Key Difference – Plant Stanols vs Sterols
Phytosterols are a major component of the plant chemical compounds. Under phytosterols, the most prominent compounds are stanols and sterols. Phytosterols are cholesterol-like compounds. They are naturally occurring compounds that are present in the membranes of the plant. Plant stanols have a less significant effect on lowering blood cholesterol whilst plant sterols possess a significantly high effect. This is the key difference between plant stanols and sterols.
1. Overview and Key Difference
2. What are Plant Stanols
3. What are Plant Sterols
4. Similarities Between Plant Stanols and Sterols
5. Side by Side Comparison – Plant Stanols vs Sterols in Tabular Form
What are Plant Stanols?
Stanols belong to the group of phytosterol esters and are considered as heterogeneous. In respect to its chemical structure, stanols contain a saturated sterol ring that reduces the level of low density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol that is transported in blood when ingested. This property is a common factor for all phytosterols. Stanols do not play a major role in cholesterol lowering. Therefore, the possibility of reducing cardiovascular diseases by stanols is not significant.
In the context of human diet, plant stanols are present in lower amounts. The major sources for plant stanols are whole grain food types such as wheat, etc. In a typical western diet, the average intake of plant stanols is 55mg to 70 mg per day. Since, plant stanols are present in low quantities in human diet, it does not have a significant effect on blood cholesterol levels.
During normal condition with respect to the preparation of food types and storage, plant stanols are extremely stable due to their property of resistance to oxidation. In the context of physical properties of plant stanols, they have a waxy texture with a fat-like appearance. In the solid form, plant stanols are present as a creamy white color solid and in the state of liquid, they appear as a clear viscous liquid with a bright yellow color. Plants stanols are hydrophobic in nature, and therefore, they are not soluble in water but soluble in fat. Considering their viscosity, they possess a high viscosity when compared with other triglycerides with the same fatty acid composition.
What are Plant Sterols?
Plant sterols are a type of plant compound that reassemble the biological function and chemical structure as cholesterol. Therefore, plant sterols could be defined as a type of cholesterol that present inside the plants with atypical plant identity. It is said that, as a common theory, plant sterols are naturally occurring elements that have been evolved along with humans. With regards to its chemical nature, plant sterols contain a double bond or a methyl or ethyl group. Out of the abundant plant sterols, the most abundant types include sitosterol, campesterol and stigmasterol. With regards to the daily human intake, plant sterols are present in the diet with an average value of 160 mg to 400 mg per day.
Since they have a similarity in structure and function to that of cholesterol, plant sterols have been under thorough investigation to identify the properties of cholesterol absorption and inhibition. It was found out that, plant sterols possess the ability to lower blood cholesterol level. The high daily intake of plant sterols has been a major factor for the above property of plant sterols. Other than the cholesterol-lowering effect, plant sterols possess few other significant qualities with regards to good health. These properties include properties of anti-cancer, anti-inflammation, anti-atherosclerosis and antioxidation.
What are the Similarities Between Plant Stanols and Sterols?
- Both Plant Stanols and Sterols are compounds that belong to the group phytosterols.
What is the Difference Between Plant Stanols and Sterols?
Plant Stanols vs Sterols
|Plant stanols are considered as heterogenous compounds that belong to the group of phytosterols.||Plant sterols are considered as a type of plant compound that reassembles the biological function and chemical structure as cholesterol.|
|Daily uptake of plant stanols is low (55 mg to 70 mg per day).||Daily uptake of plant sterols is high (160mg to 400mg per day).|
|Plant stanols have a low effect.||Plant sterols have a high effect.|
Summary – Plant Stanols vs Sterols
Plant stanols are heterogenous plant compounds that belong to the group of phytosterols. In the context of cholesterol-lowering effect, stanols do not play a major role. Therefore, the reduction of the possibility of cardiovascular diseases by stanols is not significant. Plant sterols are considered as a type of plant compound that reassembles the biological function and chemical structure as cholesterol. In the context of blood cholesterol-lowering property, plant stanols have a less significant effect whilst plant sterols show a high significant effect. This is due to the fact that plant stanols are taken up in fewer quantities whilst plant sterols are taken up in high quantities. Both are compounds that belong to the group phytosterols. This is the difference between plant stanols and plant sterols.
1.Berger, Alvin, et al. “Plant sterols: factors affecting their efficacy and safety as functional food ingredients.” Lipids in Health and Disease, vol. 3, no. 1, 2004, p. 5., doi:10.1186/1476-511x-3-5.
2.“Phytosterols, Sterols & Stanols.” Cleveland Clinic. Available here
3.“Phytosterols, Sterols & Stanols.” Cleveland Clinic. Available here
4.Ostlund, J r. “Phytosterols and cholesterol metabolism.” Current opinion in lipidology., U.S. National Library of Medicine, Feb. 2004. Available here
5.Foundation, The Heart. “Plant sterols.” The Heart Foundation. Available here
1.’Cell membrane detailed diagram en’ By LadyofHats Mariana Ruiz – Own work. (Public Domain) via Commons Wikimedia