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Phytosterols, Cholesterol Control, and Cardiovascular Disease

Nutrition Foundation of Italy, 20124 Milan, Italy
Department of Pharmaceutical and Pharmacological Sciences, University of Milan, 20133 Milan, Italy
IRCCS MultiMedica, 20099 Sesto San Giovanni, Italy
Department of Medicine (DIMED), University of Padova, 35128 Padova, Italy
FIMMG—Italian Federation of General Medicine Doctors and SIMPeSV–Italian Society of Preventive and Lifestyle Medicine, 00144 Rome, Italy
Department of Food Environmental and Nutritional Sciences (DeFENS), University of Milan, 20133 Milan, Italy
SIMG—Italian Society of General Medicine, 50142 Firenze, Italy
Department of Molecular Medicine, University of Padova, 35121 Padova, Italy
IMDEA-Food, CEI UAM+CSIC, 28049 Madrid, Spain
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Lindsay Brown
Nutrients 2021, 13(8), 2810;
Received: 19 July 2021 / Revised: 10 August 2021 / Accepted: 13 August 2021 / Published: 16 August 2021
The use of phytosterols (or plant sterols) for the control of plasma cholesterol concentrations has recently gained traction because their efficacy is acknowledged by scientific authorities and leading guidelines. Phytosterols, marketed as supplements or functional foods, are formally classified as food in the European Union, are freely available for purchase, and are frequently used without any health professional advice; therefore, they are often self-prescribed, either inappropriately or in situations in which no significant advantage can be obtained. For this reason, a panel of experts with diverse medical and scientific backgrounds was convened by NFI—Nutrition Foundation of Italy—to critically evaluate and summarize the literature available on the topic, with the goal of providing medical doctors and all health professionals useful information to actively govern the use of phytosterols in the context of plasma cholesterol control. Some practical indications to help professionals identify subjects who will most likely benefit from the use of these products, optimizing the therapeutic outcomes, are also provided. The panel concluded that the use of phytosterols as supplements or functional foods to control Low Density Lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol levels should be preceded by the assessment of some relevant individual characteristics: cardiovascular risk, lipid profile, correct understanding of how to use these products, and willingness to pay for the treatment. View Full-Text
Keywords: phytosterols; plant sterols; cholesterol; cardiovascular disease; supplements; functional foods phytosterols; plant sterols; cholesterol; cardiovascular disease; supplements; functional foods
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MDPI and ACS Style

Poli, A.; Marangoni, F.; Corsini, A.; Manzato, E.; Marrocco, W.; Martini, D.; Medea, G.; Visioli, F. Phytosterols, Cholesterol Control, and Cardiovascular Disease. Nutrients 2021, 13, 2810.

AMA Style

Poli A, Marangoni F, Corsini A, Manzato E, Marrocco W, Martini D, Medea G, Visioli F. Phytosterols, Cholesterol Control, and Cardiovascular Disease. Nutrients. 2021; 13(8):2810.

Chicago/Turabian Style

Poli, Andrea, Franca Marangoni, Alberto Corsini, Enzo Manzato, Walter Marrocco, Daniela Martini, Gerardo Medea, and Francesco Visioli. 2021. "Phytosterols, Cholesterol Control, and Cardiovascular Disease" Nutrients 13, no. 8: 2810.

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