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Benecol (plant sterols)

Plant sterols are cholesterol-like molecules found in all plant foods, with the highest concentrations occurring in vegetable oils. Plant sterols are plant equivalents of cholesterol and have a very similar molecular structure. According to their structure, they can be divided into sterols and stanols, with stanols being a saturated subgroup of sterols.

Benecol Soft Chews are developed in the ConCordix technology consisting of plant stanols. Plant stanols reduce both cholesterol and plant sterol levels in serum. Cholesterol is an essential component of cell membranes in humans, and the liver is able to produce cholesterol from fats delivered in the diet. However, many food products consist of low density lipoproteins (LDL) cholesterol. Eating too much LDL cholesterol increases the risk for cardiovascular diseases. Plant sterols interfere with the uptake of both dietary and biliary cholesterol from the intestinal tract in humans. In this way plant sterols help to reduce cholesterol levels and the risk for coronary heart disease.

The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has acknowledged the following beneficial effects as a basis for health claims:
• Plant sterols help to reduce blood cholesterol
• Plant sterols reduce the risk for coronary heart disease

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