What are the health benefits of policosanol?

Policosanol is commonly used to help lower high cholesterol, intermittent claudication and to lower high triglycerides levels. Studies show that it can reduce the stickiness of platelet in much the same way Aspirin does. This supplement has been suggested to help prevent heart disease.

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Evidence of Benefits (Leaf Rating System)

leaf rating system natural remedies plant benefit side effects Intermittent Claudication
 
leaf rating system natural remedies plant benefit side effects Heart Disease
Heart Attack


High Cholesterol - Probably not effective
 

Suggested Benefits and Traditional Uses

What is policosanol?

It is a mixture of waxy alcohols that is extracted from plant sources such as sugar cane wax.

Policosanol research studies

High Cholesterol

Extensive research and clinical trials done in Cuba and Latin America countries show that policosanol:

  • lowers high cholesterol 17% to 21%
  • lowers the “bad cholesterol” (LDL)by 21 to 29%
  • increases the “good cholesterol” (HDL) by 7% to 29%

Policosanol is used extensively in Cuba and South American countries to help lower high cholesterol.

However, more recent studies were not able to show the cholesterol-lowering benefits of policosanol found in previous research studies.

Heart Disease

Early studies showed that peoples suffering from coronary heart disease got some benefits from taking policosanol. It helped to reduce angina symptoms during rest and exercise and enhanced oxygen intake capacity.

These are promising findings but more research needs to be done to confirm this.

Intermittent Claudication

Two well-designed clinical research showed that taking 10 mg twice daily of policosanol improved the walking distance of those suffering from intermittent claudication by 50%. Experts believe it is due to the improved blood circulation in the legs.

What are the side effects of policosanol?

There are few reported side effects of policosanol and it is generally well-tolerated. Some reported side effects include rash, upset stomach and dizziness.

What interactions are known with policosanol?

When combined with Aspirin (ASA) it may increase bleeding time. Experts suggest not taking policosanol with blood thinners or Aspirin.

Dose to Use

The typical dosage used in clinical studies is between 5 to 10 mg twice daily. Dose as high as 80 mg daily have been used.  

References

Updated: June 22, 2010