From foods to beauty products – phytosterols are now everywhere! Don’t you agree? Wait, are you still not familiar with ‘phytosterol’ and its awesome goodness? Worry not as we are here to get you covered. Let us talk everything about phytosterols today. Natural fruits and veggies full of phytosterols are always a grand choice for our health and body. However in this post, we’ll focus only on how they can benefit our skin and hair to boost our overall beauty.
What Are Phytosterols?
Phytosterols (also known as ‘plant sterols’) are phytochemicals (certain plant-based chemical compounds), which have cholesterol-like molecular structure. Studies have found that their functions are also quite similar to cholesterol and hence, they are widely used as emollients in topical beauty products (especially lotions and creams). Apart from this, phytosterols have also been known for their wide range of health benefits.
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Sources Of Phytosterols
According to a report published by the National Institutes of Health, there are as many as 200 different types of phytosterols and they can be found in fruits and vegetables easily available around us. Some common sources of phytosterols are avocado, saw palmetto, pumpkin seed, cashew nuts, beans, vegetable oil, corn oil, soybean oil, canola oil, peanut oil, safflower oil, sesame oil, wheat germ, rice bran, etc. Nowadays, even food products are being fortified with plant sterols to embrace their amazing benefits.
Significance Of PhytoSterols
As said before, phytosterols are plant-based ‘sterols’, which are basically complex unsaturated alcohol that resemble lipids and form the foundation for steroids. Sterols are considered as one of the essential elements for living beings as they work as the precursors for hormones (progesterone and testosterone) and vitamins (mainly vitamin D). However, the most important function of phytosterols in our body is to maintain the structure of our cell membranes. Studies have shown that these plant sterols can mimic cholesterol and prevent its depletion in human epidermal keratinocyte membranes, thereby reducing photosensitivity and providing protection from photo-aging. These make phytosterols indispensable in today’s skin and hair care products.
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Skin Benefits Of Phytosterols
- Phytostrols can shield our skin against severe sun damages and consequential premature-aging. When applied topically, it stops the production of certain degrading substances in our skin, which are known to break down collagen – the most vital connective tissue present in our skin. This loss of collagen affects the natural cell regeneration procedure and results in reduced skin elasticity. However, phytosterols can promote cell regeneration and accelerate collagen reproduction by facilitating the metabolism of skin cells.
- Phytosterols make our immune cells active and helps our body balance the immune responses. They also possess great anti-inflammatory properties, which make them amazing immunity-boosters without much adverse effects. As a result, our skin can stay away from all sorts of itching, irritations and inflammations to look healthier anytime.
- Phytosterols have amazing positive impact on damaged skin. Whether the damage is caused by environmental influences or physical reasons, they can repair the broken or injured layers of the skin and encourage the method of healing. In short, phytosterols are a true natural remedy for scars, dermatitis, eczema, sunburn, psoriasis, wind chapping, keloids, damages resulted from radiotherapy, etc.
- Phytosterols can improve dry skin conditions to a large extent by reducing Transepidermal Water Loss (TEWL). They also repair damaged skin barrier and make the absorption of cholesterol to keep the skin hydrated, moisturized and properly conditioned.
- According to scientists, the phytosterol complex has three components named beta sitosterol, campestrol, and stigmasterol. Among these, the stigmasterol is known to have skin lightening properties to some extent. It is also believed to put a stop to some types of skin cancer.
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Hair Benefits Of Phytosterols
- Phytosterols are one of the best natural treatments for hair loss and hair thinning. Studies say that an increase in the levels of androgen in the body is responsible for hereditary hair loss, baseline hair loss and alopecia in both men and women. When included in diet, phytosterols can inhibit the formation of certain enzyme called 5-alpha reductase, which plays a key role in transforming testosterone in our body into the androgen DHT (dihydrotestosterone). This slows down hair fall and sometimes even eliminates it completely.
- Phytosterols can work as charm for fast regrowth of healthy hair. People who have long been suffering from alopecia, receding hairline, or baldness can experience highly satisfactory outcomes within just few weeks.
- Phytosterols are also quite effective in softening hair fibers from inside and decreasing electrostatic charges developed in hair. These help in making dry, brittle hair softer and smoother while frizzy hair with fly-aways can be tamed successfully.
The daily recommended dosage for phytosterols is between 60 mg and 350 mg. To be on the safe side, never take more than 5000 mg of the supplement a day. Too much intake of plant sterols can lead to indigestion, nausea, heartburn, constipation, diarrhea, cardiovascular complications, pregnancy complications, etc. So, always consult with your doctor before you start taking phytosterol supplements.