The active ingredients in CholestOff, plant sterols and stanols, may cause nausea, constipation, diarrhea, heartburn or indigestion, advises Harvard Health Publications. Men may experience decreased sex drive or erectile dysfunction. Only a small percentage of people report these side effects, and the overall risk of side effects is similar to those of taking a low-dose statin.
Plant sterols and stanols, including those that make up the active ingredients of CholestOff, have shown to decrease the absorption of cholesterol from food, lowering an individual's LDL, or bad, cholesterol levels, states Harvard Health Publications. Some research indicates that plant sterols may also help lower the risk of breast, prostate and colon cancer. Laboratory research shows that they work by causing cancer cells to self destruct, slow tumor growth and prevent the spread of cancer.
CholestOff is an over-the-counter, dietary supplement that contains 900 mg of plant sterols and stanols per serving, states Nature Made. The recommended dose is two servings per day. The supplement was shown to reduce the cholesterol of study participants by 5 percent when combined with exercise and the diet recommended by the National Cholesterol Education Program’s Therapeutic Lifestyle Changes Diet in a study published in the International Journal of Food Sciences and Nutrition in November 2011.