ATHENS, GREECE — Phytosterol supplementation may improve risk factors of coronary heart disease in people who follow a westernized-type diet, according to a study involving researchers from the Agricultural University of Athens and appearing on-line Feb. 12 in Nutrition, Metabolism and Cardiovascular Diseases.

In the randomized, placebo-controlled study, 108 people with metabolic syndrome daily ate either two yogurt mini drinks that provided 4 grams of phytosterols per day or a yogurt drink without phytosterols. Both groups followed a habitual westernized type diet and recorded it on food diaries for two months. Blood samples were drawn at baseline and after two months.

Phytosterol supplementation lowered serum total cholesterol by 15.9%, L.D.L. “bad” cholesterol by 20.3% and triglyceride levels by 19.1%. No differences between the two groups were observed in other areas, including H.D.L. “good” cholesterol, glucose, C-reactive protein and blood pressure.