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Plant sterols vs steroids – and anti-inflammatory properties

What are plant sterols? 

Plant sterols (or phytosterols) are a naturally occurring part of all plants. They are mainly found in vegetable oils but are also present in smaller amounts in nuts, legumes, grains, cereals, wood pulp and leaves. The main sources of plant sterols added to foods in Australia are soybean oil or tall (pine) oil. [Source]
What are steroids?
Steroids are organic compounds found throughout the plant and animal kingdoms. They include hormones such as testosterone and estrogen and the lipid cholesterol. Anabolic steroids, which are used by some athletes as performance enhancers, are not in the same chemical family. In plants, steroids are important chemicals that stimulate growth. These growth hormones have been researched both for their natural function and their potential as crop-boosters.[Source]
Plant Steroids Vs. Other Steroids
Like in humans and animals, plant steroids send signals to boost growth. Additionally, brassinosteroids assist in cell differentiation. They help stem cells — cells that have not yet found a function — become assigned to their proper areas. However, "ScienceDaily" explains that plant sterioids "function very differently at the cellular level." Plant and animal cells have receptors that detect steroids. The fundamental difference is that these receptors are found in the nucleus of animal cells, while plant receptors are on the cells' outside membranes. [ibid]

Aloe vera

Contains these sterols: lupeol, campesterol, and β­sitosterol [Source]

The  anti­inflammatory activity of Aloe  Vera Gel has  been revealed by a  number of in vitro and in vivo studies (See studies section). Fresh Aloe Vera Gel significantly reduced acute  inflammation in rats (carrageenin­induced paw  oedema),  although no effect on chronic  inflammation was  observed.  Aloe  Vera  Gel appears  to exert its anti­ inflammatory activity through bradykinase  activity and thromboxane  B2 and prostaglandin F2 inhibition. Furthermore, three plant  sterols in Aloe Vera Gel reduced inflammation by up to 37% in croton oil­induced oedema in mice.  Lupeol,  one of the  sterol compounds found in Aloe Vera, was the most active and reduced inflammation in a dose­dependent manner.  These  data  suggest  that specific plant  sterols  may also contribute to the anti­inflammatory activity of Aloe Vera Gel.


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