Plant sterols and sterolins are natural plant fats that have recently gained worldwide attention as natural immune enhancers. The pioneering researcher Dr Patrick Bouic and his team conducted several studies to show how plant sterols affect the human immune system. In one study, it was shown that plant sterols/sterolins cause the body to dramatically increase production of T-cells after only four weeks of supplementation. In another study, key immune cells increased between up to 41%.
At the Department of Microbiology in Tygerberg, South Africa, a pilot study was conducted on the effects of plant sterols/sterolins on the immune response of post-marathon runners. In this study, volunteers were given sterols/sterolins supplements prior to the race. Afterward, the runners taking only a placebo showed an increase in white blood cells and cortisol levels, indicating an inflammatory response. The participants supplementing with sterols/sterolins showed less inflammatory response and were less immune-suppressed during the post-run recovery period. Researchers were excited by these results and suggested further study into the use of sterols/sterolins to help prevent immunosuppression caused by excess physical exercise and stress.
Sources: Int J Sports Med 1999, 20(4):258-62; Int J Immunopharm Dec 1996;18(12):693-700