Int J Sports Med 1999; 20(4): 258-262
DOI: 10.1055/s-2007-971127

© Georg Thieme Verlag Stuttgart · New York

The Effects of B-Sitosterol (BSS) and B-Sitosterol Glucoside (BSSG) Mixture on Selected Immune Parameters of Marathon Runners: Inhibition of Post Marathon Immune Suppression and Inflammation

P.J. D. Bouic1 , A. Clark1 , J. Lamprecht2 , M. Freestone3 , E.J. Pool1 , R. W. Liebenberg3 , D. Kotze4 , P. P. van Jaarsveld2
  • 1Immunology Section, Dept. Medical Microbiology, Tygerberg, South Africa
  • 2Dept. Pharmacology, Faculty of Medicine, University of Stellenbosch, South Africa
  • 3Essential Sterollin Products (Pty) Ltd., Stellenbosch, South Africa
  • 4Dept. of Statistics, University of Western Cape, South Africa
Further Information

Publication History

Publication Date:
09 March 2007 (online)

A pilot study was undertaken to investigate the effects of the intake of capsules containing the plant sterols and sterolins (BSS: BSSG mixture) on selected immune parameters of volunteers participating in an ultra-marathon in Cape Town, South Africa. Those runners having received active capsules (n = 9) showed less neutrophilia, lymphopenia and leukocytosis when compared to their counterparts having received placebo capsules (n = 8): the placebo treated individuals showred significant increases in their total white blood cell numbers as well as in their neutrophils (p = 0.03 and 0.03 respectively). Furthermore, statistically significant increases within lymphocyte subsets were observed in the runners having received the active capsules: CD3+ cells increased (p = 0.02) as did CD4+ cells (p = 0.03). In parallel, the BSS: BSSG capsules dlecreased the plasma level of IL6 in the runners using the active capsules (p = 0.08) and significantly decreased the cortisol: DHEAs ratio (p = 0.03), suggesting that these volunteers had less of an inflammatory response and were less immune suppressed during the post-marathon recovery period. These findings justify further investigations into the use of the phytosterols to prevent the subtle immunosuppression associated with excessive physical stress.