Other biological properties have alsobeen associated with the consumption of phytosterols, such asanti-inflammatory, anti-atherogenic, and antioxidant activities, as well asantipyretic, and antidiabetic properties (13).It has been reported that stigmasterol exhibit anti-osteoarthritic (199), anti-inflammatory and anti-catabolic properties (200)and has potential benefits in treatment of asthma (201).As stated above schottenol andspinasterol are the major sterols present in argan oil. It has been reportedthat ?-spinasterol also modulates mitochondrial activity and gene expression ofnuclear receptors, exhibits anti-tumor, antioxidative, and anti-inflammatoryactivities, and influences serum concentrations and metabolism of cholesterolin rats (202).In addition, in animal studies the effects of spinasterol are documented to bea reduction in plasma and liver cholesterol levels of mice, modulated byincreasing faecal cholesterol excretion.
Anti-tumorigenic potential ofspinasterol has also been demonstrated, whereas schottenol exhibits ananti-carcinogenic and cytotoxic potential (88).The first functional food introducedcontaining phytosterols was Benecol spread, which was launched in Finland in1995. The active ingredients in Benecol are PS esterified to natural fattyacids from vegetable oils (36).The most common form of PS fortified foodsare fat spreads and dairy products (203).It is clinically proven that plant sterols and stanol esters lower LDLcholesterol by 7 to 10% in 2-3 weeks when 1.
5-2.4 g of these sterols areconsumed every day as part of healthy diet and lifestyle. The predominant fatsused are soybean/sunflower or rapeseed/canola oils and animal fat in dairyproducts. Other products include breakfast cereals, cereal bars, orange juice, chocolate,muffins, croissants, breads, vegetable oils, salad dressings, mayonnaise andtortilla chips (183).It has been indicated that the rye extruded breadproduced with addition of PS was harder and crispier (204).