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Policosanol is a mixture of long-chain alcohols (waxes), including octacosanol, extracted from natural sources.
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This supplement has been used in connection with the following health conditions:
10 mg twice per day
Supplementing with policosanol may reduce platelet stickiness and improve walking capacity.
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. When policosanol was taken continuously for two years, walking capacity more than doubled. This effect may be related to the ability of policosanol to reduce the stickiness of platelets, which could result in improved circulation.
10 to 20 mg daily
Policosanol may be helpful in normalizing triglyceride levels.
The effect of policosanol on serum triglycerides has been inconsistent, ranging from no effect up to as much as a 19% reduction. Several controlled studies have compared policosanol with cholesterol-lowering medications, such as statins, and have found policosanol similarly effective. 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.
Refer to label instructions
Policosanol may affect cholesterol levels by inhibiting cholesterol production by the liver but most research has casted doubt on its effectiveness.
Test tube and animal studies indicate that policosanol is capable of inhibiting cholesterol production by the liver. 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). 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, Canada, Italy, and Germany 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.
Policosanol is not an essential nutrient, so no deficiencies are possible.
Interactions with Supplements, Foods, & Other Compounds
When policosanol is combined with aspirin, an increased blood-thinning effect occurs.1 This suggests that policosanol should not be taken with blood-thinning drugs without the supervision of a doctor.
Interactions with Medicines
Last Review: 06-03-2015
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The information presented by Healthnotes is for informational purposes only. It is based on scientific studies (human, animal, or in vitro), clinical experience, or traditional usage as cited in each article. The results reported may not necessarily occur in all individuals. For many of the conditions discussed, treatment with prescription or over the counter medication is also available. Consult your doctor, practitioner, and/or pharmacist for any health problem and before using any supplements or before making any changes in prescribed medications. Information expires December 2017.
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