Submitted to: Book Chapter
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: April 4, 2005
Publication Date: April 4, 2005
Citation: Moreau, R.A. Phytosterols and phytosterol esters. Book Chapter. 2005. C. Akoh and O-M. Lai (eds.), in Healthful Lipids, AOCS Press, Champaign, pp.335-360. Technical Abstract: Phytosterols (plant sterols) are found in all plant cells and tissues. During the last 10 years, there has been a huge interest in phytosterols internationally, mainly prompted by the commercialization of the first phytosterol-enriched functional food in Finland in 1995 and in much of the rest of the world in the last five years. Numerous clinical studies have demonstrated that phytosterols, when ingested at a level of 1-3 grams per day can lower serum LDL-cholesterol by 10-15%. Very recent studies have shown that lower levels of phytosterols may also have similar efficacies if they are properly dispersed in certain types of food matrices. The first phytosterol-enriched food products were high-fat products, but some new low fat and non-fat formulations of phytosterols have also been shown to have good cholesterol-lowering efficacy. The purpose of this review is not to be a comprehensive treatise on all of phytosterol chemistry, structure and function, but to focus on recent new areas of phytosterol research that may be of interest to scientists not well acquainted with the field (mainly lipid chemists and biochemists).