The Use of Sterols & Sterolins for Specific Conditions
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Sterols & Sterolins & Degenerative Diseases
By Peter R. Rothschild Copyright © 1999 Reprinted Here With Permission
Immunotolerance is a fundamental property of the immune system, that provides the potential for self/non-self discrimination, so that the immune system can protect the host from exogenous pathogens without reacting against itself. Because, when the immune system reacts against itself, it generates autoimmune diseases.
Until relatively recently, it was believed that the self/non-self discrimination was a simple matter of eradicating autoreactive cells in the thymus. However, at present we have already learned that the maintenance of the immunotolerance is quite a complex process. Autoreactive cells, such as the ones that interact with the brain for instance, are not eradicated, but can also be found in normal individuals. The reason for which these cells are activated causing diseases in some individuals, while in others the same type continue harmless constitutes one of the greatest puzzles in contemporary immunology. The way to control and to neutralize the autoimmune processes represents to this day one of the greatest challenges for clinical medicine. It is precisely to the topic of patho-histological dynamics of the herein referred to diseases, this essay is dedicated to, with the intention to suggest solutions to this paramount question.
The present study of these mechanisms, is precisely addressing possible solutions for this challenge. Until quite recently, an unending universal contusion existed concerning the paradoxical discoveries revealed by the scientists dedicated to the exploration of the mechanisms that govern the immune response. First of all, the researchers did not consider the circumstance that the thymus cells constitute part of the myelopoietic cell line, that originates in the bone marrow. These cells, white under development, bear surface markers, which identify each cell type. These markers undergo changes responding to the maturing of the cells. Thus, immature thymocytes bear CD1 markers. Some migrate to the thymus only during the advanced phases of the gestation. Others continue migrating - however, in an ever-diminishing volume - during the individual's entire life. Nevertheless, massive migration only takes place during the first 2 years of age, and between the 13th and 14th year of age That is, immediately after puberty. As they mature and emerge from the bone marrow, the thymocytes modify their CD-1 markers to lymphocytic CD-3. When a CD-2 cell is exposed to an antigen and induces an immune response, it turns into a CD-4 type - a lymphocyte assistant/inductor - and remains committed to that particular antigen, developing an appropriate CD-4 marker on its surface.
The lymphocytes known as NK (Natural Killers) are patrolling sentinels that locate and kill invading germs and viruses. These assassin cells ordinarily exist in great profusion. There are some 1,200 in each microliter of blood. To this date, 24 types of T-lymphocyte families have been identified. The differentiations can be distinguished by the second of two proteinic receptors, identified as Alfa and Beta chains that protrude in a 'N" form from their membranes. When a virus or a germ glides between the two arms of the V, the T-lymphocyte captures and destroys it. In this manner, the thus involved T-lymphocytes auto-replicate without delay, and its descendants already remain committed - virtually fine-tuned - to attack all identical viruses or other antigens, against which the original ones became sensitized. The immune system of each healthy human individual commands its own private legion of strong killer T-lymphocytes.
Other T-cells become suppressors - cytotoxins - that bear CD-8 markers (also known as T8). Once they are "tuned" to a specific type of antigen, the thus exposed to T-lymphocyte remains committed to that particular type for life, but only provided that the availability of appropriate endogenous thymus hormones should be not restricted.
Comparable mechanisms also govern the procreation of B-lymphocytes, which are virtual ambulatory micro-factories of antibodies similarly equipped to become precision-tuned against almost any type of antigen.
Having thus canvassed a few of the more important immune mechanisms, we shall now focus on the essential topic of this essay. Completely regardless of how improbable it may seem, light definitely does exist within our cells.
The Russian professor of medicine Alexander Gurwitch empirically proved this surprising fact in 1922. Toward the end of the '30s, the notable American neuroanatomist Harold Burr, working at Yale University, designed a series of quite convincing experiments that substantiated Gurwitch's remarkable findings toward the end of the 30s. Eventually, after several decades of boisterous controversies, a team of German biophysicists irrefutably corroborated the postulate in 1975, under the direction of the professor Fritz Popp, conforming to the strictest requirements of the scientific method. Since then, numerous scientists in several parts of the world unquestionably confirmed that living cells indeed emit perceptible light.
In general terms, it is understood that photon refers to a "quantum of light". We know that a quantum constitutes the minutest and totally indivisible component of the Universe. Popp, who placed the prefix bio in front of photons, with the intention of suggesting that living cells may emit these, coined the expression 'biophoton".
Currently, there remain no doubts about the existence of such intracellular luminescence. (Not to be confused with the bioluminescence, generated, for example by the glowworms). Contemporary technology has developed powerful instruments capable of intensifying and measuring extremely minute light quantities, known as residual light, which prove unquestionably the existence of the biophotons.
It was also established that that this biophysical force not only pulsates in intensity, but also in frequency. Which explains quite satisfactorily the dynamics of its inherent mechanisms of interactions, which unfold among the different organs.
The question that remained to be answered was why do our cells emit light? Popp discovered that the light emitted by cells is a highly coherent light, comparable to the minute rays of coherent light produced by the components of the most advanced technology of data processing and transfer.
Popp explains "our organism must replace nearly ten million cells each minute." It is obvious that the information required to achieve such a feat, can only be processed at the speed of light. Apparently, such an overwhelming signal traffic of data transference and processing within any living organism - be that human, animal, vegetal or of insects - is achieved through biophotons with high precision. These minutest coherent rays of light are responsible for the maintenance and operation of the network of information linking all living cells, and likewise allow the continuous, unobstructed and intelligent updating of data.
However, there are some additional implications concerning this discovery that are not less amazing. Strange as it may seem, every time we consume some natural and fresh food, or their carefully preserved components, we indeed also ingest light, that - in one way or another - trigger certain activities in our system. In other words, when we ingest fresh food, their individual components emit luminous signals that inescapably participate in the development and management of certain biochemical endogenous processes. That is, the greater the capacity of light storage is in our nourishment, the more powerful will be their beneficial influence on our cells.
Here it is important to note, that these same principles begin to act - in fact, even more powerfully - when we administer food supplements that contain naturopathic factors, that originate from biotechnological sources, such as virgin plant, particularly sprout extracts, or animal organs processed by special technical means, that permit to preserve their light-storing capacity, and their ability to induce coherent biological light in their intracellular environments. Ultimately, the chief biomodulating mechanisms of the genes - both in charge of synthesis and lysis - are themselves contingent on their potential to generate high-precision coherent precursor light signals, capable of transcribing expressions linked to the specific cells they are addressing.
The physicist Popp declared "The human organism is not only a carnivorous, or vegetarian being, but also a consumer of light. In fact, it behaves like a luminivorous creature." Some of the scientists dedicated to biophotonic research suggest that, similarly to the hypotheses postulated by Burr, the light emitted by our cells constitutes part of a complex force field that surrounds - virtually wraps - our entire body, and governs our life processes. It seems obvious that not light alone governs individual events concerning our body, but, in a collective fashion, also commands the entire living system. Such signals must necessarily move at the speed of light and, at arriving at their respective destinations, interact intelligently with the data processing potential of the addressed sector.
What concerns us in the present context is that the findings of these physicists also corroborate the Theory of Sheldrake about morphogenic fields. Which, seems to offer once again a satisfactory explanation about the casting dynamics of the biophotonic activities. It appears evident that the systematic scrutiny of cyto-luminic phenomena offers solutions to numerous hitherto poorly understood biological paradigms, which to this date bewilder not only physicists, but biochemists and physicians as well.
The biophotonic investigations radically modify numerous biological and medical concepts that until very recently were considered classics. A completely new understanding of the live cell - and with it, of course, of very Nature - emerges in the wake of this scrutiny, which reveals that Life itself is based on complex interactive systems of energies, which are intelligently propagated. Ultimately, it seems that we are all beings of light.
Curiously, numerous statements in the Old Testament, and also in some postulates of the old Brahmans in the ancient Tibet, as well as in the Tao traditions and in the Tantric heritage, are evidently based on events that are at present scientifically sustainable. Parting from the fact that the existence and behavior of biophotons reveal an underlying and live energetic infrastructure in our system, an extensive scientific spectrum of enigmas becomes resolved from the experiments of Kaznatchejev and Kirlian, and the unobstructed light traffic inside the cells, to the true purpose of the pineal gland and to the blueprint of the DNA molecule in its capacity of a light pump, proves beyond doubt that biophotons act as principal organizers of living matter. They convert the chaos into order. They enable live cells to communicate intelligently among themselves. and corroborate the concept of Holographic Anatomy.
The hitherto accumulated evidence seems to indicate that the prelude to all degenerative diseases originates in a congenital or acquired malfunction in the genes that hampers biophotons in generating appropriate frequencies and intensities. Thus, our research was designed to explore the biophotonic interactions, which develop among the encephalic mass, thalamus, hypothalamus, the limbic area and, of course, the neuroglial system. Simultaneously, a protocol was designed to explore the thymus and pineal glands, the bone marrow and the Peyer's patches under the same biophotonic aegis.
For example, to this date Science has identified and isolated a variety of different of the thymic hormones. The most important of these are thymulin, thymopoietin, and the thymosin-alpha. In addition, two partially purified composites - fraction 5 of the thymosin and the thymostimuliri (TP-1) - also contain lymphocytic and epithelial cell constituents. The depuration of the thymic extracts requires complex technical and costly equipment. Thus, the commercially available extracts, regardless of what their respective manufacturers' claim, always contain at least one of the three main thymic hormones and/or of their active variants. The shortest thymic fraction still capable of producing demonstrable activity is a pentapeptide (fraction 5) of a molecular weight of around 800 Dalton. In addition to the effects already mentioned, once systemically diffused, the highly purified (HP) thymic fractions modulate virtually regulate - the production of a molecule called FasL. Some of the guardian lymphocytes, particularly the type-T, synthesize a molecule known as Fas-Ligand (FasL) that antagonizes abnormal cells. When the FasL becomes amalgamated with Fas - which is a receptor on numerous cell surfaces - apoptosis occurs. That is, after completing their task, the T-lymphocytes mutually destroy themselves. They merge with the Fas receptors in order to prevent their attack on healthy cells, as it frequently occurs, for example, in the liver of alcoholics. The speed of such reactions would be totally impossible without the mediation of coherent bioluminic signals. On the other hand, in spite of their fantastic vitality - neoplasic (cancerous) cells - because their mitosis is characteristically premature, consequently their mitochondria are notoriously underdeveloped, thus cannot generate biophotonic activity that could interact with their host. Nevertheless, their potential is sufficient to create an anarchic system -- which, in fact, is the very expression of such vitality that permits them to purposefully take advantage of this self-limiting aspect of the immune system.
Galle &. Cols. working at the German Center for Cancer Research in Heidelberg, showed that cancerous human hepatocytes can indeed produce FasL. They do this with the evident purpose of destroying T-lymphocytes and, probably, also to create true "safe zones", where the tumor cells are able to proliferate unimpeded, free of the immune systems deterrence.
Taking advantage of the virtually instantaneous biophotonic potential for data processing in the immune environment also in these cases, the components of appropriate thymic factors are able to efficiently oppose the enormous vitality of the neoplasic cells, orchestrating a virtual blockade that effectively and persistently obstructs the synthesis of FasL molecules, destined against alerts broadcasted by T-lymphocytes. They represent precisely those mechanisms that permit the participation of the thymus in the maturing of T-lymphocyte precursors and in the development of the cell-mediated immunity, which has acquired a renewed importance upon discovering that the inmunocompetence of thymectomized animals in neonatal phases, became restored by means of thymic tissue implants in cell-proof chambers, thus facilitating the macromolecular traffic.
Specially designed studies revealed that inmunologically deficient female rats recovered their capacity to induce implant-versus-host reactions, after the injection of semipurified thymic extracts free of cellular ballast. Moreover, satisfactory remissions were also produced in several metabolic deficiencies induced by thymectomies, administering thymic extracts of diverse animal origin.
It was precisely under this aegis that it was corroborated that the immune response generally diminishes notably when mitotic inhibitors or other toxic compounds are administered that antagonize biophotonic dynamics.
Subsequent to these findings, a variety of plant-derived factors were discovered, which, once incorporated in the serum of both, animals and of humans, evidently participate in the regulation of several physiological, thymus-effective processes. These essential vegetal factors were identified as sterols and their glucosides, sterolins the preparations used by the Author & Cols. were manifold freeze-dried, sprout-derived compounds containing virgin sterols and sterolins. Therapeutic studies, administering such sprout extracts, proved to be effective in treating of a growing variety of thymus-contingent immune pathologies.
It appears that the administration of virgin sterols and sterolins enhances the endogenous synthesis of thymic factors and of purified glycoproteinic substances - such as thymosin, and of pineal tissue - and provides the effective prerequisites to generate a very satisfactory modulation of the biophotonic signal potential, producing confirmed healing effects in numerous pathologic mechanisms of the cellular trophism and metabolism, particularly in degenerative diseases, in general immune disorders, in some types of primary cancer, and in numerous geriatric disorders, and very especially in reversing the course of immunosenescene.
NOTE: The clinical study is still ongoing and anticipated to be concluded and evaluated by mid-2000. The mean dosage of virgin sprout extracts containing sterols and sterolins is ranging from daily 1 to 3 grams administered orally in form of 350 mg capsules. Pertinent report of the clinical study should be available by mid-2000. A new trial targeting malaria with the same sprout extracts should begin in some Far Eastern countries in early 2000.
Ingesting Sterols/Sitosterolins from Plant Fats Induce Potent Human Immunomodulatory Improvements
From The Townsend Letter for Doctors & Patients, #197, December 1999
Article Copyright © 1999 by Dr. Morton Walker, reprinted here with permission
Sterols & Sitosterolins Research
Located in Menlo Park, California, naturopathic physician Chris Morris, N.D., is clinic director of the treatment facility known as Transformational Health. Here he makes use of a certain phytonutrient lipid complex for inducing potent and positive immunomodulatory improvements in his patients. With these particular plant fats, Dr. Morris furnishes concentrated amounts of sterols and sitosterolins which are powerful factors in the immunological fight against human and animal diseases. Research studies have shown them to provide important protective and therapeutic physiological effects for helping to maintain a healthy immune system.
"I employ the sterols and sitosterolins to support my patients' endocrine systems. Such plant fats are especially useful for treating autoimmune diseases, which cause metabolic breakdowns. In this regard, sterols/sitosterolins definitely are remedial for autoimmune diseases," affirms Dr. Morris.
Autoimmune Diseases Responding to Sterols and Sitosterolins
"Probably the autoimmune condition responding most dramatically and consistently to my giving treatment with sterols and sitosterolins is systemic lupus erythematosis, Dr. Morris says. "For example, a forty-four-year-old, married, prediabetic female patient of mine, a formerly highly placed executive working in social services had been diagnosed with lupus erythematosis five years before. She also suffered severely from chronic fatigue syndrome, which forced her to discontinue working and file for disabled worker's compensation. This woman came to me while she was being prescribed eight different medications by three attending or consulting physicians. They had been using these drugs to treat her many complications associated with the lupus condition. The executive's complications involved almost daily bouts of migraine headaches, fibromyalgia, depression, and more.
"From my prescribing the sterols and sitosterolins, in thirty days this disabled social worker and incapacitated mother was able to discontinue using seven of her eight medications. Within just three weeks of her taking the phytosterols she had noticed improvements, but it took another two months before she was able to take back her life and be considered fully recovered. She has now gone off workman's disability and returned to work," Dr. Morris says. "Currently, my lupus patient is fine. Her energy is returned, muscles have stopped aching, and the cell sensitivity has disappeared. Her previously severe immune response to mosquito bites no longer is troublesome either. Even her butterfly rash from the lupus has lightened. I should mention that fibromyalgia as an autoimmune disease also responds well to the plant sterols/sitosterolins, and that's why my patient's muscle and joint pain stopped."
The clinical experience of Dr. Morris has been verified by studies recorded in the medical literature 1 and by public announcement. For example, Patrick J.D. Bouic, Ph.D., professor of immunology and chief special scientist in the Department of Medical Microbiology at the University of Stellenbosch, Cape Town, South Africa, has demonstrated that plant sterols and sitosterolins are potent immune modulators capable of reversing abnormalities of the immune system.
On October 7, 1997, Dr. Bouic's university's press office announced: "The University of Stellenbosch Medical Faculty led by Professor Bouic in the Department of Medical Microbiology, and his colleagues in other departments, have conducted ten years of clinical trials in immune modulation, tuberculosis [TB], and HIV disease. By employing plant fats, patients affected by various autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis, systemic lupus erythematosus, certain cancers, and other manifestations of dysfunctional immune systems have experienced dissipation of their health problems. TB patients have recovered from their illnesses more quickly. And infected HIV patients maintain their immune cells over extended periods with no overt signs of illness progression.
"I recognize that these sterols/sitosterolins are taking on functions just like those occurring from one's ingestion of the soybean isoflavones in which cellular receptors of hormone-related cancers become blocked. While I avoid treating any manifestation of immune disease such as cancer, I am helping my patients to prevent malignancy conditions by use of the phytosterols," says Dr. Morris. "Thus, if there is any family predisposition to cancer or any other degenerative disease for a patient, supplementation with sterols/sitosterolins would be beneficial as a means of prevention. But I'm not using the phytosterols just as protectors against some illness like cancer; instead, I apply them generally as a source of patient vitality.
"Another message I would want to leave with your readers is that all of us in the health professions recognize how many medical doctors are moving toward using hormone replacement therapy. Instead of proceeding in this manner, the first place all of us should look for hormonal treatment is the plant sterols. By their application, we do not interfere with any feedback loops in the female body as does occur with giving hormone supplementation. The sterols/sitosterolins allow the human body to manufacture its own building blocks," states Dr. Morris.
Phytosterols for Immune Suppression in Long Distance Runners
"The sterols/sitosterolins offer a lot of pain reduction," Dr. Chris Morris adds. "After undergoing heavy workouts, athletes are known to use them for much faster muscle recovery time, less lactic acid buildup, diminished pain, and consistent comfort at the end of their exercise periods. The phytosterols provide marvelous biomarkers for all athletes such as long distance runners.
"Also, this combination of phytosterols works well in cases of stress as, for instance, the type of stress occurring in the bodies of strenuously competing athletes. Ingested before a ball game or another competitive athletic event, phytosterols compensate for the exerting body’s catabolic breakdown," Dr. Morris advises. "My finding is that they act as catalysts for the athlete’s body to manufacture its required hormones more efficiently. Lean body mass is created with overall tissue integrity improvement and a reduction of body fat. Ingesting plant fats seems to simulate the amino acid precursors (secretagogues) to human growth hormone (hGH) that you have written about, Dr. Walker. These secretagogues would include alanine, arginine, glutamic acid, glycine, lysine, and the many others [see the July 1999 Townsend Letter for Doctors & Patients].2
In their excellent 1999 book, The Immune System Cure, co-authors Lorna R. Vanderhaeghe and Patrick J.D. Bouic, Ph.D., state: "High-intensity exercise for extended periods causes immune suppression... The type of immune suppression that occurs after a marathon race may be attributed to the lack of regulatory factors being released by helper T-cells, especially the powerful antiviral agent gamma—interferon." 3
The sterols/sitosterolins, as indicated by the brandnamed product, Natur-Leaf ®, are shown to inhibit the radical physiological changes seen in the blood of marathoners by decreasing the inflammation and muscle pain associated with their excessive exercising.
In a placebo-controlled, double-blind clinical trial he conducted out of the immunology department at his university, Dr. Bouic confirmed the observations made by Dr. Chris Morris. He showed that a group of long distance runners displayed a significant reduction in their blood levels of interleukin-6 compared to the inactive placebo group of runners. lnterleukin-6 usually promotes inflammation with consequent tissue damage as a result of disproportionate physical stress. It also increases the release of cortisol, a steroid hormone made in the liver that is released during stress and which brings on immune suppression. By moving forward with his double-blind study, Dr. Bouic proved that long distance runners are subjected to much less immune suppression when they ingest the plant sterols and sitosterolins.4,5,6
What Are these Plant Sterols/Sitosterolins Anyway?
The same lipid intracellular materials in animals that scientists had long ago recognized as sterols (cholesterol being the best known) are present in plants as well. Indeed, plants possess fat substances that were identified only about sixty-seven years ago as sitosterols. While cholesterol is the main animal sterol, beta-sitosterol is the principal phytosterol (plant fat) found in vegetables and other higher plants. It makes up the chief ingredient in nearly all plant-derived food products. We eat large amounts of the lipids coming from plants daily, but the individual sitosterols do not permeate our blood serum and tissues in as large amounts as does cholesterol. A sitosterol’s concentration is 800 to 1000 times less than human endogenous cholesterol. Sitosterolin is the glucoside of sitosterol and is present in mammalian blood serum at even lower concentrations.7
After being identified in 1922, some decades later the National Cancer Institute (NCI) shot down further research on the sitosterols by declaring them not to be any kind of viable treatment for cancer. However, the NCI finding was flawed because the sitosterolin molecule is absorbed much better than a sitosterol alone. Karl H. Pegel, Ph.D., Professor in the Department of Chemistry and Applied Chemistry, University of Natal, Durban, South Africa, discovered that each sitosterol and its glucoside (sitosterolin) must be kept together molecularly in as close juxtaposition as possible to each other when using the plant fats therapeutically. This close juxtaposition is the way nature intended to have them synergistically react to create their full immune—enhancing response.8,9
Combined, the effects of sitosterols and sitosterolins on the human system offer much physiological benefit and no toxicity whatsoever. They have been shown to consist of a proportionately heavy molecular structure when joined, weighing 400 daltons (DAL). The sitosterol molecule looks like the cholesterol molecule. The two are analogues, but sitosterol has two extra carbon electrons on its side chain (see my interview with David Kritchevsky, Ph.D., below).
In vivo, sitosterols/sitosterolins have been extensively tested in animal studies as well as on over 25,000 patients in clinical trials with no adverse drug events occurring. They are relatively inexpensive and can be used in conjunction with conventional therapies. Additionally, Professor Bouic reports that by taking these phytosterols, the side effects of chemotherapy and radiation therapy for cancer patients may be prevented or greatly reduced.10
Sources in Nature of the Sitosterols/Sitosterolins
As just one combined group of the many phytochemicals furnished in nature, seeds and sprouts are the richest sources of sitosterols/sitosterolins. Owing to food processing, however, humans don’t often consume sufficient quantities of these plant fats as part of their food intake. The many different refining processes applied in the food industry render such plant edibles useless for phytosterols because processors remove the sterols and sitosterolins to make their products more appealing to the eye. For example, the precipitation of fats in extracted oils from seeds—especially beta-sitosterol, the main plant lipid—is removed to give a clearness to the oil for furnishing the consumer with illusions of purity. If food oil manufacturers allowed lipid precipitates to remain in sunflower seed oil, sesame seed oil, or the other seed oils, there would be no lack of consumption of phytosterols.
The way food is prepared is a problem too. Freezing releases the plants’ enzymes, which destroy their phytosterol glucosides. Thus, sitosterolins, the more beneficial portions of plant fats become dissipated. Boiling vegetables cause plant fats to precipitate into the cooking water too, and then such nutrient-laden water gets thrown away so that phytosterols are lost.
But the awareness of nutrition scientists is changing for the better. It is the combination of sterols and sitosterolins, which in large measure have stimulated their research in recent years into the healing and protective effects of plant foods. Olive oil, for example, when incorporated into the diet tends to reduce the risk of developing cardiovascular disease and certain cancers. It’s the phytosterols in olive oil which provides such health benefits, and that's merely one illustration out of a possible thousand.
In the natural state, all phytosterols are bound to the fibers of the plant from which they originate, and the sterols become difficult to separate from such fibers. An effective way to ingest sitosterols/sitosterolins, therefore, is to eat quantities of the foods I have selected for listing in Table A. Please realize, however, that almost all plant foods contain the sitosterols and sitosterolins. The listed edible plants that follow are merely examples.
PHYTOSTEROL CONTENT OF SELECTED FOODS 11
Nuts & Seeds
mg per 100 Grams of edible portion
mg per 100 Grams of edible portion
mg per 100 Grams of edible portion
mg per 100 Grams of edible portion
Beans & Legumes
mg per 100 Grams of edible portion
mg per 100 Grams of edible portion
Dr. Atif Awad Uncovers Cancer Inhibition by Plant-Based Fats
Atif Awad, Ph.D., Associate Professor in the Department of Physical Therapy, Exercise and Nutrition Sciences in the School of Health Related Professions, State University of New York at Buffalo, and his colleagues participated in two significant in vitro studies on plant-based sterols. Dr. Awad, who is director of the University of Buffalo’s Nutrition Program, uncovered that a main player among the innumerable plant fats, beta-sitosterol, abundant in the diets of vegetarians, inhibits the growth of prostate cancer, breast cancer, and colon cancer. This is the likely reason that Seventh Day Adventists, who are strict vegetarians, exhibit a much lower incidence of these three cancers than any other population group living in the United States.
One of Dr. Awad’s two studies, presented during the April 1999 annual meeting of the Federation of American Societies of Experimental Biology, turned up that 13-sitosterol dramatically reduces numbers of breast-cancer cells grown in a laboratory setting by 66 percent, compared to controls.12
A second study undertaken by the Awad research team revealed that this same B-sitosterol also enhances the workings of an intracellular signaling system, which tells cells not to divide, even with the presence of those certain cells predisposed to mutating into prostate cancer. ‘This phytosterol replaces some of the cell membrane’s cholesterol, which changes the membrane lipid composition in such a way that signal transduction (secondary messenger activity) is stimulated. And that activation inhibits cell growth," Dr. Awad explains.13
On August 18,1999, I did interview Atif Awad, Ph.D. at the University of Buffalo. Sitting in his office he affirms, "The effect of 13-sitosterol apparently varies with the type of tissue. If cell proliferation can be stopped before it becomes uncontrolled, cancer can be contained. When we treated prostate cancer cells with phytosterols, cell proliferation was inhibited. We have found the same effect in vitro with breast cancer and colon cancer cells."
The work of Dr. Awad and colleagues is grounded in epidemiological studies showing that prostate cancer is less common in Asian countries where diets are primarily vegetarian. Among these people massive amounts of plant fats are consumed. However, the rates of colon cancer, prostate cancer and breast cancer increase markedly for them when same type of Asians migrate to western societies where diets are primarily animal-based.
I learned that the Awad-led University of Buffalo researchers not only performed in vitro laboratory testing but also they did investigations in vivo—on rats. The rat experiments were vital, because after five days of trials on the laboratory animals, results showed there were 28 percent fewer cancer cells from 13-sitosterol treatment, compared to tissue cultures supplemented with animal cholesterol. cycle, thus increasing its inhibitory action on prostate cancer, breast cancer, and colon cancer.
"The phytosterols are nontoxic chemicals. Eating quantities of these plant fats lowers human blood cholesterol, an effect accomplished by inhibiting the absorption of cholesterol from the gut," says Dr. Atif Awad. "This is nearly the same mechanism by which hypercholesterolemic drugs such as Lovestatin work to produce an anticholesterolemic effect."
And this statement about the anticholesterol effect of phytosterols from Dr. Awad brings us to the work of David Kritchevsky, Ph.D., Professor of Nutrition Science at the Wistar Institute in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
How B-Sitosterol Fools the Gut and Lowers Blood Cholesterol
Inasmuch as sitosterol has only two extra carbon electrons on its side chain, making it an analogue of cholesterol, it fools the human gastrointestinal system and inhibits the absorption of cholesterol. Sitosterol/sitosterolin takes cholesterol’s place molecularly in the micelles [colloid particles] and then they do not cross the gut’s mucosal barrier to the blood stream," says Dr. Kritchevsky. ‘The phytosterol blocks any gut absorption of cholesterol. Metaphorically, the situation is like a lock with changed tumblers. The key may be inserted into the lock with no problem, but you can’t turn it."
Numbers of researchers have reported that sitosterol is absorbed less efficiently on the order of only one-tenth that of cholesterol when given at the oral dose of between 3 and 30 grams.14 The normal daily dietary supply of plant sterols at 200 to 240 mg containing 130 to 160 mg of sitosterol even has an effect on reducing cholesterol serum levels.15,16 For this reason, sitosterol is used in some countries for the treatment of mild cases of hypercholesterolemia.17,18,19 No serious side effects occur with even from very high doses of sitosterol other than occasional mild constipation or diarrhea.
"In 1957, Eli Lilly introduced B-sitosterol as a cholesterol-lowering pharmaceutical agent called Cytellin. It was manufactured as B-sitosterol suspension in a red strawberry-flavored syrup. But Cytellin was not successful as a marketed drug for reducing cholesterol in the United States. On the other hand, B-sitosterol sells well in Finland in the form of margarines substituting for butter," Dr. Kritchevsky says. ""Researchers from the University of Helsinki had conducted a yearlong clinical trial involving 153 volunteers with mildly elevated cholesterol. Sure enough, the Finns’ total cholesterol dropped by an average of 10.2 percent in the group consuming the plant sterol spread.20
"Now the margarine product is marketed under two labels, ‘Benecol’ and ‘Take Control’. Although the two branded margarines interfere with absorption of cholesterol from food, that represents a relatively small proportion of the cholesterol that ends up in the blood. Most cholesterol is produced by the liver, which may pump out too much because of excessive saturated fat in the diet or too little exercise," adds Dr. Kritchevsky. "But realize that B-sitosterol is not a spreadable fat; rather, it’s a crystalline chemical that must be mixed into the margarine. A main problem is that B-sitosterol is hardly soluble."
Regarding the two margarines referred to by Dr. Kritchevsky, a columnist for the Townsend Letter for Doctors & Patients, Joseph M. Mercola, D.O. of Schaumburg, Illinois, writes about Take Control in particular. Dr. Mercola says: "Never forget, margarine is liquid plastic. Your brain is 50 percent fat. Do you want liquid plastic incorporated into your brain?21
Preferable to eating plastic margarine with the potential for producing Alzheimer’s disease, cancer, and other illnesses coming from free radicals formed by the butter substitute, probably it’s preferable to utilize a nutritional food supplement. Such a supplement is the newly encapsulated commercial product, Natur-Leaf ®, which contains elevated amounts of sterols/sterolins and enzymes (described below).
Dr. David Kritchevsky continued our discussion. "Back in 1981, co-authored with O.J. Pollack, I wrote, Sitosterol, the first-and-only-book published on the subject of plant sterols, issued by the Karger Company, a publishing house based in Basil, Switzerland," Dr. Kritchevsky says. ‘The book is now out of print. In 1956, my co-author was the first person to feed the sitosterols/sitosterolins to humans for lowering serum cholesterol. He went on to write a definitive clinical journal article on his group’s experiences. It was published in 1957 in the peer reviewed publication, Circulation."
B-Sitosterol/B-Sitosterolin Is Effective for Tuberculosis
To evaluate the adjuvant treatment efficacy of B-sitosterol together with its necessary glucoside, B-sitosterolin, for culture-proven, sputum-smear-positive pulmonary tuberculosis, medical scientists in the Department of Pediatrics and Child Health, University of Stellenbosch, Tygerberg, South Africa conducted a double-blinded, randomized, placebo-controlled trial for six months. Results of this study follow:
Receiving the white powdered phytosterols as real therapy was a group of nineteen tubercular sputum positive patients. Alternatively, receiving a talcum powder placebo was a second group of eighteen infected patients. Recorded monthly were findings about the two groups’ sputum culture positivity, chest radiology findings, weight gain, Mantoux test response, routine hematology, and liver functions. When the study’s double-blind code was broken by the medical researchers the results turned out as might be expected:
Weight gain was significantly greater in the patients receiving sitosterols than in those receiving the placebo.
The change in lymphocyte counts and eosinophil counts from baseline values was higher in the sitosterol group.
The Mantoux test responses were the same; speed of achieving no activity in cultures were the same; radiological improvements were similar in the two groups.22
Sterols/Sterolins for Controlling Rheumatoid Arthritis
Publishing in the Townsend Letter for Doctors & Patients, Professor Patrick J.D. Bouic tells us that sterols/sterolins are effective for the control of rheumatoid arthritis. ‘They do this by reversing the immune abnormality at the site of the disease and by preventing damage caused by inflammation. They target the abnormality and correct its immune dysfunction," he writes.23
In agreement with Dr. Bouic, Professor Karl Pegel said in an interview, "I would simply advise any person with arthritis to supplement their diet with sitosterolins."
A basic research study using laboratory animals (rats) was performed to determine whether sterols had any therapeutic properties such as reducing inflammation for rheumatoid arthritis. It was demonstrated that sterols do possess potent anti-inflammatory properties similar to cortisone. The study showed that sterols reduce experimentally produced edema too, but there were no forms of pain reduction or analgesic properties.24
Phytosterols Are Therapeutic for Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia
Medical treatments and herbal remedies (which are even more effective than drugs) have become available for benign hypertrophy of the prostate. Some of these include alpha-receptor blocking agents and 5-alpha-reductase inhibitors. The herbal agents, for which almost no precise mechanism of action has been described, are widely used for benign prostatic hypertrophy (BPH) in Europe, especially in the Balkan countries, Switzerland, Germany, and Austria. Now we hear from South Africa about the success with BPH treatment using phytosterols by the medical staff members of the University of Stellenbosch and the privately administered Tygerberg Hospital.
In a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled multi-centered study, 200 patients were recruited between April and October 1993 for treatment of their symptomatic BPH. They were divided into two groups and administered either 20 mg of B-sitosterol (which also contained a mixture of other phytosterols) or a placebo. The men with BPH were to take their remedies three times a day. The primary end-point for this study was a difference of modified Boyarsky score between treatment groups after six months; secondary end-points were changes in the International Prostate Symptom Score (IPSS), urine flow, and prostate volume.
Pertaining to the study results, the following findings were recorded and published in the medical literature:
In another randomized placebo-controlled study conducted by a German BPH-phytosterol study group involving 177 men with enlarged prostate glands, the study was designed to assess the safety and efficacy of beta-sitosterol in treating this condition. Over the six-month duration of treatment, individuals received 130 mg of B-sitosterol daily.
Parameters used to monitor the effectiveness of this treatment included post-void residual urinary flow rate (PVR), peak urinary flow rate (Qmax), and qualitative determinators provided by the IPSS, plus changes for these men in the quality of their life index value.
Statistically significant results over the placebo control group were noted and the following information has been published:
Immunomodulation by Plant Sterols/Sterolins in HIV/AIDS
Professor Pegel, who may be considered the foremost authority in the world on sterols/sterolins, addresses the concept of immunomodulation. In an interview, Dr. Pegel said: "In order to prevent cancer formation, sitosterol and its sterolin are actually essential... because they stimulate the immune system. They will improve the quality of life of a cancer patient. There is evidence that sterols counter the ill effects of radiation therapy. They also reduce the ill effects of chemotherapy. So, simply put, these substances are very important as an excellent treatment for people who undergo cancer treatment. They make their life more bearable."
In a review article by Dr. P.J.D. Bouic from the Department of Medical Microbiology, University of Stellenbosch, he discusses both animal and human experiments performed in South Africa on the disease progression of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). The main thrust of Dr. Bouic’s report reads as follows: "plant sterols/sterolins have immunomodulatory activities and can be used as adjuvants in the management of HIV-infected patients, especially in those who do not have easy access to registered antivirals."
Two pilot studies were done on cats infected with retrovirus FIV, which is considered the equivalent to HIV. In both studies the cats receiving the sterols/sterolins mixture maintained stable CD4 lymphocyte counts and suffered no deaths due to FIV even after three years had passed. These positive results prompted the research group to conduct an open trial of 80 HIV patients over a three-year period, with clinical monitoring every three months.
The results for CD4 lymphocyte counts in these AIDS patients remained stable over 27 months with no significant declines, similar to the results of the cat study. Moreover, the CD4 lymphocytes in typical HIV populations actually declined slightly. The pro-inflammatory lymphokine, interleukin-6 has been implicated in the induction of HIV replication in infected cells. Thus, this study has shown a significant decrease in interleukin-6 levels in the sterols/sterolins-treated group leading to a decrease in viral load levels.
Although the sterols/sterolins have no antiviral activity, this immunomodulatory activity on interleukin-6 levels leads indirectly to lower viral load levels. Please note that this study which took place in September 1997 is strictly preliminary, but it suggests an important role of plant sterols/sterolins in the multistage treatment of HIV.27
Professor Karl Pegel confirms Dr. Bouic’s investigative findings. Dr. Pegel states: "There is not any evidence that sterols would actually cure HIV infection, but the patient seems to be able to cope with it and not develop from HIV infection to full-blown AIDS. They seem to stop the progress of the disease."
Sterols/Sitosterolins in Capsule Form
Dietary sterols are absorbed by all animals. Most of those laboratory and domestic animals investigated (the dog, pig, mouse, rat, and sheep) contain about 10 to 20 times more plant sitosterol in their blood serum and tissues than do humans.28,29,30,31,32,33 In humans, in fact, the absorption of cholesterol is approximately 50 percent of food intake while that of sitosterol from plants is about 5 percent.34,35 A small percentage of people are hyperabsorbers of plant sterols (called phytosterolemics), with five to ten times the normal amount of sitosterols in their blood.
On average, from 5 to 40 mg of plant sterols are contained in 100 grams of fresh vegetables of all types. And, since vegetables contain about 80 percent water, this sterol average can increase to 100 mg per gram of dried vegetable product. Fresh fruit contains from 2 to 30 mg of plant sterols per 100 grams of any fruit type. All seeds are rich in plant sterols when mature, ranging from 22 to 714 mg per 100 grams. But their sterol content may reduce markedly and become less valuable as food if the seeds are ingested in an immature state.36,37
The seed sterol content of mature seeds just beginning to sprout are even higher, rising to no less than 120 mg per 100 G of all sprout types. Eating sprouted seeds offers the most quantitative and qualitative phytosterols; otherwise, at each meal an individual would need to eat between 500 and 700 grams (24.7 ounces) of fresh vegetables and fruit, about 200 grams (7 oz) of whole grain flour products without additives, or about 250 grams (8.82 oz) of potatoes.
The sterols and their B-D-glucosides (also known as sterolins, as I had mentioned) and their characteristic 6’-O-esters now are available in capsule form throughout North America. Each capsule contains 300-mg sterols/sterolins blend plus 50 mg of enzymes.
The manufacturer of these capsules, Lifeline, Inc. of Albuquerque, New Mexico, has created the brandnamed Natur-Leaf ® Enzyme-Enhanced Sterols/Sitosterolins. All phytosterols in this Natur-Leaf ® product come from prime sprout ingredients, which include:
These phytosterols have a bioavailability of 80 percent to 90 percent guaranteed by Natal University. They may be used to replace those overly large amounts of vegetables, fruits, flour products, and potatoes cited above. It’s no longer required that the phytosterols with their individual sterols, sterolins, and esters be eaten in bulk.
Obtained from the highest nutritional sources, the seeds, which furnish the optimal sterol-to-glucoside ratio, are sprouted. But the sprouts are not allowed to grow in order to avoid their changing into molecules of sugar. Then these newly emerging sprouts go through a freeze-drying stabilization process for preserving the sterols and glucosides in their most natural form. They are never altered owing to extraction methods such as heat or chemicals. Professor Pegel advises us, "The optimum ratio of glucosides to sterols would be about 1:10 or better.’ While other products posses a ratio of 1:100, Natur-Leaf ® offers an ideal 1:6 ratio of glucosides to sterols in every capsule.
In conclusion, a product such as Natur-Leaf ® contains plant fats, which could almost be classified as "vitamins." Clearly they are essential nutrients. Dr. Pegel points out, that "there are a lot of seemingly healthy people who actually are rather sick. While sterols and sterolins are not the answers to all ills, they certainly may be classified in the same category with vitamins C and E or magnesium. Sterols/sterolins are really among the essential ingredients to keep the [human] machinery working. You should go back to the RDA in America and decide that they need to be added to your country’s list of recommended daily allowances."
1. Bouic, P.J.D., "Press release." University of Stellenbosch, Cape Town, South Africa, E-mail: email@example.com, 7 October 1997.
2. Walker, M. "Ingesting hGH Secretagogues to be Young AgainTM." Townsend Letter for Doctors & Patients 192:70-74, July 1992.
3. Vanderhaeghe, L.R. and Bouic, P.J.D. The Immune System Cure: Optimize Your Immune System in 30 Days—The Natural Way! (New York City: Kensington Books, 1999), p. 205.
4. Ibid., p. 206.
5. Bouic, P.J.D., et al. "Beta-sitosterol and beta-sitosterol glucoside stimulate human peripheral blood lymphocyte proliferation: Implications for their use as an immunomodulatory vitamin combination." International Journal of Immunopharmacology 18:693-700, 1996.
6. Hoffman-Goetz, L. and Pedersen, B.K. "Exercise and the immune system: A model of the stress response." Immunology Today 15:382-387, 1994.
7. Pegel, K.H. "The importance of sitosterol and sitosterolin in human and animal nutrition." South African Journal of Science 93:263-268, June 1997.
8. Op. cit., Vanderhaeghe, L.R. & Bouic, P.J.D., p. 7.
9. Op. cit., Pegel, K.H., 1997.
10. Op. cit., Bouic, P.J.D., "Press release." University of Stellenbosch.
11. Op. cit., Vanderhaeghe, L.R. & Bouic, P.J.D., pp. 48-50.
12. Awad, A. Press release: "Plant-based fat inhibits growth of breast-cancer cell line, UB researchers show." University of Buffalo, April 29,1999.
13. Awad, A. Press release: "Plant-based fat inhibits cancer-cell growth by enhancing cell’s signaling system, UB researchers show." University of Buffalo, April 29,1999.
14. Bjorkhem, I. and Boberg, K.M. "Inborn errors in bile and biosynthesis and storage of sterols other than cholesterol." In The Metabolic and Molecular Bases of Inherited Disease Vol. 2, 7th Edition, Eds. C/P. Scriver; A.L. Beauce; W.S. Sly; D. Valle. (London: McGraw-Hill, 1995), pp. 2073-2099.
15. Miettinen, T.A. "Regulation of serum cholesterol by cholesterol absorption." Agents Actions 25:53-65, 1988.
16. Heinemann, T.; Axtmann, G.; von Bergmann, K. "Comparison of intestinal absorption of cholesterol with different plant sterols in man." European Journal of Clinical Investigation 23:827-831, 1993.
17. Pollack, O.J. "Effect of plant sterols on serum lipids and atherosclerosis. Pharmaceutical Therapeutics 31:177-208, 1985.
18. Lang, W.H. and Jones, P.J.H. "Dietary phytosterols: A review of metabolism benefits and side effects." Life Sciences 57:195-206, 1995.
19. Leib, 0. and von Bergmann, K. "Diatetische und medikamentose Behandlung der Hyperlipoproleinamien." Akt. Neurol. 11:129-133, 1984.
20. Hiser, E. "New spreads help lower cholesterol." Albuquerque Journal, pp. Cl & C2, August 18,1999.
21. Mercola, J.M. "Current health news you can use: FDA clears a medicinal margarine." Townsend Letter for Doctors & Patients 1993/194:166-168, August/September 1999.
22. Donald, P.R.; Lamprecht, J.H.; Freestone, M.; Albrecht, C.F.; Bouic, P.J.D.; Kotze, D.; van Jaarsveld, P.P. "A randomized placebo-controlled trial of the efficacy of beta-sitosterol and its glucoside as adjuvants in the treatment of pulmonary tuberculosis." International Journal of Tuberculosis and Lung Disease 1 (5):51 8-522, July 1997.
23. Bouic, P.J.D. "Sterols/sterolins, natural, nontoxic immunomodulators and their role in the control of rheumatoid arthritis." Townsend Letter for Doctors & Patients 193/194:51-52, Aug/Sept. 1999.
24. Gupta, M.B.; Nath, R.; Srivastava, N.; Shanker, K.; Kishor, K.; Bhargava, K.P. "Anti-inflammatory and antipyretic activities of B-sitersterol." Planta medica (Journal of Medicinal Plant Research) 39:157-163, 1980.
25. Berges, P.R., et al. "Randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind clinical trial of f3-sitosterol in patients with benign prostatic hyperplasia." Lancet 345(8964), June 1995.
26. Klippel, K.F.; Hitti, D.M.; Schipp, B. "A mulicentric, placebo-controlled, double-blind clinical trial of beta-sitosterol (phytosterol) for the treatment of benign prostatic hyperplasia." British Journal of Urology 80(3):427-432, Sept. 1997.
27. Bouic, P.J.D. "lmmunomodulation in HIV/AIDS: The TygerbergStellenbosch University experience." AIDS Bulletin published by the Medical Research Council of South Africa 6(3):18-20, Sept. 1997.
28. Kuksis, A.; Marais, L.; Myner, J.J.; Geher, K. "Identification of plant sterols in plasma and red blood cells of man and experimental animals." Lipids 11:581-585, 1976.
29. D’Hollander, F. and Chevalier, F. "Qualitative and quantitative estimation of free and essential sterols in whole rat and in 23 of its tissues and organs." Biochemistry and Biophysics Acta 176:146-162, 1969.
30. Strandberg, T.E.; Tilvis, R.S.; Miettinen, T.A. "Effects of cholestyramine and squalene on hepatic and serum plant sterols in the rat." Lipids 24:705-708,1989.
31. Sugano, M.; Morioka, H.; Kida, Y.; lkeda, l."The distribution of plant sterols in serum lipoproteins and liver subcellular fractions of rats."Lipids 13:427-432,1978.
32. Agaater, I.B. and Llewellyn, J.W. "Determination of f3-sitosterol in meats, soya and other protein products." Food Chemistry 8:41-49, 1982.
33. Morton, G.M.; Lee, S.M.; Buss, D.H.; Lawrence, P. "Intakes and major dietary sources of cholesterol and phytosterols in the British diet." Journal of Human Nutrition and Dietetics 8:429-440,1995.
34. Op. cit., Bjorkhem, I. And Boberg, K.M.
35. Salen, G.; Ahrens, E.H.; Grundy, S.M. "Metabolism of B-sitosterol in man." Journal of Clinical Investigation 49:952-967, 1970.
36. Weihrauch, J.L. and Gardner, J.M. "Sterol content of foods of plant origin." Journal of the American Dietetic Association 73:39-47,1978.
The Use of Sterols and Sterolins for AIDS Sufferers
Please also see the article "AIDS THE SELENO-ENZYME SOLUTION"
An immunoendocrinological hypothesis of HIV infection
Author M. Clerici, M. Bevilacqua, T Vago, M. L. Villa, G.M. Shearer & G. Norbiato
Source: Lancet, v. 343, pp. 1552-1553, June 18 1994
This paper advances the hypothesis that the progression of AIDS and the deregulation of the immune system, may be due to the immunosuppressive effects of increased cortisol levels and a decrease of DHEA levels, resulting in an increased cortisol/DHEA ratio. Patients with AIDS have been observed to have a shift from type 1 to type 2 production of the immune mediators called cytokines. A reduction of Th1 Iymphocytes results in the progressive reduction of interleukin-2, interleukin-12, and gamms interferon which are cytokines controlling cell-mediated immunity.
Cell-mediated immunity is responsible for the control of pathogens such as viruses. At the same time Th2 Iymphocytes, which stimulate humoral immunity through the secretion of the cytokines interleukin-4, interleukin-6 and interlaukin-10, are increased in AIDS patients. Normally, these two cytokine subsets promote their own secretion and suppress the other cell line, resulting in a homeostasis between these two cell lines of the Iymphocytes. In AIDS patients, there is a shift to type-1 suppression and type-2 dominance, thus destroying the equilibrium of the immune system. It is postulated that the Th2 cell lines are B-cells which are naturally more resistant to HIV infection. The decline of the Iymphocytes results in the devastating loss of the cell-mediated immune response, resulting in an uncontrollable increase of HIV-infected cells.
It is thought that the increase in the cortisol/DHEA ratio selectively suppresses the production of type-1 cytokines and favours the production of type-2 cytokines. This results in the unfortunate crippling of the immune system and a decrease in cell-mediated immunity due to increased apoptosis of both CD4 and CD8 cells. A therapeutic strategy is suggested that by controlling the cortisol/DHEA ratio, one can reduce the overproduction of type-2 cytokines and promote the secretion of type-1 cytokines. This would result in the restoration of immune balance and stop the progression of the HIV infection and the AIDS sequelae. (end of extract from Lancet).
The above has been proven in clinical practice as evidenced by the following information:
Liebenberg went on to fund clinical studies at a major university in Cape Town, South Africa under the direction of Professor Patrick Bouic. For over 15 years Professor Bouic has been the leading expert in sterols and sterolins.
After more than a decade of clinical research and double-blind studies, mixed sterols and sterolins has proved to be effective at treating prostate problems, HIV, autoimmune disorders and more. The HIV trial showed that over the five year term of the study, T-cell counts remained stable.
Results with HIV
In the April 2 1998 issue of The Nation published in Nairobi, research was reported to the Kenya Medical Society that plant fats (sterols and sterolins), stabilized and maintained HIV positive patients' capacity to fight off infections over a period of 27 to 36 months. Professor Bouic said another group of patients who had opted out of the open-ended trial however developed and died of Aids 18 months into the trials. He said the sterol-sterolin mixture had also been shown to slowly reduce the viral load of seropositive patients over a nine month duration.
"At nine months," he said, "there was a major reduction in the viral load, down to a level that the body could manage." Even Dr. Luc Montagnier, who identified the AIDS virus 20 years ago, has now shown interest in the ability of sterols and sterolins to boost the body's defence mechanisms.
Clinical trials on the Feline Immune-deficiency virus have proven that sterols/sterolins stabilise the immune responses of cats infected with the FI virus.
Sterols and sterolins have been shown to modulate the functions of T cells by enhancing their cellular division and their secretion of important soluble factors called lymphokines. Sterols and sterolins promote the activity of the cytotoxic cells. The activities of these cells are crucial in viral diseases like herpes and chronic fatigue syndrome as well as diseases involving bacteria that live inside the cells, such as tuberculosis and AIDS.
The structure of these special plant fats resemble the animal fat cholesterol but their function is remarkably different. They occur naturally in fruit, vegetables, seeds, sprouts and nuts, as well as root tubers. Essential for the life process, they are especially concentrated in seeds and sprouts, please see our Sprouting Article. These unique phytonutrients modulate the secretions of lymphocytes, thereby having a profound, and sometimes seemingly miraculous effect on the immune system.
Seeing clinical studies of AIDS patients gaining weight and improving in health is truly a Miracle of modern medicine. In fact, 200 subjects are still being studied, and their CD4 lymphocyte counts are stable. Their Interleukin-6 levels are reduced. They show a decrease in total viral loads and they are feeling well. In fact, they have shown no overt signs of disease progression since they began taking the supplement in 1992
Regenerative Nutrition note to above - We do not support the hypothesis that HIV causes AIDS, however the above argument still applies to multiple infections in combination with immune dysregulation and is supported by genuine scientific observation.
Plant Sterols and Sterolins in Human Health A New Effective Tool For Disease Prevention and Treatment - Including Autoimmune Diseases
By Howard Benedikt, DC, MS, Board of Directors, American Academy of Health Practitioners. Copyright © 2000, reprinted here with permission
Plant sterols and sterolins are proven to be effective compounds modulating the immune system and, as a result, relieving people of symptoms associated with numerous autoimmune diseases. In the past, autoimmune conditions have been treated with toxic drugs, which cause immuno-suppression. There is another approach which is being researched and falls under that branch of immunology called neuroimmunomodulation: this approach uses sterols and sterolins. As a result of using this approach, the activity of certain cells in the immune system are enhanced and the activity of other cells in the immune system are inhibited. This modulation has led to successful treatment of a number of autoimmune diseases.
Essential for one’s health and well-being is a normally functioning Immune system. Over the past several years, researchers have begun not only to better understand the intricate functioning of the many tissues and cells that comprise the immune system, but also have begun to better understand the important role of nutrition and diet in keeping the immune system functioning optimally.
Many published studies have looked at diets rich in fruits and vegetables and how they may reduce the rate of certain types of degenerative diseases. These include cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and macular degeneration. These studies have looked at such complex components as vitamin A, vitamin C, antioxidants, beta-carotene and vitamin E. They have failed to look at certain types of fats, which are found in plants and seeds.
The Immune System
The human immune system is a complex adaptive defense system that has evolved over the years to protect vertebrates from invading pathogens and cancer. It is able to generate an enormous variety of cells and molecules capable of specifically recognizing and eliminating an endless number of foreign Invaders. These cells and molecules working together create a unique network whose complexity would rival any computer system. An effective immune response involves two major groups of cells, lymphocytes and antigen-presenting cells. The two major populations of lymphocytes are labeled B-lymphocytes (B cells.) and T-lymphocytes (T cells). B-lymphocytes mature within the bone marrow, while T- lymphocytes, which also arise within stem cells of the bone marrow, migrate to the thymus gland to mature. The thymus gland, located in close proximity to the heart, secretes specific proteins, called thymic proteins, which signal T cells to perform a certain way. With aging comes atrophy of the thymus and altered production of thymic proteins referred to as "thymicpause”.
There are two well defined populations of T cells: T-helper (TH) and T-cytotoxic (Tc) cells. Further research has now isolated two types of helper cells referred to as TH1 and TH2. TH1 releases interleukid-2(IL-2) and gamma interferon, which activate cytotoxic cells to become effective scavengers. This type of response, cell-mediated, is crucial for the body to survive the attack of a wide host of pathogens. Should this type of response falter, an infection can become chronic. TH2 cells secrete IL-4, IL-6 and IL- 10, all of which are involved in B-lymphocyte development. This is referred to as humoral immunity and this type of response is capable of limiting the damage induced by most extracellular organisms. In a healthy individual, there exists a delicate balance between TH1 and TH2. These cells are directly related to one another; when Th1 levels are high, then TH2 are low and vice versa. Under certain conditions of illness, one line may predominate, creating an imbalance between TH1 and TH2 cells.
TH2 dominated conditions include
TH1 dominated conditions would include the following:
In the past, the management of immune conditions has usually involved the use of toxic drugs in order produce immunosuppression. Alternative therapies have looked at those natural remedies designed to strengthen the immune response, making one more resistant to disease. Now comes a new branch of immunology referred to as neuroimmunomodulatlon. This involves the use of naturally occurring substances able to normalize the immune response. In essence, taking a TH1 dominant state and pushing it to a Th2 state. The same would be true of a TH2 state being pushed to a TH1 state. Hence the result is TH1/Th2 balance.
Plant sterols are natural compounds found in edible vegetable oils. Although green and yellow vegetables contain significant amounts, their seeds concentrate the sterols. Most of the research on these phytonutrients has been done on the seeds of pumpkins, yams, soy, rice and herbs. Studies have shown that oral administration of plant sterols combined with plant enzymes is able to balance TH1 and TH2 cell types.
Clinical Uses of Plant Sterols
Numerous studies have now emerged showing that plant oils in the form of sterols and sterolins have profound health benefits. These studies have indicated that plant sterols may be beneficial in the management of benign prostatic hyperplasia; they may inhibit breast, prostate and colon cancer cell growth as well as reducing the inflammation seen in rheumatoid arthritis. Other studies have demonstrated that sterols inhibit the uptake of cholesterol in the intestines, making for the ideal treatment for lowering high levels of cholesterol.
As we enter the 21st century, we are faced with an ever-growing challenge of a toxic environment and other assaults placed on our body’s metabolic machinery. Our immune system due to its complex makeup is especially prone to insult and resulting damage. Plant sterols appear to offer a way of maintaining an integrative immune system. Further investigation is needed as to the health benefits of sterols and the benefits of their use in managing both acute and chronic illness in humans.
Bouic, Patrick, Lamprecht, J., Plant Sterols and Sterolins: A Review of their immune Modulating Properties, Alternative Medicine Review, Vol. 4 No. 3, 1999, p. 170-177.
Rook GA, Hernandez-Pandro R, Lightman SL. Hormones, peripherally activated prohormones, and the regulation of the TH1/TH2balance. Immunol Today 1994; 15:301-303.
Brock S., Transfer Factor and Its Clinical Applications, International Journal of Integrative Medicine, Vol. 2 No.4, July/August 2000, p.44-49
Rose N., Mackay I, The Autoimmune Diseases, 3rd Edition, Academic Press, 1998, p. 163-182.
Kuby J., Immunology 3rd Edition, Freeman and company, 1997,p. 285-306.