Articles

Policosanol

Introduction

Policosanol is a natural compound derived from sugar cane wax and recent research has focused on its potential cholesterol-lowering effects. A new proprietary form of policosanol has been developed that is made from beeswax, which is reported to be a more stable form than other products.

Dosage Info

Dosage Range

5-20mg daily.

Most Common Dosage

5mg, 2 times a day.

Dosage Forms

Tablets and capsules.

Interactions and Depletions

Interactions

Reported Uses

As mentioned, most of the research on policosanol has centered on its possible role in the reduction of blood cholesterol levels. (1) , (2) , (3) , (4) In fact, according to one human study, policosanol may rival the effectiveness of certain pharmaceutical cholesterol-lowering medications including lovastatin and simvastatin. (5) Additionally, policosanol’s cholesterol fighting potential may support cardiovascular health in patients with non-insulin-dependent diabetes. (6) , (7)

Other studies suggest that policosanol may further support general cardiovascular health by helping the body maintain proper blood flow through the circulatory system when problems may exist. This possible benefit is related to policosanol's affect on platelet aggregation, reducing the ability of the platelets to clump together, thicken the blood and if necessary forming a clot. (8) , (9) Some people take aspirin daily to accomplish this very effect. In fact a study has even indicated a possible advantage for combined policosanol and aspirin therapy. (10) Because of this potential for supporting the circulatory system, policosanol may also benefit patients suffering from intermittent claudication, (11) , (12) , (13) a disease that constricts blood flow to the lower limbs.

Studies have also looked at policosanol’s possible role as an antioxidant in the cardiovascular system. It may exert this effect by limiting the oxidation of fat molecules in the blood stream. (14)

Toxicities & Precautions

Introduction

[span class=alert]Be sure to tell your pharmacist, doctor, or other health care providers about any dietary supplements you are taking. There may be a potential for interactions or side effects.[/span]

General

This dietary supplement is considered safe when used in accordance with proper dosing guidelines. (15) , (16)

If you are planning to have any type of surgery or dental work, stop using this dietary supplement for at least 14 days prior to the procedure.

Health Conditions

If you have a bleeding disorder talk to your doctor before taking this dietary supplement.

Pregnancy / Breast Feeding

To date, the medical literature has not reported any adverse effects related to fetal development during pregnancy or to infants who are breast-fed. Yet little is known about the use of this dietary supplement while pregnant or breast-feeding. Therefore, it is recommended that you inform your healthcare practitioner of any dietary supplements you are using while pregnant or breast-feeding.

Age Limitations

To date, the medical literature has not reported any adverse effects specifically related to the use of this dietary supplement in children. Since young children may have undiagnosed allergies or medical conditions, this dietary supplement should not be used in children under 10 years of age unless recommended by a physician.

References

  1. View Abstract: Mas R, et al. Effects of policosanol in patients with type II hypercholesterolemia and additional coronary risk factors. Clin Pharmacol Ther. Apr1999;65(4):439-47.
  2. View Abstract: Castano G, Mas R, Fernandez L, et al. Effects of policosanol on postmenopausal women with type II hypercholesterolemia. Gynecol Endocrinol. Jun2000;14(3):187-95.
  3. View Abstract: Pons P, Rodriguez M, Robaina C, et al. Effects of successive dose increases of policosanol on the lipid profile of patients with type II hypercholesterolaemia and tolerability to treatment. Int J Clin Pharmacol Res. 1994;14(1):27-33.
  4. View Abstract: 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. Mar 2001;56(3):M186-92.
  5. View Abstract: Prat H, et al. Comparative effects of policosanol and two HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors on type II hypercholesterolemia. Rev Med Chil. Mar1999;127(3):286-94.
  6. View Abstract: Torres O, et al. Treatment of hypercholesterolemia in NIDDM with policosanol. Diabetes Care. Mar1995;18(3):393-7.
  7. View Abstract: Mas R, Castano G, Fernandez J, et al. Long- term effects of policosanol on older patients with Type 2 diabetes. Asia Pac J Clin Nutr. 2004;13(Suppl):S101.
  8. View Abstract: Carbajal D, et al. Effect of policosanol on platelet aggregation and serum levels of arachidonic acid metabolites in healthy volunteers. Prostaglandins Leukot Essent Fatty Acids. Jan1998;58(1):61-4.
  9. View Abstract: Arruzazabala ML, et al. Effect of policosanol successive dose increases on platelet aggregation in healthy volunteers. Pharmacol Res. Nov1996;34(5-6):181-5.
  10. View Abstract: Arruzazabala ML, et al. Comparative study of policosanol, aspirin and the combination therapy policosanol-aspirin on platelet aggregation in healthy volunteers. Pharmacol Res. Oct1997;36(4):293-7.
  11. View Abstract: Castano G, et al. A double-blind, placebo-controlled study of the effects of policosanol in patients with intermittent claudication. Angiology. Feb1999;50(2):123-30.
  12. View Abstract: Castano G, Mas Ferreiro R, Fernandez L, et al. A long-term study of policosanol in the treatment of intermittent claudication. Angiology. Feb2001;52(2):115-25.
  13. View Abstract: Castano G, Mas R, Gamez R, Fernandez L, Illnait J. Effects of policosanol and ticlopidine in patients with intermittent claudication: a double-blinded pilot comparative study. Angiology. Jul2004;55(4):361-71.
  14. View Abstract: Fraga V, et al. Effect of policosanol on in vitro and in vivo rat liver microsomal lipid peroxidation. Arch Med Res. Sep1997;28(3):355-60.
  15. View Abstract: Aleman CL, et al. Carcinogenicity of policosanol in mice: an 18-month study. Food Chem Toxicol. Jul1995;33(7):573-8.
  16. View Abstract: Mesa AR, et al. Toxicity of policosanol in beagle dogs: one-year study. Toxicol Lett. Aug1994;73(2):81-90.