What Are Side Effects of Beta-Sitosterol?

Beta-sitosterol is possibly safe when used as directed by a health care provider, explains WebMD. However, some people can experience side effects such as constipation, diarrhea, indigestion, nausea and gas. Some reports have linked this drug to reduced sex drive and erectile dysfunction. It may also lead to low absorption of vitamin E and carotenes in the body, notes Drugs.com.

Beta-sitosterol is a phytosterol found in peanut oil, soybean oil and avocado oil, and it lowers cholesterol, explains Drugs.com. It works by reducing the intake of cholesterol from the gut. Some studies show that it has an anti-inflammatory effect and can help improve the impact of natural killer cells. Other clinical studies report that beta-sitosterol helps to ease urinary symptoms. Companies add beta-sitosterol to yogurt, margarine and other foods, and a safe daily consumption is 1.5 to 3 grams.

There is no sufficient information to give proper advice to breastfeeding and pregnant women about the use of beta-sitosterol, according to WebMD. It is advisable not to use this product to avoid unexpected issues. Patients suffering from sitosterolemia should not use beta-sitosterol because they already have high amounts of this phytosterol in the body. Taking it worsens the condition. There is no information regarding its interactions and toxicities, reports Drugs.com.