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Short-term LDL cholesterol-lowering efficacy of plant stanol esters.

Abstract
BACKGROUND:
The short-term cholesterol-lowering efficacy of plant stanol esters has been open to debate, and the data from different clinical studies with hypercholesterolemic subjects are variable, partly due to lack of systematic studies. Therefore, we investigated the time in days needed to obtain the full cholesterol-lowering effect of stanol esters in hypercholesterolemic subjects.
METHODS:
Eleven mildly to moderately hypercholesterolemic subjects consumed stanol ester margarine (2.0 g/day of stanols) as a part of their habitual diet for 14 days and the changes in serum lipid values were measured three times at 4, 8 and 15 days after the initiation of test margarine consumption (0 day). The returning of serum lipid concentrations to baseline was measured two times after 2 or 3 days and after 7 days of the end of the test margarine consumption.
RESULTS:
Serum LDL cholesterol concentrations were reduced from 0 day (4.51 +/- 0.66 mmol/l) by 3.5% (P = ns), 9.9% (p < 0.05) and 10.2% (P < 0.05) at 4, 8 and 15 days, respectively. Serum campesterol/total cholesterol ratio, an indirect marker of intestinal cholesterol absorption, was significantly reduced on day 4 already. After ending the stanol ester use serum cholesterol concentrations began to return rapidly and after 7 days serum LDL cholesterol was 5.3% less than the initial value (P = ns).
CONCLUSION:
The specific effect of plant stanol esters on serum LDL cholesterol can fully be obtained within 1-2 weeks of the use of plant stanol ester-enriched margarine

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