Policosanol

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Policosanol

Uses

Policosanol

Policosanol is a mixture of long-chain alcohols (waxes), including octacosanol, extracted from natural sources.

What Are "Star" Ratings?

a7_3star   Reliable and relatively consistent scientific data showing a substantial health benefit.

a7_2star   Contradictory, insufficient, or preliminary studies suggesting a health benefit or minimal health benefit.

a7_1star   For an herb, supported by traditional use but minimal or no scientific evidence. For a supplement, little scientific support.

Our proprietary “Star-Rating” system was developed to help you easily understand the amount of scientific support behind each supplement in relation to a specific health condition. While there is no way to predict whether a vitamin, mineral, or herb will successfully treat or prevent associated health conditions, our unique ratings tell you how well these supplements are understood by the medical community, and whether studies have found them to be effective for other people.

For over a decade, our team has combed through thousands of research articles published in reputable journals. To help you make educated decisions, and to better understand controversial or confusing supplements, our medical experts have digested the science into these three easy-to-follow ratings. We hope this provides you with a helpful resource to make informed decisions towards your health and well-being.

This supplement has been used in connection with the following health conditions:


Used for Amount Why
Intermittent Claudication
10 mg twice per day 3 stars   Supplementing with policosanol may reduce platelet stickiness and improve walking capacity.

3 stars  Intermittent Claudication

10 mg twice per day

Policosanol , taken in the amount of 10 mg twice a day for at least six months, increases pain-free walking capacity by over 50% in people with intermittent claudication according to two double-blind trials.1 , 2 When policosanol was taken continuously for two years, walking capacity more than doubled.3 This effect may be related to the ability of policosanol to reduce the stickiness of platelets,4 , 5 , 6 which could result in improved circulation.


Used for Amount Why
High Triglycerides
10 to 20 mg daily 2 stars   Policosanol may be helpful in normalizing triglyceride levels.

2 stars  High Triglycerides

10 to 20 mg daily

The effect of policosanol on serum triglycerides has been inconsistent, ranging from no effect up to as much as a 19% reduction.7 , 8 , 9 , 10 , 11 , 12 , 13 , 14 , 15 , 16 Several controlled studies have compared policosanol with cholesterol-lowering medications, such as statins, and have found policosanol similarly effective.17 , 18 , 19 , 20 , 21 , 22 , 23 Policosanol extracted from beeswax or other sources differs from the sugar-cane-derived preparation in the proportions of long-chain alcohols, and whether these types of policosanol are as effective as sugar-cane-derived policosanol is unknown.


Used for Amount Why
High Cholesterol
Refer to label instructions 1 star   Policosanol may affect cholesterol levels by inhibiting cholesterol production by the liver but most research has casted doubt on its effectiveness.

1 star  High Cholesterol

Test tube and animal studies indicate that policosanol is capable of inhibiting cholesterol production by the liver.24 , 25 Extensive preliminary and double-blind research in Cuba and other countries in Latin America has demonstrated that taking 10 to 20 mg per day of policosanol extracted from sugar cane results in significant changes in blood cholesterol levels, including total cholesterol (17 to 21% lower on average), LDL cholesterol (21 to 29% lower), and HDL cholesterol (7 to 29% higher).26 , 27 , 28 , 29 , 30 , 31 , 32 , 33 , 34 , 35 , 36 However, virtually all of this research was conducted by a single research group from Cuba. Follow-up double-blind studies performed in the United States,37 , 38 Canada,39 Italy,40 and Germany41 found that sugar cane-derived policosanol in amounts of 10 to 80 mg per day taken for 12 weeks had no effect on serum cholesterol levels in people with initially high cholesterol levels.  Therefore, it seems doubtful that policosanol has a beneficial effect on serum cholesterol levels.

How It Works

How to Use It

Most studies have used 5 to 10 mg of policosanol taken twice per day.

Where to Find It

The long-chain alcohols found in policosanol are present in many foods of plant origin. Supplemental policosanol is typically extracted from sugar cane or beeswax.

Possible Deficiencies

Policosanol is not an essential nutrient, so no deficiencies are possible.

Interactions

Interactions with Supplements, Foods, & Other Compounds

When policosanol is combined with aspirin, an increased blood-thinning effect occurs.42 This suggests that policosanol should not be taken with blood-thinning drugs without the supervision of a doctor.

Interactions with Medicines

At the time of writing, there were no well-known drug interactions with this supplement.

Side Effects

Side Effects

At the time of writing, there were no well-known side effects caused by this supplement.

References

1. Castano G, Mas Ferreiro R, Fernandez L, et al. A long-term study of policosanol in the treatment of intermittent claudication. Angiology 2001;52:115–25.

2. Castano G, Mas R, Roca J, et al. A double-blind, placebo-controlled study of the effects of policosanol in patients with intermittent claudication. Angiology 1999;50:123–30.

3. Castano G, Mas Ferreiro R, Fernandez L, et al. A long-term study of policosanol in the treatment of intermittent claudication. Angiology 2001;52:115–25.

4. Carbajal D, Arruzazabala ML, Valdes S, Mas Ferreiro R. Effect of policosanol on platelet aggregation and serum levels of arachidonic acid metabolites in healthy volunteers. Prostaglandins Leukot Essent Fatty Acids 1998;58:61–4.

5. Arruzazabala ML, Valdes S, Mas R, et al. Comparative study of policosanol, aspirin and the combination therapy policosanol-aspirin on platelet aggregation in healthy volunteers.Pharmacol Res1997;36:293–7.

6. Arruzazabala ML, Valdes S, Mas R, et al . Effect of policosanol successive dose increases on platelet aggregation in healthy volunteers. Pharmacol Res 1996;34:181–5.

7. Gouni-Berthold I, Berthold HK. Policosanol: clinical pharmacology and therapeutic significance of a new lipid-lowering agent. Am Heart J 2002;143:356–65 [review].

8. Mirkin A, Mas R, Martinto M, et al. Efficacy and tolerability of policosanol in hypercholesterolemic postmenopausal women. Int J Clin Pharmacol Res 2001;21:31-41.

9. Castano G, Mas R, Fernandez L et al. Effects of policosanol 20 versus 40 mg/day in the treatment of patients with type II hypercholesterolemia: A 6-month double-blind study. Int J Clin Pharmacol Res 2001;21:43–57.

10. Mas R, Castano G, Illnait J, et al. Effects of policosanol in patients with type II hypercholesterolemia and additional coronary risk factors. Clin Pharmacol Ther 1999;65:439–47.

11. Torres O, Agramonte AJ, Illnait J, et al. Treatment of hypercholesterolemia in NIDDM with policosanol. Diabetes Care 1995;18:393–7.

12. Canetti M, Moreira M, Mas R, et al. A two-year study on the efficacy and tolerability of policosanol in patients with type II hyperlipoproteinaemia. Int J Clin Pharmacol Res 1995;15:159–65.

13. Aneiros E, Calderson B, Más R, et al. Effect of successive dose increases of policosanol on the lipid profile and tolerability of treatment. Curr Ther Res 1993;54:304–12.

14. Pons P, Rodríquez M, Más R, et al. One-year efficacy and safety of policosanol in patients with type II hypercholesterolemia. Curr Ther Res 1994;55:1084–92.

15. Castano G, Canetti M, Moreira M, et al. Efficacy and tolerability of policosanol in elderly patients with type II hypercholesterolemia: a 12-month study. Curr Ther Res 1995;56:819–23.

16. Castano G, Tula L, Canetti M, et al. Effects of policosanol in hypertensive patients with type II hypercholesterolemia. Curr Ther Res 1996;57:691–5.

17. Fernandez JC, Mas R, Castano G, et al. Comparison of the efficacy, safety and tolerability of policosanol versus fluvastatin in elderly hypercholesterolaemic women. Clin Drug Invest 2001;21:103–13.

18. Castano G, Mas R, Fernandez JC, et al. Efficacy and tolerability of policosanol compared with lovastatin in patients with type II hypercholesterolemia and concomitant coronary risk factors. Curr Ther Res 2000;61:137–46.

19. Alcocer L, Fernandez L, Campos E, Mas Ferreiro R. A comparative study of policosanol Versus acipimox in patients with type II hypercholesterolemia.Int J Tissue React 1999;21:85–92.

20. Crespo N, Illnait J, Mas R, et al. Comparative study of the efficacy and tolerability of policosanol and lovastatin in patients with hypercholesterolemia and noninsulin dependent diabetes mellitus. Int J Clin Pharmacol Res 1999;19:117–27.

21. Castano G, Mas R, Arruzazabala ML, et al. Effects of policosanol and pravastatin on lipid profile, platelet aggregation and endothelemia in older hypercholesterolemic patients. Int J Clin Pharmacol Res 1999;19:105–16.

22. Ortensi G, Gladstein J, Valli H, et al. A comparative study of policosanol versus simvastatin in elderly patients with hypercholesterolemia. Curr Ther Res 1997;58:390–401.

23. Benitez M, Romero C, Mas R, et al. A comparative study of policosanol versus pravastatin in patients with type II hypercholesterolemia. Curr Ther Res 1997;58:859–67.

24. Menendez R, Arruzazabala L, Más R, et al. Cholesterol-lowering effect of policosanol on rabbits with hypercholesterolaemia induced by a wheat starch-casein diet. Br J Nutr 1997;77:923–32.

25. Gouni-Berthold I, Berthold HK. Policosanol: clinical pharmacology and therapeutic significance of a new lipid-lowering agent. Am Heart J 2002;143:356–65 [review].

26. Gouni-Berthold I, Berthold HK. Policosanol: clinical pharmacology and therapeutic significance of a new lipid-lowering agent. Am Heart J2002;143:356–65 [review].

27. Mirkin A, Mas R, Martinto M, et al. Efficacy and tolerability of policosanol in hypercholesterolemic postmenopausal women. Int J Clin Pharmacol Res 2001;21:31–41.

28. Castano G, Mas R, Fernandez JC, et al. Effects of policosanol in older patients with type II hypercholesterolemia and high coronary risk. J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci 2001;56:M186–92.

29. Castano G, Mas R, Fernandez L et al. Effects of policosanol 20 versus 40 mg/day in the treatment of patients with type II hypercholesterolemia: A 6-month double-blind study. Int J Clin Pharmacol Res 2001;21:43–57.

30. Aneiros E, Calderon B, Más R, et al. Effect of successive dose increases of policosanol on the lipid profile and tolerability of treatment. Curr Ther Res1993;54:304–12.

31. Pons P, Rodríquez M, Más R, et al. One-year efficacy and safety of policosanol in patients with type II hypercholesterolemia. Curr Ther Res 1994;55:1084–92.

32. Castano G, Canetti M, Moreira M, et al. Efficacy and tolerability of policosanol in elderly patients with type II hypercholesterolemia: a 12-month study. Curr Ther Res 1995;56:819–28.

33. Castano G, Tula L, Canetti M, et al. Effects of policosanol in hypertensive patients with type II hypercholesterolemia. Curr Ther Res 1996;57:691–9.

34. Mas R, Castano G, Illnait J, et al. Effects of policosanol in patients with type II hypercholesterolemia and additional coronary risk factors. Clin Pharmacol Ther1999;65:439–47.

35. Torres O, Agramonte AJ, Illnait J, et al. Treatment of hypercholesterolemia in NIDDM with policosanol. Diabetes Care 1995;18:393–7.

36. Canetti M, Moreira M, Mas R, et al. A two-year study on the efficacy and tolerability of policosanol in patients with type II hyperlipoproteinaemia. Int J Clin Pharmacol Res 1995;15:159–65.

37. Cubeddu LX, Cubeddu RJ, Heimowitz T, et al. Comparative lipid-lowering effects of policosanol and atorvastatin: a randomized, parallel, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. Am Heart J 2006;152:982.e1–982.e5.

38. Dulin MF, Hatcher LF, Sasser HC, Barringer TA. Policosanol is ineffective in the treatment of hypercholesterolemia: a randomized controlled trial. Am J Clin Nutr 2006;84:1543–8.

39. Kassis AN, Jones PJH. Lack of cholesterol-lowering efficacy of Cuban sugar cane policosanols in hypercholesterolemic persons. Am J Clin Nutr 2006;84:1003–8.

40. Francini-Pesenti F, Beltramolli D, Dall'Acqua S, Brocadello F. Effect of sugar cane policosanol on lipid profile in primary hypercholesterolemia. Phytother Res 2008;22:318¬22.

41. Berthold HK, Unverdorben S, Degenhardt R, et al. Effect of policosanol on lipid levels among patients with hypercholesterolemia or combined hyperlipidemia: a randomized controlled trial. JAMA 2006;295:2262–9.

42. Arruzazabala ML, Valdes S, Mas R, et al. Comparative study of policosanol, aspirin and the combination therapy policosanol-aspirin on platelet aggregation in healthy volunteers.Pharmacol Res 1997;36:293–7.

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