The Analyst™

Comprehensive diagnosis of your symptoms

Healthy

  Policosanol/Octacosanol  
 
Search treatments and conditions

 

Policosanol normalizes cholesterol levels as well as or better than drugs, without any of their side-effects. Its efficacy and safety have been proven in numerous clinical trials in the U.S. and it has been used by millions of people in other countries. Policosanol can lower LDL cholesterol by as much as 20% and raise protective HDL cholesterol by 10%. This compares favorably with cholesterol-lowering drugs which have the drawback of side-effects such as liver dysfunction and muscle atrophy. Policosanol works by blocking the synthesis of cholesterol but its exact mechanism of action is not known.

Another action of policosanol is reducing the proliferation of cells. Healthy arteries are lined with a smooth layer of cells so that blood can race through with no resistance. One of the features of diseased arteries is that this layer becomes thicker and overgrown with cells. As the artery narrows, blood flow slows down or is blocked completely.

Policosanol is a natural supplement made from sugar cane, the main ingredient being octacosanol. Octacosanol is an alcohol found in the waxy film that plants have over their leaves and fruit. The leaves and rinds of citrus fruits contain octacosanol, and so does wheat germ oil. Caviar, which reportedly has health benefits, contains high amounts of octacosanol.

The recommended dose is one 10mg tablet twice per day with meals; one in the afternoon and one in the evening. Higher doses are being studied for additional benefit.
 

 
 

Policosanol/Octacosanol can help with the following:
 
 
Circulation  Increased Risk of Stroke
 Policosanol inhibits the formation of clots, and may work synergistically with aspirin in this respect. 75% of strokes are of the clotting kind. In a comparison of aspirin and policosanol, aspirin was better at reducing one type of platelet aggregation (clumping together of blood cells) but policosanol was better at inhibiting another type. Together, policosanol and aspirin worked better than either alone.

  Platelet Aggregation Risk
 Preliminary work suggests that policosanol is an effective platelet aggregation inhibitor.

Lab Values

  Elevated LDL/HDL Ratio
 Policosanol can lower LDL cholesterol as much as 20% and raise protective HDL cholesterol by 10%.

In one study, patients with LDL-cholesterol greater than 160 mg/dl were randomized in double-blind fashion to receive policosanol (10 milligrams daily), lovastatin (20 milligrams daily) or simvastatin (10 milligrams daily). After eight weeks of therapy, LDL-cholesterol was reduced 24% in the policosanol groups, 22% in the lovastatin group and 15% with simvastatin. HDL-cholesterol increased significantly in the policosanol group but not in the other two groups. Policosanol was judged to be "a safe and effective cholesterol reducing agent."

  Elevated Total Cholesterol
 A US study has shown that despite previous findings to the contrary, the nutritional supplement policosanol does not lower levels of total or low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C).

Policosanol is derived from purified sugar cane and used in the US and other countries to treat hypercholesterolemia.

Luigi Cubeddu, from Mount Sinai Medical Center in Miami Beach, Florida, and colleagues now think that it should join the list of nutritional supplements that lack scientific evidence to support their use. "Our results are supported by a recent study conducted in The Netherlands where policosanol was found ineffective in lowering serum LDL-C in human patients." [ Am Heart J 2006; Advance online publication]

Risks

  Increased Risk of Coronary Disease / Heart Attack
 Policosanol has other actions against heart disease in addition to lowering cholesterol. Like statin drugs, policosanol helps stop the formation of arterial lesions. One of policosanolís important actions is to inhibit the oxidation of LDL, which is the major contributor to arterial damage. Oxidized LDL promotes the destruction of blood vessels by creating a chronic inflammatory response.
 
 


KEY
May do some good
Likely to help
Highly recommended