A number of supplements out there can help with either decreasing your cholesterol or lessening your anxiety, but did you know there’s one option that can do both? There’s a reason why scientists are so excited about beta-sitosterol.
What is beta-sitosterol?
Beta-sitosterol is a type of plant compound known as a phytosterol, which live in the cell membranes of plants. Similar to how cholesterol helps us build and maintain healthy cells, phytosterol serves the same function in plant organisms. The supplement has been linked to lowering levels of “bad” cholesterol in humans while strengthening the cardiovascular system overall.
In addition to its heart health benefits, a recent animal study published in Cell Reports Medicine concluded that beta-sitosterol can also be helpful in reducing anxiety when either taken on its own or as a supplement to an antidepressant. Researchers are still figuring out if humans would see similar effects, but they believe the results are promising.
What are its side effects?
Side effects of beta-sitosterol are generally mild and include bloating, diarrhea, nausea, and indigestion. Women who are pregnant or are currently breastfeeding shouldn’t take it, and folks with sitosterolemia, a rare fat storage disorder, should also steer clear of it too.
Generally, dosages of beta-sitosterol range from 500 to 1,500 milligrams per day, and some research has shown that daily amounts over 800 milligrams can be beneficial for people with high cholesterol.
How should you take it?
There are oral tablets or capsules (Buy on Amazon, $19.99) you can take to get your regular dose of beta-sitosterol. As with any other supplement, make sure you talk to your doctor before adding something to your regimen.
And if you want to see if you can increase your intake in your diet, foods like pistachios, avocados, almonds, fava beans, and hazelnuts are also high in beta-sitosterol. Yum!
This article originally appeared on our sister site, First for Women.
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