Policosanol has been touted as a dietary supplement that can lower cholesterol as well as statin drugs, without the side effects.
Studies indicate that it works by inhibiting cholesterol formation in the liver. * More clinical studies below….
A typical dosage of policosanol used in studies has been 5 to 10 mg two times a day. Studies generally found that it can take up to two months to notice benefits. So do not be fooled by other information floating out there. Policosanol works by itself. Nothing more is needed in this pill, just 20 mg of Policosanol.
Marcia Angell, former editor of the New England Journal of Medicine and author of "The Truth About the Drug Companies" gives us some revealing clues:
· The makers of Lipitor and Zocor alone spent $150 million on advertising in one year alone in 2000.
· The pharmaceutical giants employed 88,000 sales representatives in 2001 to "visit" doctors, promote their products and provide them with free samples. That comes out to one drug rep for every 6 practicing physicians!
· Medical protocol dictates that statin drugs are automatically prescribed as the "standard of care" regardless of the need.
· Physicians have never studied Policosanol research. Most doctors know little or nothing about the Policosanol benefits.
Recent Policosanol Benefits Clinical Studies
Policosanol has shown to be more effective than Zocor and other statin drugs.
Reported in New Hope Natural Media, 6/6/02
"In a six-month study, 10 mg per day of Policosanol reduced total cholesterol by 16% and LDL cholesterol by 24%, and increased HDL cholesterol by 29%."
Several other studies have compared this cholesterol-lowering supplement with some of the conventional medications used to reduce cholesterol and the results have shown that of 5 to 20 mg per day to be more effective than Lovastatin (Mevacor®), pravastatin (Pravachol®)and Simvastatin (Zocor®).
Double-Blind Study Comparing Policosanol to Statin Drugs
In a 1997 head-to-head study, Policosanol was compared with statin drugs lovastatin (Mevacor), simvastatin (Zocor) and pravastatin (Pravachol)
Policosanol and ZOCOR were found to be equally effective in lowering cholesterol during an eight-week study...but Policosanol benefits also included significantly increased HDL-cholesterol levels and Zocor did not.
The side effects of these statin drugs
University of California San Diego Study.
The following study which was put together by a group of scientists, doctors and students at the University Of California San Diego School Of Medicine pulls no punches in analyzing the side effects of Lipitor, Zocor, Crestor, Vytorin and similar statin drugs.
· Changes in liver function.
· Muscle symptoms are common Lipitor side effects.
· Memory and Concentration. Some people report changes in memory, attention, or concentration on statins. Some describe "holes in their memory" and worry that they are developing Alzheimer's.
· Depression and Irritability. Many people report depression and changes in mood as Lipitor side effects.
· Low serotonin has been reported as another side effect of statin drugs.
· Tough time swallowing.
· Headaches, Joint and Abdominal Pain.
· Peripheral Neuropathy.
· Sleep problems, sexual function problems, fatigue, dizziness and a sense of detachment are also reported Lipitor side effects.
These Policosanol benefits are not found in statin drugs such as Lipitor and its generic cousins.
· Policosanol doesn’t interfere with sex life as statins often do.
· Policosanol increases protective HDL cholesterol levels. Most statin drugs do NOT improve HDLs. HDL cholesterol levels typically increase by 15 to 25% after only two months of Policosanol use.
· The "good" HDL cholesterol is the "Superman" heart protector. HDL cholesterol acts like a miniature hydraulic vacuum cleaner, streaming through your arteries scooping up the heart-stopping LDL cholesterol, and carrying it back to your liver where it can be dealt with.
1. HDLs also douse the fires of inflammation. It is this smoldering inflammation and oxidation that causes the cholesterol in our arteries to turn rancid and clog our arteries.
2. Scientific studies also show that people with the highest levels of HDL cholesterol live longest!
New studies show that oxidation and inflammation are more important contributors to artery-clogging than just high LDLs alone.
· Lowers Lp(a) cholesterol. Numerous researchers say this is the "worst" form of cholesterol.
· Reduces platelet aggregation (stickiness) which lowers risk of arterial blood clots.
· Improves intermittent claudication (pain in the leg muscles due to inadequate blood supply).
· This all-natural supplement may prevent and reverse atherosclerotic lesions and thrombosis (clotting).
Is Policosanol safe and side effect free?
One of the best Policosanol benefits is the lack of negative side effects. In studies of 27,879 patients (17,225 patients for two years and 10,654 patients for four years), only 86 patients (0.31%) reported adverse effects, the most frequent of which was weight loss.
· Numerous clinical trials show that elderly persons, diabetics and those with liver damage can safely take Policosanol.
· Studies show that this all-natural product made from sugar cane DOES NOT affect blood thinning and there is no interaction between Policosanol and blood-thinning medication such as warfarin.
A mixture of higher aliphatic primary alcohols derived from sugar cane wax has become popular in such places as Cuba for its reputed cholesterol-lowering benefits, energizing effects and enhancement of sexual function. It is also the source of another increasingly popular supplement--octacosanol (the primary long-chain alcohol in policosanol).
There are a number of animal studies suggesting that policosanol can lower cholesterol, that it can inhibit experimentally induced atherosclerotic lesions of cerebral ischemia, that it can help prevent the peroxidation of lipoprotein and inhibit platelet aggregation.
Human studies have been increasing. In one recent study, patients with LDL-cholesterol greater than 160 mg/dl were randomized in a 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." In another recent double-blind study of policosanol's possible effects in hypercholesterolemia, patients received 5 milligrams of policosanol or placebo daily for 12 weeks followed by 10 milligrams of policosanol or placebo for a subsequent 12 weeks. Policosanol (5 and 10 milligrams daily) appeared to significantly reduce LDL-cholesterol (18.2% and 25.6% respectively) and reduce cholesterol (13% and 17.4%). It appeared to raise HDL-cholesterol (15.5% and 28.4%). Triglycerides were unchanged in the first 12-week period but were significantly reduced (5.2%) by the end of the second 12-week period.
Side effects were few and minor. There were 11 serious (7 of these were vascular) adverse events among those taking policosanol. Policosanol appears to significantly reduce platelet aggregation in both healthy and hypercholesterolemic individuals, apparently proving as effective (at 20 milligrams daily doses) as aspirin (100 milligrams per day). The substance also appears to demonstrate a beneficial effect in patients with intermittent claudicating. Long-term therapy (20 months) using 5 milligrams of policosanol twice a day resulted in significant improvement in treadmill exercise performance and exercise — ECG responses in a group of coronary heart disease patients. The addition of 125 milligrams of aspirin daily further enhanced these results. It is hoped that others will confirm these very promising, largely Cuban studies.
Policosanol's reputed efficacy in boosting energy and enhancing sexual function, particularly male sexual function, is entirely anecdotal.
Policosanol is not recommended for children, pregnant women and nursing mothers. Because of possible antithrombotic activity, those taking warfarin and hemophiliacs should exercise caution in the use of policosanol. Policosanol supplementation should be stopped before any surgery.
Mild gastrointestinal side effects, skin rash, headache, insomnia and weight loss have been reported. The incidence of these adverse reactions is low. Policosanol is generally well tolerated.
Except for the possible lowering of serum total cholesterol and LDL-cholesterol, policosanol does not appear to affect any other laboratory test results.
Hypercholesterolemia The majority of policosanol research is on patients with type II hypercholesterolemia. Fifteen randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind studies have shown positive results. (15-29) Significant decreases in total cholesterol (TC) (8-23%), LDL (11.3-27.5%), LDL/HDL (15.3-38.3%), and TC/HDL (9.1-30.5%) were observed in all trials. Of the 13 trials measuring HDL, seven showed significant increases and in six HDL was unchanged. Doses ranged from 2-40 mg/day, with decreases in TC, LDL, LDL/HDL, and TC/HDL and increases in HDL being dose-dependent up to 20 mg/day, with no further benefit at 40 mg/day. However, 40 mg/day significantly decreased triglycerides (TG), which was not seen with lower doses. (28)
Policosanol was effective in three studies on patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus and hypercholesterolemia. (30-32) All three trials used 5 mg twice daily for 12 weeks. Total cholesterol was reduced by 14-29 percent, LDL was reduced by 20-44 percent, LDL/ HDL ratio was reduced by 24-52 percent, and HDL was increased by 8-24 percent. No adverse effect on glycemic control was noted in any of the studies. In trials comparing policosanol with lovastatin (20 mg/ day), policosanol performed significantly better at raising HDL and lowering the LDL/HDL ratio. (32,33)
Two studies with a total of 300 patients indicate policosanol is effective in postmenopausal women with hyperlipidemia. (34,35) Both studies started with 5 mg daily, which was later increased (at week 8 in one study. (34) and week 12 in the other (33)) to 10 mg daily for a period of eight or 12 more weeks. At the end of the 5-mg portion, TC, LDL, LDL/HDL, and TC/HDL decreased by 13-20 percent, 17-18 percent, 17.0-17.2 percent, and 16.3-16.7 percent, respectively, whereas HDL was unchanged in one trial and increased by 16.5 percent in the other. At the end of the 10-mg/day period policosanol supplementation resulted in decreased TC, LDL, LDL/HDL, and TC/ HDL by 17-20 percent, 25-28 percent, 27-30 percent, and 21-27 percent, respectively, and increased HDL 7-29 percent. Significantly more side effects were seen in the placebo group in each trial.
In comparative trials policosanol generated lipid profiles similar to simvastatin, (36,37) pravastatin, (10,38) lovastatin, (32,35,39) probucol, (40) acipimox, (41) and atorvastatin. (42) First, two trials on patients with type II hypercholesterolemia, comparing low dose simvastatin (5 or 10 mg/day) and moderate dose policosanol (5 or 10 mg/day), demonstrated that both substances greatly improved lipid profiles with no significant differences in results or side effects between the groups. (36,37) Second, policosanol (10 mg/day) compared favorably to low-dose pravastatin (10 mg/day) in patients with type II hypercholesterolemia in two studies. (10,38) In one trial. Policosanol-treated patients had significantly greater decreases in LDL, LDL/HDL, TC/HDL, and increases in HDL, (38) while in another trial policosanol-treated patients had significantly greater increases in HDL. (10) The pravastatin group had more side effects in both studies. A study comparing policosanol to lovastatin in patients with type 2 diabetes and hypercholesterolemia (type II) found policosanol (10 mg/ day) is more effective at lowering LDL/HDL and increasing HDL than 10 mg/day lovastatin, with significantly fewer side effects. (32) In addition, in patients with type II hypercholesterolemia and concomitant coronary risk factors, policosanol (10 mg/day) decreased LDL/HDL and increased HDL more effectively than 20 mg/day lovastatin, with fewer side effects. (39) Policosanol (5 mg twice daily) also compared favorably to probucol (500 mg twice daily) at reducing TC, LDL, and TG in patients with type II hypercholesterolemia. (40) Again, policosanol (10 mg/day) compared favorably to acipimox (750 mg/day), a niacin derivative, in regard to TC, LDL, LDL/HDL, TC/HDL, and HDL, with fewer side effects. (41) Lastly, policosanol was significantly less effective than atorvastatin (Lipitor) in reducing both LDL and TC, although it was similar in reducing both atherogenic ratios and TG. Atorvastatin, however, significantly increased (p < 0.05) creatine phosphokinase (CPK) and creatinine, whereas policosanol significantly reduced alanine aminotransferase (AST), glucose (p < 0.01), and CPK (p < 0.05) levels. (42) These studies suggest a therapeutic benefit to policosanol in type II hypercholesterolemia, while presenting no adverse effects on the liver.
LifeSource Vitamins - Policosanol - 60 Capsules, a dietary supplement that can lower cholesterol just as well as statin drugs, without the side effects, Cardiovascular Support, lowering cholesterol, cholesterol support.