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Nature Made - Cholestoff Review

Cholestoff from Nature Made is a cholesterol-lowering supplement with a simple formula. It contains a proprietary blend of sterols and stanols as well as pantethine. Besides the multiple studies that have confirmed the cholesterol-lowering effects of phytosterols, a recent sponsored study also found Cholestoff effective. Can the results of this study be trusted? What are sterols, stanols and pantethine? How do they affect blood cholesterol? Read on to find out.
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What Is Cholestoff Made Of?

Cholestoff is a dietary supplement manufactured by Nature Made for lowering blood cholesterol and improving cardiovascular health.

This supplement is formulated with Reducol, a proprietary blend of plant sterols and stanols.

Cholestoff is formulated in capsule form and the daily dose is 2 capsules. Each capsule contains 900 mg of these plant sterols and stanols.

On the product’s website, Nature Made pointed out that The National Cholesterol Education Program (NCEP) recommends 2000 mg of plant sterols and sterols to be eaten daily to help lower blood cholesterol levels. However, the daily consumption of these sterols and stanols from the average American diet stands at 200 mg.

Therefore, Cholestoff is formulated to make up for this huge dietary shortfall to help users lower their cholesterol levels and reduce the risks of certain cardiovascular diseases.

There are really 3 slightly different Cholestoff products from Nature Made.

The Three Cholestoff Products
  • Cholestoff Original – Sodium 15 mg, Plant Sterols and Stanols 900mg

Contains 60 caplets. Dosage – 2 caplets per day

  • Cholestoff Complete – Fat 1g, Protein 0.5 g, Pantethine 300 mg, Plant Sterols and Stanols 900 mg

Contains 100 softgels. Dosage – 3 softgels per day

  • Cholestoff Plus – Fat 1 g, Plant Sterols and Stanols 900 mg

Contains 100 softgels. Dosage – 2 softgels per day


All Cholestoff products are not recommended for children as well as lactating and pregnant women.

The manufacturer promised that no artificial flavors, yeast, starch, gluten or preservatives were used in the products.

Sterols, Stanols and Cholesterol

Plant sterols and stanols are also known as phytosterols. Stanols are simply sterols with only single bonds in their molecules. Therefore, stanols are saturated sterols.

Both sterols and stanols are structurally similar to cholesterol. Because of this similarity, the body can tricked into reducing the absorption of cholesterol. Therefore, phytosterols are known for their cholesterol-lowering properties.

Dietary sources of sterols include vegetable oils and nuts. The most commonly found sterols in human diet are beta sitosterol, campesterol and stigmasterol.

Dietary sources of stanols include whole grain foods such as wheat. The most common dietary stanols are sitostanol and campestanol.

Both sterols and stanols are proven to lower cholesterol levels especially LDL (low-density lipoprotein or “bad”) cholesterol. These phytosterols work by blocking the absorption of cholesterol from the intestine. Therefore, they can be combined with cholesterol-lowering drugs that work by other mechanisms.

Studies have shown that the combination of phytosterols and statins can further lower cholesterol by 9 – 17% among patients already receiving statins.

Besides cholesterol, phytosterols can also reduce triglyceride levels by as much as 14%.

While sterols and stanols block the absorption of cholesterol, they lower triglyceride levels by blocking the production of VLDL (very low-density lipoproteins) triglycerides in the liver. The triglyceride-lowering effect of phytosterols is most pronounced in people with very high triglyceride levels.

Although both sterols and stanols are recommended as safe supplements in the treatment of hypercholesterolemia, sterols can increase the risks of coronary heart disease especially in people with previous episodes of heart attack.

Sterols vs. Stanols

Stanols do not only lower serum cholesterol levels, they can also lower serum sterol levels.

Because stanols are only minimally absorbed, they do not increase the risk of coronary heart disease like sterols. On the other hand, sterols are significantly absorbed into the blood. Therefore, the body may use them in place of cholesterol because of their structural similarities.

In addition, sterols can also increase the risk of heart disease and even affect the metabolism of bile acids.

In fact, stanols retain their potency when used in the long-term treatment of hypercholesterolemia because they are only minimally absorbed and also because they do not affect the metabolism of bile acids.

To block the absorption of cholesterol, both sterols and stanols displace cholesterol from micelles formed in the intestine.

Micelles are charged complexes formed from the combination of cholesterol and bile acids.

This process of micellar formation is one of the essential steps in the dissolution and eventual absorption of cholesterol. Therefore, displacing cholesterol from micelles can significantly affect the amount of cholesterol absorbed into the blood.

However, studies also show that stanols can prevent the absorption of cholesterol by another means.

Besides blocking the absorption of cholesterol through micelles, stanols (but not sterols) activate certain transporter proteins in the intestine and promote the return of cholesterol back into the intestine before they pass through into systemic circulation.

Pantethine and Cholesterol

Pantethine is made up of 2 molecules of pantothenic acid or vitamin B5. It is, therefore, also known as bis-pantethine.

Both pantothenic acid molecules are linked by a cysteamine bridge. Although, pantothenic acid is the basic molecule in pantethine, each half of pantethine along with half of the cysteamine bridge is known as pantetheine.

Pantetheine is naturally produced in the body as an intermediate in the synthesis of coenzyme A.

Pantethine is actually the most bioactive form of vitamin B5. However, it needs to be constantly refrigerated to prevent it from breaking down. Still, a stable form of pantethine is sold as a dietary supplement.

Multiple studies have confirmed the cholesterol-lowering properties of pantethine. A summary of the results from past studies is presented in the table below.

Effect of Pantethine on Cholesterol & Triglycerides
  • Reduce total cholesterol by 12%
  • Reduce LDL cholesterol by 12%
  • Reduce triglycerides by 18%
  • Increase HDL (high-density lipoprotein or “good”) cholesterol by 9%

These studies used 600 -1200 mg/day of pantethine and found doses in that range to be both effective and safe. Therefore, the daily dose of pantethine obtained from Cholestoff Complete (900 mg) is well within the proven therapeutic dose range.

Once absorbed into the body, pantethine is broken down into 2 molecules of vitamin B5.

However, its cholesterol-lowering effect is not dependent on this B vitamin. Rather, researchers believe that the 2 molecules of cysteamine from the breakdown of pantethine are responsible for its effect on cholesterol.

Cysteamine binds to sulfur-containing liver enzymes. These are the same enzymes involved in the syntheses of cholesterol and triglycerides in the liver.

By binding to these enzymes, cysteamine inactivates them and inhibits the production of cholesterol and triglycerides.

The Cholestoff Study

Nature Made claims that Cholestoff is clinically proven to reduce cholesterol and help support cardiovascular health. Although this claim has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), at least one study has confirmed it.

This study was partly funded by Nature Made (also known as Pharmavite) and was published in the International Journal of Food Sciences and Nutrition in 2012.

For this study, the researchers recruited 32 men and women with hypercholesterolemia. These volunteers were divided into 2 groups: the treatment group and placebo group. Volunteers in the treatment group received 1.8 g/day of Cholestoff during the 6-week duration of the study.

Both groups were placed on the National Cholesterol Education Program (NCEP) therapeutic lifestyle changes (TLC) diet.

The results of the study showed that Cholestoff supplementation

  • Reduced total cholesterol by 2.8%
  • Reduced LDL cholesterol by 4.9%
  • Reduced non-HDL cholesterol by 3.6%
  • Did not significantly changed HDL cholesterol or triglyceride levels

Although this study was partly funded by the manufacturer of Cholestoff, its results were published in a peer-reviewed journal and have not been overturned by another study.

Is Cholestoff Effective?

With such results, Cholestoff can be confidently recommended for lowering blood cholesterol levels.

To provide further support for Cholestoff, it is recognized on the website of the United States National Library of Medicine as an effective cholesterol-lowering supplement. However, its listing on that database only confirmed that it passed the ConsumerLab.com test that verified that the label best described the content of the supplement.

Plant sterols and stanols have been conclusively proven to improve lipid profile by lower cholesterol levels. This conclusion was further confirmed by the Cholestoff study described above.

Studies have also demonstrated that phytosterols can be safely combined with statin drugs. Therefore, hypercholesterolemia patients who are already taking prescription statin drugs can add Cholestoff to their treatment regimens. This combination is not only safe but can further lower blood cholesterol level.

In addition to sterols and stanols, the pantethine found in Cholestoff Complete can lower cholesterol even further.

Because pantethine affects cholesterol by a different mechanism, its combination with sterols and stanols makes Cholestoff Complete a particularly effective cholesterol-lowering supplement.

While Cholestoff sounds effective in theory, is it any good for users? From testimonials gathered from independent reviewers and consumer review sites, past users generally praise Cholestoff.

This supplement scores high points with some users experiencing better lipid profiles after switching from statins.

On the other hand, 10% of past users did not get better with Cholestoff. From user reviewers, Cholestoff either performed excellently or woefully. Therefore, trying Cholestoff for a while (preferably for 6 weeks) may be a good way to judge its effectiveness.

As mentioned above, combining it with statins may produce better results. However, you need to consult your physician before doing this.

There are clear benefits to such combinations. First, sterols, stanols and statins have been shown to produce excellent results. Secondly, lower doses are required when combining phytosterols and statins. Therefore, the rather nasty side effects of statins can be reduced.

In conclusion, Cholestoff is recommended for the treatment of hypercholesterolemia.

Sources


http://informahealthcare.com/doi/pdf/10.3109/09637486.2011.636345

http://dietarysupplements.nlm.nih.gov/dietary/detail.jsp?contain=14007045&name=Nature+Made+Cholest+Off%2C+Cholesterol+Fighter&pageD=brand

http://harvardpartnersinternational.staywellsolutionsonline.com/HealthNewsLetters/69,H0610l

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