Harvard Heart Letter

Heart Beat: New vitamin helps lower cholesterol

Heart Beat

New vitamin helps lower cholesterol

If you are in the habit of taking a multivitamin every day, you might be interested to know there's a new one on the market that may put a small dent in your cholesterol.

Centrum Cardio contains phytosterols, plant-derived substances that block the intestines' ability to absorb cholesterol from food. Plants don't make a lot of sterols or stanols, a related compound. You would have to drink more than a gallon of soybean oil a day to get enough phytosterols to lower cholesterol.

Phytosterols have been blended into foods, beginning with margarines like Benecol and Take Control. New additions include orange juice, granola bars, cheese, and chocolates. These offer a fairly high-calorie way to get phytosterols.

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