbed, cholesterol is first incorporated into a mixed micelle (the transportation vehicle for cholesterol absorption) in the upper part of the small intestine. Research findings suggest that Plant Stanols competes with cholesterol for space in the micelle and that this results in much less of the harmful cholesterol reaching the blood supply, passing unabsorbed into the large bowel. Furthermore, adding Plant Stanols into your diet can help lower total and LDL cholesterol without affecting HDL, and therefore has the benefit of lowering cholesterol.

It has been clinically proven that consuming 2g of plant stanols in your daily diet has marked benefits. After including them in your diet for 2-3 weeks, your cholesterol could be lowered up to 7-10%*.

Each bottle of Benecol yogurt drink contains 2g of plant stanol esters. You can take Benecol yogurt drinks as part of your daily diet or have it with a meal. It is also suggested to be taken alongside a balanced diet and regular exercise routine to maximize the cholesterol-lowering effect and benefit of plant stanols. To learn more about Benecol and get answers to frequently asked questions, read more here.


    • The EFSA Journal(2009)1175, 1-9. Plant Stanols and Plant Sterols and Blood LDL-Cholesterol.



Mechanism of Plant Stanols



with and without plant stanol





Benecol® is recommended and safe


Plant stanol ester has gone through extensive testing to prove its efficacy and safety. This has resulted in endorsements from many food safety authorities around the world including Europe, the US, Japan, China, Australia and Russia. Plant stanol ester has been awarded an Approved Health Claim, by the European Parliament and Generally Recognized as Safe (GRAS) status in the USA. In addition, Benecol® products have been on the market since 1995 with no reports of adverse effects.

Many national health organizations now recommend that consumers include 2 g of plant stanols per day in their diets for cholesterol reduction.

British Nutrition Foundation - The evidence for the cholesterol lowering effects of Plant Stanol Esters


Claims approved by national bodies



National Body  Year


 US Food and Drug  Administration (FDA)  September 2000  & February 2003


 Netherlands Nutrition Centre  Jan 2001


 Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare, Japan  February 2002


 Swedish Nutrition Foundation  December 2006



International and national guidelines recommending the use of plant stanol ester for reducing LDL-cholesterol:



 National Body    Year  


 American Diabetes Association    2016, 2013  


 American College of Cardiology    2016  


 European Atherosclerosis Society    2014-2016  


 National Lipid Association    2015  


 Joint British Societies    2014  


 International Atherosclerosis Society    2013  


 European Society of Cardiology    2012  


 National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute & National Institutes of Health & American Academy of Pediatrics    2011  


 European Society of Cardiology & European Atherosclerosis Society    2011  


 The Australian Heart Foundation    2009  


 American Academy of Pediatrics    2008  


 American Diabetes Association - with additional research    2008  


 American College of Cardiology Foundation    2008  


 Australian Heart Foundation    2007  


 American Heart Association / American College of Cardiology    2006  


 Joint British Societies    2005  


 International Atherosclerosis Society    2003  


 World Health Organization    2003  


 Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations    2003  


 International Lipid Information Bureau    2003  


 Joint European Societies    2003  


 European Union Scientific Committee on Foods    2002  


 National Cholesterol Education Program (NCEP)    2002  


 National Cholesterol Education Programme Adult Treatment Panel III, USA    2002  


 Finnish Internal Medicine Society    1996  

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