Lipid-lowering Activity of Natural and Semi-Synthetic Sterols and Stanols


  • Dhiaa A Taha University of Nottingham
  • Ellen K Wasan University of Saskatchewan
  • Kishor M Wasan University of Saskatchewan
  • Pavel Gershkovich University of Nottingham



Consumption of plant sterols/ stanols has long been demonstrated to reduce plasma cholesterol levels. The objective of this review is to demonstrate the lipid-lowering activity and anti-atherogenic effects of natural and semi-synthetic plant sterols/ stanols based on evidence from cell-culture studies, animal studies and clinical trials. Additionally, this review highlights certain molecular mechanisms by which plant sterols/ stanols lower plasma cholesterol levels with a special emphasis on factors that affect the cholesterol-lowering activity of plant sterols/stanols. The crystalline nature and the poor oil solubility of these natural products could be important factors that limit their cholesterol-lowering efficiency. Several attempts have been made to improve the cholesterol-lowering activity by enhancing the bioavailability of crystalline sterols and stanols. Approaches involved reduction of the crystal size and/or esterification with fatty acids from vegetable or fish oils. However, the most promising approach in this context is the chemical modification of plant sterols /stanols into water soluble disodium ascorbyl phytostanyl phosphates analogue by esterification with ascorbic acid. This novel semi-synthetic stanol derivative has improved efficacy over natural plant sterols/ stanols and can provide additional benefits by combining the cholesterol-lowering properties of plant stanols with the antioxidant potential of ascorbic acid.


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Author Biography

Pavel Gershkovich, University of Nottingham

Lecturer in Pharmacokinetics Centre for Biomolecular Sciences




How to Cite

Taha, D. A., Wasan, E. K., Wasan, K. M., & Gershkovich, P. (2015). Lipid-lowering Activity of Natural and Semi-Synthetic Sterols and Stanols. Journal of Pharmacy & Pharmaceutical Sciences, 18(4), 344–367.



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