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Sterol, Stanol, and Policosanol Supplements for Cholesterol-lowering Reviewed by ConsumerLab.com

Alphabetical list of cholesterol-lowering supplement brands with sterols or policosanol compared in this review

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Designs For Health Foresterol

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GNC Policosanol

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ModuChol

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Nature Made CholestOff Plus

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Olympian Labs Policosanol

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Piping Rock Ultra Policosanol

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ProCaps Laboratories CholestaCare

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Solgar Policosanol 20 mg

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The Vitamin Shoppe Policosanol

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Vibrant Health Cholesterol Blockers Version 2.3

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Summary


  • Do sterol/stanol and policosanol supplements lower cholesterol? Although many types of supplements are touted for lowering high cholesterol levels, those with the best evidence of efficacy are sterols/stanols, red yeast rice, and high-dose niacin. In this Review, we tested sterols/stanols. There is modest evidence of efficacy for other supplements such as policosanol (also tested in this Review), fish oil, garlic, guggulsterone, pantethine, soy protein, and Sytrinol (see Summary of Evidence table).
  • What did CL's tests find in sterol/stanol cholesterol supplements? Tests by ConsumerLab revealed that one sterol product contained less of a specific sterol than claimed and a policosanol product did not contain the expected amount of a specific policosanol. Across products, the dose of sterols/stanols per serving ranged from 400 mg to 900 mg and 10 mg to 20 mg of policosanol. The cost to obtain 800 mg of sterols/stanols ranged from 16 cents to 74 cents and the cost for 20 mg of policosanol ranged from 11 cents to 59 cents. (See What CL Found)
  • Top Picks for sterol/stanol and policosanol supplements Among products Approved in testing, ConsumerLab selected a Top Pick for sterols/stanols that provided an ample dose at relatively low cost and its effectiveness is backed by a positive clinical trial. The Top Pick for policosanol provided what may be the best form of policosanol and relatively low cost.
  • What is the right dose of sterols/stanols and policosanol and the best time to take them? Dosage for sterols is at least 400 mg with a meal or (1,000 mg for stanols), twice daily. For policosanol, it is 10 to 20 mg daily. See the ConsumerTips™ section for more about dosage and forms.
  • Safety and side effects of sterol/stanol and policosanol supplements: Sterols/stanols may interfere with absorption of fat-soluble vitamins and, rarely, their use has been associated with elevations in liver enzymes. A range of side effects, including migraines and insomnia, have been reported with policosanol and it should be used with caution in people taking anti-platelet or anti-coagulant drugs. (For details, see Concerns and Cautions.)
You must be a member to get the full test results for plant sterol and policosanol supplements along with ConsumerLab.com recommendations and quality ratings. You will get results for ten supplements: Eight selected by ConsumerLab.com and two others that passed the same testing through our voluntary Quality Certification Program.

In this comprehensive review, you'll discover:
  • Which plant sterol and policosanol supplements failed testing and which passed
  • ConsumerLab's Top Picks for sterol and policosanol supplements
  • The evidence for phytosterol spreads like Smart Balance and Benecol
  • How much to take, and the best way to take sterol, stanol and policosanol supplements
  • Concerns, cautions, drug and nutrient interactions, and potential side effects of plant sterols and policosanol
  • The pros and cons of other cholesterol-lowering ingredients such as fish oil (omega-3), garlic, niacin, red yeast rice, guggulsterone, pantethine, soy protein and Sytrinol, and which may be best for you (links to our product reviews for many of these supplements are included)

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