Beta Sitosterol prostate hair loss cholesterol side effects, benefit, DHT, and phytosterol research information
What role does it play in cholesterol management and prostate health, does it work for hair growth?
January 1 2018
by Ray Sahelian, M.D.

Beta sitosterol is a plant-derived sterol also known as a phytosterol. Plant sterols or phytosterols are common components of plant foods, especially plant oils, seeds and nuts, cereals and legumes. The most common in our diet are beta sitosterol, campesterol, and stigmasterol. Beta sitosterol is found in high amounts in nuts and amaranth.

Advance Physician Formulas, Inc., Beta Sitosterol, 400 mg, 90 Capsules
Beta Sistosterol Phytosterol Complex
These are natural components of many vegetables and grains. Preliminary scientific evidence suggests that plant phytosterols may help to maintain cholesterol levels already within the normal range when consumed as part of a low cholesterol dietary program. The three main phytosterols in this complex are beta-sitosterol, campesterol, and stigmasterol. They are natural, safe and derived entirely from plant sources. This phytosterol complex is derived from soy.


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Supplement Facts Physician Formulas, Beta Sitosterol, 400 mg
Serving Size: 1 Capsule
Servings Per Bottle: 90 Capsules
  Amount Per Capsule % DV
Phytosterol Concentrate 400 mg
Beta-Sitosterol 160 mg  
Campesterol 110 mg  
Stigmasterol 80 mg  
Daily Value or Recommended Daily Intake not established

Suggested Use: One capsule phytosterol complex a few times a week with breakfast.

Prostate gland enlargement influence
One study shows the combination of beta-sitosterol, saw palmetto, and stinging nettle was helpful in prostate enlargement. A laboratory study shows it may inhibit 5-alpha reductase in prostate tissue.
Randomized trial of a combination of natural products (cernitin, saw palmetto, Beta sitosterol, vitamin E) on symptoms of benign prostatic hyperplasia.
Int Urol Nephrology 2001. Georgetown University Medical Center, Washington, DC
We examined the effectiveness of a combination of natural products (cernitin, saw palmetto, beta sitosterol, vitamin E) in treating symptoms of BPH. We undertook a randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind study. Patients received either placebo or the combined natural products for 3 months. Nocturia showed a markedly significant decrease in severity in patients receiving cernitin, saw palmetto and beta sitosterol compared to those taking placebo. Daytime frequency was also lessened significantly. PSA measurements, maximal and average urinary flow rates, and residual volumes showed no statistically significant differences. When taken for 3 months, a combination of natural products (cernitin, saw palmetto, Beta sitosterol, vitamin E) compared to placebo can significantly lessen nocturia and frequency and diminish overall symptomatology of BPH as indicated by an improvement in the total AUA Symptom Index score. The combination of natural products caused no significant adverse side effects.

Q. I heard a radio show where sitosterol beta for prostate, I think the product was called sitosterol beta prostate. is being promoted as the best supplement for prostate with hundreds of research articles. Does it help prostate gland like the radio advertisement say?
   A. Many herbs and nutrients influence the prostate gland, and beta sitosterol is only one of many. There have been only a handful of studies with it, not hundreds. The ideal dosage of this supplement and potential long term side effects are not known.

December 2013 testimonial
Beta sitosterol works very well, has been almost eliminating my BPH symptom (low flow) and my doctor approves of my using the product. One a day works great. I am 63 yrs and 400 lbs, so the weight is probably a factor.

Hair loss benefit?
It's possible that beta sitosterol could help with hair loss, but we need several long term studies evaluating the role of this nutrient and hair loss before coming to conclusions regarding its effectiveness and adverse effects. Thus far long term studies have not been done with the plant substance to determine what kind of long term side effects it may have in men who take the supplement for months and years. It may weakly block DHT formation.

Effect of beta sitosterol as inhibitor of 5 alpha-reductase in hamster prostate.
Proc West Pharmacol Soc. 2003.

A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial to determine the effectiveness of botanically derived inhibitors of 5-alpha-reductase in the treatment of androgenetic alopecia.
J Altern Complement Med. 2002. Clinical Research and Development Network, Aurora, CO, USA.
The conversion of testosterone to dihydrotestosterone DHT via the enzyme 5-alpha reductase (5AR) contributes to hair loss. Here, we report the first example of a placebo-controlled, double-blind study undertaken in order to examine the benefit of these botanical substances in the treatment of androgenic alopecia. The goal of this study was to test botanically derived 5AR inhibitors, specifically the liposterolic extract of Serenoa repens and beta-sitosterol, in the treatment of AGA. Subjects: Included in this study were males between the ages of 23 and 64 years of age, in good health, with mild to moderate AGA. The results of this pilot study showed a highly positive response to treatment. The blinded investigative staff assessment report showed that 60% of (6/10) study subjects dosed with the active study formulation were rated as improved at the final visit. This study establishes the effectiveness of naturally occurring 5AR inhibitors such as beta sitosterol and saw palmetto against androgenetic alopecia for the first time.

Beta sitosterol side effects, safety, risk, danger
High doses could lead to nausea and a feeling of unease. Long term studies with beta sitosterol supplementation in humans are not available so we don't know the full range of potential side effects.

Q. I am taking 2 capsule a day, morning and evening for 3 weeks now and last week I start getting a pressure about 2 inches above my left and right ear. I thought that I am getting a stroke and went to my Dr.. he sent me for a cat scan and MRI. They found no blockage on my arteries. Are those the side effects people getting from beta-sitosterol ?
    A. I have not heard of these symptoms associated with beta sitosterol supplement use.

Q. I was using beta sitosterol to bring down my cholesterol and then went on vacation. I take no other medication except Viagra every now and then. But to my horror the Viagra did not work like it used actually it was totally ineffective. I couldn't understand what was wrong until i stopped using it. Viagra worked perfectly. I took beta sitosterol again and Viagra does not work with it. The beta sitosterol is amazing in that it enhances my immune system like nothing else. I felt amazing while on it and had no other side effects. I was so disappointed. I would appreciate it if you would let me know if you have heard anyone else have the same complaint.
  A. I have not heard of this adverse effect before, but it is possible. Perhaps beta sitosterol, when used daily, can influence hormone levels or can influence nitric oxide production. It's often a good idea to take breaks from the long term use of a particular supplement and substitute others.

Q. Read your web page today and the concerns from other readers on long term effect of taking Beta Sitosterol. As a previous sufferer of BPH I used tablets (300mg sterol of which 150mg B Sitosterol) three times daily for three years to increase urine flow with some success. Would recommend that users keep track of kidney function with doctor for these tablets delay but do not prevent ultimate need for surgery. After surgery I have continued taking one tablet a day, just as a precaution, for the last ten years with no obvious health issues. I'm now 68 so from my age you can see our family suffer from early BPH my father died of kidney failure by not taking early action.

Prostate Power Rx natural health product

Saw Palmetto extract (standardized to contain 45% fatty acids - serenoa repens fruit)
Stinging Nettle 4:1 extract (urtica diocia root)
Rosemary 4:1 extract
Beta Sitosterol for prostate health
Pygeum Africanum 4:1 bark extract
Daidzein (standardized to contain 40% isoflavones)
Genistein (standardized to contain 40% isoflavones)

Testimonial sent to us by email:
For about nine months I had mixed results using another product that contained beta-sitosterol, 600mg plus a number of minerals such as, Zinc, Copper, Manganese, etc. I replaced the aforementioned supplement with your product and within two to three weeks I experienced a truly significant improvement in my condition. Now after about six weeks of use I am a very happy camper. I now only get up during the night ,one or two times as opposed to three, four and sometimes five times. Also, during the day I have very much more control over my need to find a men's room. I highly recommend Prostate Power Rx. JB, Hollister, California.

Q. Can beta sitosterol and saw palmetto be taken together? I am hoping the combination can help my prostate enlargement.
   A. They can, but it would be best not to take large amounts of each for prolonged periods without breaks.

Q. I used to take a saw palmetto formula for my BHP but I now use beta sitosterol, soy flavones, zinc and selenium without saw palmetto. I changed because my own personal research on the internet suggested that beta aitosterol is the key active agent in aaw palmetto and was therefore very much more powerful. As a lay person I have no evidence to back this up apart from what I read on the internet. I would be pleased if you could kindly enlighten me on this question as I respect what I read on your website.
     A. It's difficult to say. Saw palmetto has:
1) Free fatty acids. Quite a number of fatty acids are present in saw palmetto. The ones in highest concentration include oleic acid, lauric acid, myristic acid and palmitic acid.
2) Phytosterols (plant sterols). These plant sterols (phyto means plant) have a chemical structure similar to cholesterol. The most commonly found phytosterols in saw palmetto are beta-sitosterol, campesterol, stigmasterol and cycloartenol.
3) Free fatty alcohols. These are usually made up of fatty acids joined to an alcohol molecule.
4) Monoglycerides, which are single fatty acids attached to a three-carbon glycerol molecule.
     I don't yet know whether beta sitosterol by itself is good enough or other compounds in saw palmetto could be helpful. Also, every person has a different diet and metabolism, or taking various other supplements or medicines. For some people beta sitosterol may be good enough while others may benefit from saw palmetto alone, and still others may require a whole blend of prostate herbs such as those found in Prostate Power Rx. It's difficult to know for sure, the whole topic is very complicated with too many variables.

Anti-inflammatory activity
Mol Nutr Food Res. Jan 9 2014. beta-Sitosterol attenuates high-fat diet-induced intestinal inflammation in mice by inhibiting the binding of lipopolysaccharide to toll-like receptor 4 in the NF-κB pathway.

Antioxidant benefit and potential
Antioxidant effects of phytosterol and its components.
J Nutr Sci Vitaminol. 2003.
The present study shows that phytosterol chemically acts as an antioxidant, a modest radical scavenger, and physically as a stabilizer in the membranes.

Cancer prevention
Nutr Cancer. 2015. Beta-Sitosterol: A Promising but Orphan Nutraceutical to Fight Against Cancer. One widely known such compound is beta-sitosterol, a plant derived nutrient with anticancer properties against breast cancer, prostate cancer, colon cancer, lung cancer, stomach cancer, ovarian cancer, and leukemia. Studies have shown that BS interfere with multiple cell signaling pathways, including cell cycle, apoptosis, proliferation, survival, invasion, angiogenesis, metastasis and inflammation.

Cholesterol and lipids
Beta sitosterol may help maintain healthy cholesterol levels when used as a supplement.

Efficacy and safety of beta sitosterol in the management of blood cholesterol levels.
Cardiovasc Drug Review. 2005.
The cholesterol lowering properties of plant sterols have been known for some time and many clinical studies have confirmed the efficacy of beta sitosterol in lowering plasma LDL-C concentrations. Animal studies have also shown reductions in LDL. It is well known that plant sterols compete with cholesterol for space within bile salt micelles in the intestinal lumen thereby reducing cholesterol absorption. The understanding of the function of plant sterols in impeding cholesterol absorption has been clarified with the discovery of the adenosine binding cassette transporters, ABCG5/8, involved in the regulation of sterol absorption and secretion into the enterocyte and hepatocyte. Compared to cholesterol and other sterols, beta sitosterol is preferentially pumped out to the intestinal lumen by the ABCG5/8 transporters. This selective binding to the transporters ultimately results in significant lowering of plasma cholesterol.

I read on a book that the combination of beta sitosterol and saw palmetto helps in many ways, as follows: "Alone and in combination with similar phytosterols, β-sitosterol reduces blood levels of cholesterol, and is sometimes used in treating hypercholesterolemia. One small study shows a positive effect on male hair loss in combination with Saw palmetto. What's your opinion?
    There have been a few studies that show B sitosterol can help lower high cholesterol levels, one small study that it may be useful for hair growth in combination with saw palmetto, and could be helpful for BPH. Little is known regarding the benefit of this supplement for cancer prevention.

Lipid levels, cholesterol, triglycerides
Effects of a new soy / beta-sitosterol supplement on plasma lipids in moderately hypercholesterolemic subjects.
J Am Diet Assoc 2002.
Low doses of soy protein added in beta sitosterol seems to be a practical and safe alternative for patients seeking modest reductions in LDL-C (< 15%).

Q. I am trying to reduce my LDL that started climbing after age 60 (now 61) My tryglycerides (<65), HDL (>100), and now LDL rising over 140 (it was always under 70 all my adult life). My overall cholesterol is 240, and my doctor thinks that is genetic. Are you a proponent of the beta-sitosterol and a low fat diet? I cannot tolerate statins, have tried 3 different times, and much muscle joint pain. I am an avid exerciser, have no blood pressure problems, cardiac incidents. Just trying to find a safe effective way to reduce my LDL rising after 60.
   A. I think there are many more effective supplements or natural ways to reduce cholesterol than the use of beta sitosterol supplements. See my article on cholesterol.

Liver fibrosis
BMC Complement Altern Med. 2014. Effects of β-sitosterol derived from Artemisia capillaris on the activated human hepatic stellate cells and dimethylnitrosamine-induced mouse liver fibrosis. This study shows the effect of β-sitosterol on the TGF-β -or DMN-induced hepatofibrosis. Hence, we demonstrate the β-sitosterol as a potential therapeutic agent for the hepatofibrosis.

Review article
J Diet Suppl. 2016. An Evidence-Based Systematic Review of Beta-Sitosterol, Sitosterol (22,23- dihydrostigmasterol, 24-ethylcholesterol) by the Natural Standard Research Collaboration.Ulbricht CE1.Author informationAbstractAn evidence-based systematic review of beta-sitosterol, sitosterol by the Natural Standard Research Collaboration consolidates the safety and efficacy data available in the scientific literature using a validated, reproducible grading rationale. This article includes written and statistical analysis of clinical trials, plus a compilation of expert opinion, folkloric precedent, history, pharmacology, kinetics/dynamics, interactions, adverse effects, toxicology, and dosing.