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


  • 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.
  • Cautions:

    Beta-sitosterol appears to be generally well-tolerated even at doses commonly found in cholesterol-lowering supplements. Rarely, however, erectile dysfunction and loss of libido have been reported. For details about this and other potential side effects (as well as side effects of saw palmetto, which is often combined with beta-sitosterol in prostate supplements) see the Concerns and Cautions section of our Prostate Supplements Review.

    Sterols/stanols may also 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.)

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

View Larger Image 6417_small_Foresterol-CholesterolLowerers-Medium-2019.jpg

Designs For Health Foresterol

View Larger Image 6421_small_Policosanol-CholesterolLowerers-Medium-2019.jpg

GNC Policosanol

View Larger Image 6418_small_DailyHeartSupport-ModuChol-CholesterolLowerers-Medium-2019.jpg


View Larger Image 6419_small_NatureMade-CholestOff-CholesterolLowerers-Medium-2019.jpg

Nature Made CholestOff Plus

View Larger Image 6422_small_OlympianLabs-Policosanol-CholesterolLowerers-Medium-2019.jpg

Olympian Labs Policosanol

View Larger Image 6423_small_PipingRock-Policosanol-CholesterolLowerers-Medium-2019.jpg

Piping Rock Ultra Policosanol

View Larger Image 6420_small_CholestaCare-CholesterolLowerers-Medium-2019.jpg

ProCaps Laboratories CholestaCare

View Larger Image 6424_small_Solgar-Policosanol-CholesterolLowerers-Medium-2019.jpg

Solgar Policosanol 20 mg

View Larger Image 6425_small_TheVitaminShoppe-Policosanol-CholesterolLowerers-Medium-2019.jpg

The Vitamin Shoppe Policosanol

View Larger Image 6426_small_VibrantHealth-CholesterolLowerers-Medium-2019.jpg

Vibrant Health Cholesterol Blockers Version 2.3

You must be a member to get the full test results for plant sterol and policosanol supplements along with recommendations and quality ratings. You will get results for ten supplements: Eight selected by 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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Additional Information
Tested through CL's Quality Certification Program prior to, or after initial posting of this Product Review.