Consuming functional foods enriched with plant sterol or stanol esters for 85 weeks does not affect neurocognitive functioning or mood in statin-treated hypercholesterolemic individuals.

O.J.G. Schiepers*, R.H. de Groot, M.P. van Boxtel, J. Jolles, A. de Jong, D. Lutjohann, J. Plat, R.P. Mensink

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Recent animal and human studies have shown that plant sterols and stanols, which are used as functional food ingredients to lower increased LDL cholesterol concentrations, pass the blood-brain barrier. Whether this affects neurocognitive functioning and mental well-being in humans has, to our knowledge, never been investigated. The aim of the present study was therefore to examine the effects of long-term plant sterol or stanol consumption on neurocognitive functioning and mood in a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled dietary intervention trial. To this end, hypercholesterolemic individuals, aged 43-69 y, receiving stable statin treatment were randomly assigned to an 85-wk supplementation with margarines enriched with plant sterol esters (2.5 g/d), plant stanol esters (2.5 g/d), or placebo. At baseline and at the end of the intervention period, all participants underwent a cognitive assessment. In addition, subjective cognitive functioning and mood were assessed by means of questionnaires (Cognitive Failure Questionnaire and depression subscale of the Symptom Checklist 90, respectively). Long-term supplementation with plant sterol or stanol esters did not affect cognitive performance (memory, simple information processing speed, complex information processing speed, Letter-Digit Substitution test performance), subjective cognitive functioning, or mood. In conclusion, the present results indicate that long-term use of plant sterols or stanols at recommended intakes of 2.5 g/d does not affect neurocognitive functioning or mood in hypercholesterolemic individuals receiving statin treatment.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1368-1373
JournalJournal of Nutrition
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2009

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