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What is beta sitosterol and what are its benefits?

Beta sitosterol is a substance that is related tocholesterol, but which comes from plants. It can also be found in various foodsand in a form of dietary supplement, and it is beneficial in cases of highcholesterol, various heart conditions and in cases of benign prostatichyperplasia, which is why it is very often a part of the treatment of these conditions.It has the ability to block and decrease the absorption of cholesterol from theintestine, thus lowering its levels in the body. The reason why it is effectivein the treatment of enlarged prostate is related to the fact that it can block theconversion of the hormone testosterone into dihydrotestosterone (DHT), thus loweringits levels in the body. Due to this same ability, this compound might beefficient in the treatment of hair loss, but the fact is that so far, noresearches on this issue have been conducted.

Even though there is not enough evidence on usefulness ofbeta sitosterol in the treatment of gallstones, asthma, symptoms of menopause,common cold, as well as in cases when it is necessary to boost the immunesystem or enhance sexual performance, it is widely employed in such cases.

Side effects associated with the use of beta sitosterol

Certain side effects are definitely possible, despite thefact that beta sitosterol is natural product, but generally, the greatestmajority of negative effects associated with this medication are considered asonly bothersome and far from dangerous. Nausea, heartburn, diarrhea (orconstipation), are most commonly reported, but it is possible that people whouse it experience erectile dysfunction, decreased libido and sings such asitching, hives, wheezing, difficulty breathing and swelling, which all indicatesevere allergic reaction. Still, it is important to note here that betasitosterol supplements and products contain various other ingredients as well,of which some are herbs and even medications, which is why some side effectsmight occur due to their presence and not due to beta sitosterol.

Certain side effects can be experienced due to simultaneoususe of beta sitosterol and vitamin E, for example, as well as the combinationof this medication with beta-carotene and medication known as simvastatin. The resultin these cases can be decreased absorption of either beta sitosterol or vitamin E, beta-carotene or simvastatin, which is why these combinations should be avoided.

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