The role of sterols
Phytosterols are steroids at the 3-hydroxyl position, with cyclopentane perhydrophenanthrene as the main skeleton, accounting for most of the tetracyclic three-post compounds. Among the phytosterols, 40 major sterols have been found, of which the largest content It is sitosterol, stigmasterol and campesterol. The purified phytosterol mixture is a flake or powdery white solid. After solvent crystallization treatment, it becomes white scaly or needle-like crystals. The physical and chemical properties of phytosterols are mainly hydrophobic, but because of their structure with hydroxyl groups, they are also hydrophilic. Therefore, on the one hand, having both a hydrophilic group and a lipophilic group in the same material structure means that the material has emulsifying properties, and the emulsifying properties of phytosterols can be improved by chemically modifying the hydroxyl groups. Phytosterols have amphoteric characteristics that make them have the ability to node and control the fluidity of reversed-phase membranes; on the other hand, phytosterols are mainly hydrophobic, but because of their structure with hydroxyl groups, they also have a certain degree of hydrophilicity. , The larger the side chain, the stronger the hydrophobicity of the sterol. The specific gravity of the phytosterol is slightly larger than that of water. It is insoluble in water and soluble in a variety of organic solvents.
1. Lower cholesterol
Under normal circumstances, cholesterol synthesized by the body and taken from food is converted into steroid hormones or components called cell membranes. And keep the cholesterol concentration in the blood constant. When the cholesterol intake from food exceeds the normal range required in the body, the liver and other organs' automatic regulation of cholesterol absorption and excretion will become impaired, which will cause the serum cholesterol content to be too high, resulting in hypercholesterolemia or hyperlipidemia. Phytosterols can hinder the absorption of cholesterol, thereby reducing the cholesterol content in the blood. Its mechanism of action is to inhibit the absorption of cholesterol in the intestine; promote the alienation of cholesterol; and inhibit the biosynthesis of cholesterol in the liver.
2. Anti-inflammatory and antipyretic effects
The anti-inflammatory effect of phytosterols is also one of the functions discovered earlier. Yazhouning for the treatment of periodontitis, sitosterol ointment and tablets for the treatment of oral ulcers and bronchial asthma, use oral sitosterol and stigmasterol directly as medicine. Among them, Kepingchuan, which is composed of oral-sitosterol and other drugs, has a strong effect of relieving asthma, relieving cough, and eliminating phlegm, and can promote the repair of chronic bronchitis diseased tissues. Studies have shown that a sitosterol has a strong anti-inflammatory effect similar to hydrogramsone and prednisone. Similar stigmasterol also has a certain anti-inflammatory function, but it has no side effects of cortisone, so it can be used as an auxiliary anti-inflammatory effect. Long-term use of inflammatory drugs. There are also antipyretic and analgesic effects similar to aspirin, which have attracted widespread clinical attention.