The use of plant stanol ester, the cholesterol-lowering ingredient in Benecol products, is completely safe also when consumed in quantities several times above the currently recommended amount. Additionally, the cholesterol-lowering effect of plant stanol ester is boosted with daily doses greater than the current recommendation. These new conclusions were the outcome of two new studies, the results of which were published at the XV International Symposium on Atherosclerosis, held on 14-18 June 2009 in Boston, Massachusetts, USA. Studies conducted in Finland and the Netherlands examined the effects of a daily dose of up to 9 grams of plant stanols; the current recommended daily dose is 2 grams of plant stanols (as plant stanol ester).

In the study conducted at Maastricht University in the Netherlands, the study subjects (n=93) had slightly elevated cholesterol levels and consumed yoghurt and vegetable margarine fortified with plant stanol ester daily for four weeks. In the study groups, the intake of plant stanols was 3, 6 or 9 grams per day. A control group consumed similar products that were not fortified with plant stanol ester. In the study carried out at the University of Kuopio in Finland, the subjects (n=50) with slightly elevated cholesterol levels consumed an oat drink and spread fortified with plant stanol ester (plant stanols 9 g/day) for ten weeks or similar control products with no plant stanol ester. Both studies showed that a daily dose of 9 grams of plant stanols achieved a greater reduction in LDL cholesterol than what had been assumed based on the results of previous studies. In both studies the "bad" or LDL cholesterol dropped by more than 17% compared to the control group. The large daily dose of plant stanol ester did not cause any adverse side effects. The results of the newly published studies refute the assumptions that there are no added benefits of consuming plant stanol ester in doses higher than the current recommendation or that increased consumption could potentially have adverse effects. In fact, MD Professor Helena Gylling, who headed the study at the University of Kuopio, notes: "A daily dose of 2 grams of plant stanols can achieve a clinically significant reduction in total and LDL cholesterol levels. For most consumers of Benecol products, this continues to be the optimum dosage, and also the costs remain reasonable. However, now it has been shown that plant stanol ester’s effect in preventing the absorption of cholesterol and thus also its effect of reducing blood cholesterol level are boosted with larger doses of plant stanol. Compared to a daily dose of 2-3 grams of plant stanols, a larger dose of plant stanol is still just as safe." Benecol®, the original expert in cholesterol lowering, is a trademark owned globally by Raisio, and plant stanol ester is an ingredient patented globally by Raisio. Sources: Gylling et al. Very high plant stanol ester intake and serum lipids, sterols, liver function tests, carotenoids, and fat soluble vitamins. Paper presented at XV ISA Congress in Boston, US, June 14-18, 2009. Mensink et al. Dietary plant stanols dose-dependently decrease LDL-cholesterol - but not cholesterol-standardized carotene - at intakes up to 9 g a day. Paper presented at XV ISA Congress in Boston, US, June 14-18, 2009. RAISIO PLC Heidi Hirvonen Communications Manager tel. +358 50 567 3060 Additional information: Ingmar Wester, R&D Director, Ingredients Division, Raisio Group, tel. +358 50 601 32 Susanna Rosin, Nutrition Manager, Ingredients Division, Raisio Group, tel. +358 400 878637 Helena Gylling, Professor, University of Kuopio, Finland, tel. +358 50 3302402