The safest, most effective therapies for optimal health!
by Ellen Landauer
Phytosterols - plant cholesterol - form plant cell membranes. They include plant-derived sterols and stanols.
PHOTO ABOVE: Walnuts and all nuts and seeds are very high in phytosterols.
ALL plants contain these compounds. We are told that they are not only healthy - but necessary for us. This article describes why the opposite is true.
Phytosterols dangers are many. Touted as healthy nutrients that 'lower cholesterol,' they are likely to create illness when consumed in the recommended quantities. More is better, we are told. The foods containing them typically also have other harmful compounds we are MUCH better off without. With the emphasis on 'plant-based diet,' most people are loaded with harmful plant toxins.
Phytosterols compete with cholesterol absorption in our gut. In many pc writings, this is hyped as a good thing - but actually is a BAD thing. Cholesterol is very important to our vitality - but ONLY in the form of animal fats.
'Increased cell membrane rigidity caused by a decreased ratio of cholesterol to phytosterols and phytostanols may contribute to the increased blood pressure.' (1)
Phytosterols displacing real cholesterol makes our cell membranes - hence all our organs, blood cells and vessels and musculoskeletal system - rigid.
However, cholesterol from animal sources creates supple cell membranes, making your body stronger, more fluid and flexible - and benefitting all body functions from hormone and neurotransmitter production and function to cardiovascular health and more.
Cholesterol from animal fats is VERY important for nerve transmission. Our brain and nervous system are mostly made of cholesterol! When you deplete cholesterol, insulin receptors on cells don't work well.
Cholesterol gets depleted when it is displaced by phytosterols. We are told repeatedly by conventional mass media and 'holistic' sources that this is good.
Animal fats are vital to human hormone production!Ovaries and testes are very rich in LDL receptors which take cholesterol from LDL to make estrogen and testosterone. Just one good reason not to call LDL 'bad' cholesterol. (In fact, LDL means 'low-density lipoprotein - as in protein)! LDL is not cholesterol. Only cholesterol is cholesterol!
Cholesterol from animal sources is important for formation of cortisol to deal with stress.
Phytosterols are promoted for male prostate health. Pumpkin seed extract, saw palmetto and other herbs are touted for the purpose of preventing conversion of testosterone (inactive form of the hormone) - to dihydrotestosterone (active, beneficial form). BUT - inhibiting 5-a-reductase to lower dihydrotestosterone as described in quote below is a BAD idea as I've described in THIS ARTICLE.
'Limited evidence from animal studies suggests that very high phytosterol intake could alter testosterone metabolism by inhibiting 5-α-reductase, a membrane-bound enzyme that converts testosterone to dihydrotestosterone, a more potent metabolite. It is not known whether phytosterol consumption alters testosterone metabolism in humans. No significant changes in free or total serum testosterone concentrations were observed in men who consumed 1.6 g/day of plant sterol esters for one year.' (2)
We are uniquely designed to absorb fat. In order to absorb fats, bile acids are made from cholesterol by the gallbladder.
Cholesterol is VITAL for the production of Vitamin D from sunlight. Vitamin D (which is considered either a hormone or prohormone by scientists) is made from cholesterol when cholesterol in the skin is exposed to sunlight and/or when we ingest a Vitamin D supplement. It is converted into calcitrol by liver and kidneys, then distributed throughout our bodies.
Phytosterols do NOT benefit our vitamin D levels as cholesterol does. Therefore, we want cholesterol, NOT phytosterols! Vitamin D is a prohormone dependent on cholesterol. Vitamin D enhances sex hormones, nervous system and skeletal health.
'Vitamin D can be obtained from diet, direct sunlight, or supplementation. The most common form is synthesized in the skin after exposure to ultraviolet B radiation. Nevertheless, the thought is that vitamin D is more of a multifunctional hormone or prohormone. This is because vitamin D plays contributes to many processes in the body. Calcitriol has been shown to have enhancing effects on the immune system, the cardiovascular system, the endocrine system, and other metabolic pathways. There is evidence that vitamin D has also a role in depression, pain, and cancer.' (3)
Cholesterol is important in keeping the membranes of our red blood cells healthy.
If phytosterols take the place of cholesterol in red blood cell membranes, the red blood cells become rigid and cannot get through capillaries to nourish all our cells. This causes cell death in the form of mini-strokes throughout our body.
Phytosterols cause red blood cells to stick together and form clots. Cholesterol from healthy grass-fed animal sourced food does not have this harmful effect.
'An increasing body of evidence suggests that plant sterols per se are atherogenic.' (4)
'Cytotoxic effects of phytosterols on human endothelial cells have been reported by Boberg and colleagues. They incubated human endothelial vein cells (HUVEC) with sitosterol for 72 h, which resulted in contraction of HUVEC and increase of intracellular lactate dehydrogenase . In another study, Bao and colleagues reported a sitosterol-induced necrotic death in macrophages, derived from mice .' (4)
Cholesterol is important for conversion of Vitamin K1 to K2. It is also important for building glutathione peroxidase, an antioxidant.
Plant cholesterol builds plaque in blood vessels, causes xanthomas (fatty deposits under skin - often seen around eyes)! Diabetes is caused by lack of fluidity in cell membranes - so by interfering with absorption of animal fat cholesterol, phytosterols weaken blood vessels.
Phytosterols have been shown to cause liver damage:
'We have furthermore demonstrated that a factor in the SO lipid emulsions, stigmasterol, promotes cholestasis, liver injury, and liver macrophage activation...' (5)
Corn and soybean oils are very high in phytosterols. Corn and soy oils as well as other seed oils including safflower, sunflower and peanut oil are ALL made industrially and contain a lot of plant fat with a lot of phytosterols. Avocado oil has been touted as a 'healthier' oil than seed oils - but it, too is very high in phytosterols because avocados are well known to be rich in these compounds.
To a lesser extent, olive and coconut oils also contain phytosterols but very low. Animal fat is ALWAYS much better for humans than any plant fats.
As far as other foods, avocadoes, nuts, flax and chia seeds are examples of those highest in phytosterols. But remember - ALL plant foods contain phytosterols, so limiting them in favor of animal-sourced food is your best option for being your healthiest!
Dietary phytosterols and phytostanols decrease cholesterol levels but increase blood pressure in WKY inbred rats in the absence of salt-loading
'Increased cell membrane rigidity caused by a decreased ratio of cholesterol to phytosterols and phytostanols may contribute to the increased blood pressure.'
Ellison DL, Moran HR. Vitamin D: Vitamin or Hormone?
Nurs Clin North Am. 2021 Mar;56(1):47-57. doi: 10.1016/j.cnur.2020.10.004. Epub 2020 Dec 28. PMID: 33549285.
Ellen Landauer is an expert with over 40 years in-depth study and experience of the safe and effective use of nutritional supplements, botanical extracts and detoxification methods.
She is Certified as an Advanced Practitioner of Structural Integration body therapy developed by Dr. Ida P. Rolf - also known as Rolfing. This hands-on therapy is the deepest, most comprehensive body alignment therapy.
Ellen Landauer is also a NEWLY PUBLISHED AUTHOR!
To learn more about Ellen Landauer, see her detailed bio HERE
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