December 13, 2011
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]
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.