Health & Well-Being A-Z


Sitostanol molecule

Sitostanol is a plant product. It is made from vegetable oils or the oil from pine tree wood pulp, and is then combined with canola oil.

Sitostanol is most commonly used for heart disease and high cholesterol.

Sitostanol is an ingredient in Benecol margarine and some salad dressings. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) allows manufacturers of products that contain sitostanol to claim that the product lowers the risk of getting heart disease. There is plenty of evidence that sitostanol lowers cholesterol levels, but so far there is no proof that long-term use lowers the risk of developing heart disease.

Is It Effective?

Effectiveness header

NatMed Pro rates effectiveness based on scientific evidence according to the following scale: Effective, Likely Effective, Possibly Effective, Possibly Ineffective, Likely Ineffective, Ineffective, and Insufficient Evidence to Rate.

Likely effective
  • High cholesterol. Sitostanol is effective for reducing cholesterol levels in adults with high cholesterol. It doesn't have to be taken with meals to work. Cholesterol levels decrease within 2 to 3 weeks of starting sitostanol. Sitostanol may not have the same effect in all people. About 12% of people do not respond to sitostanol.

    People usually take sitostanol as an ingredient of Benecol margarine. Sitostanol can reduce total and "bad" low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol levels by 6% to 20%. Most research shows that a dose of about 2-3 grams per day lowers cholesterol the most. Higher doses do not seem to work any better.

Possibly effective
  • Inherited tendency towards high cholesterol (familial hypercholesterolemia). Sitostanol is possibly effective for reducing cholesterol levels in children and adults with high cholesterol levels due to familial hypercholesterolemia. Taking sitostanol seems to reduce total cholesterol by 11% to 14% and "bad" low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol levels by 15% to 33% in people who also take cholesterol-lowering drugs called statins.
Insufficient evidence
  • Heart disease.

Is it Safe?


Sitostanol stops the cholesterol from food entering the body.


When taken by mouth: Sitostanol is LIKELY SAFE for most people when taken by mouth. Adults can safely use sitostanol for up to 1 year, and children can safely use it for up to 3 months. Sitostanol might cause stomach upset or too much fat in the stool (steatorrhea).

There is some concern that sitostanol might decrease absorption of some nutrients since it decreases fat absorption. Sitostanol does seem to reduce the absorption of dietary beta-carotene, but this reduction may not be important to health.

Special Precautions & Warnings:

Pregnancy and breast-feeding: There isn't enough reliable information to know if sitostanol is safe to use when pregnant or breast-feeding. Stay on the safe side and avoid use.

Drug interactions

It is not known if Sitostanol interacts with any medicines. Before taking Sitostanol, talk with your healthcare professional if you take any medications.

Herb interactions

Beta-carotene: Sitostanol can reduce absorption and blood levels of beta-carotene. But this may not be important to health. Taking extra beta-carotene is probably not necessary. If you are worried about this interaction, eat more beta-carotene-rich vegetables.

Food interactions

There are no known interactions with foods.


The following doses have been studied in scientific research:



  • For high cholesterol: 200 mg to 9 grams of sitostanol has been used daily, but doses of 2-3 grams daily are most common. Doses above 2-3 grams daily may be only slightly more effective. Single daily doses seem to be as effective as divided doses taken twice or three times daily.
  • For reducing cholesterol levels in adults with an inherited tendency towards high cholesterol (familial hypercholesterolemia): About 2 grams of sitostanol has been taken daily for up to 3 months.



  • For high cholesterol: 1.5 grams of sitostanol has been used daily in children aged 6 years.
  • For reducing cholesterol levels in children with an inherited tendency towards high cholesterol (familial hypercholesterolemia): 1.5-6 grams of sitostanol per day have been used in children aged 2-15 years.
Other names

24-alpha-ethylcholestanol, Beta-sitostanol, Bêta-sitostanol, Dihydro-beta-sitosterol, Ester de Stanol Végétal, Fucostanol, Phytostanol, Plant Stanol, Plant Stanol Esters, Stanol Végétal, Stigmastanol.


Information on this website is for informational use only and is not intended to replace professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. While evidence-based, it is not guaranteed to be error-free and is not intended to meet any particular user’s needs or requirements or to cover all possible uses, safety concerns, interactions, outcomes, or adverse effects. Always check with your doctor or other medical professional before making healthcare decisions (including taking any medication) and do not delay or disregard seeking medical advice or treatment based on any information displayed on this website.

© TRC Healthcare 2024. All rights reserved. Use and/or distribution is permitted only pursuant to a valid license or other permission from TRC Healthcare.