With most supplements, such as beta-sitosterol, dosage recommendations have not been established. In clinical studies for the treatment of high cholesterol, researchers typically used doses ranging from 800 to 6000 mg daily. In general, it is recommended that beta-sitosterol doses be taken with meals, since they can help decrease the absorption of cholesterol consumed from the food.
Beta-Sitosterol Dosage: An Introduction
The recommended dose of beta-sitosterol has not been definitively established. Unlike medications, for which the standard doses have been well established in carefully designed studies, there is less information available for recommending the best dose for most dietary supplements. However, since plant sterols, including beta-sitosterol, have been studied quite a bit, some basic dosing information is available.
What Is a Reasonable Beta-Sitosterol Dose?
With prescription and non-prescription medications, researchers establish the most effective and safe doses in special studies, known as dose-range studies. These studies are done early in the development of medications, long before they are ever approved. However, because dietary supplements and "functional foods," such as margarines or spreads that contain plant sterols, do not need to be approved, dose-range studies are rarely performed. Without such studies, only vague "trial and error" information is available.
For treating high cholesterol, studies have generally used doses of beta-sitosterol ranging from 800 mg to 6000 mg (6 grams) total per day, either taken all at once or split into two or three smaller doses. Different products may have different dosing recommendations. In general, it is recommended that beta-sitosterol products be taken with meals, since they can help decrease the absorption of cholesterol consumed from that meal. There is some thought that beta-sitosterol capsules or tablets may not dissolve properly and that products that contain fat, such as margarines or spreads, probably work better.