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December 2008 Issue

Combining the Cholesterol-Lowering Powers of Statins and Sterols

Statins vs Sterols. Statins are widely prescribed drugs to lower LDL-cholesterol; they include Lipitor, Pravachol and Zocor. Sterols, also called phytosterols, are natural compounds derived from fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds and legumes. They’ve been studied since the 1950s for their ability to reduce LDLs. (Similar compounds called stanols, which come from tree bark and soybean oil, work in the same way.) Statin drugs block the body’s production of cholesterol in the liver. Sterols, on the other hand, primarily prevent cholesterol absorption from food. Thus statins plus sterols are better than either alone.

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