policosanol (generic name)

treats Platelet aggregation inhibition, Reactivity/brain activity, Intermittent claudication, High cholesterol, and Coronary Heart Disease
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Herbs & Supplements

Synonyms

Hexacontanol, isopolicosanol, Octa-6, Octa-60, octacosanoic acid, octacosanol, policosanol, Ricewax, SCP, SFP, SFP winteriser cake, sugar cane policosanol, sunflower seed policosanols, triacontanol, wheat germ policosanol.

Background

Policosanol is a cholesterol-lowering natural mixture of primary alcohols, isolated and purified from sugar cane wax. Policosanol is safe and well tolerated, even in populations with high use of concomitant medications.

Lipid profile improvements with the use of policosanol are seen in healthy volunteers, patients with type II hypercholesterolemia (high cholesterol), type 2 diabetics with hypercholesterolemia, postmenopausal women with hypercholesterolemia, and patients with combined hypercholesterolemia and abnormal liver function tests. However, there is controversy in this are based on recent negative evidence.

Policosanol has performed equal to or better than simvastatin, pravastatin, lovastatin, probucol, or acipimox with fewer side effects in patients with type II hypercholesterolemia.

Policosanol was approved for use in Cuba in 1991. Currently it is used in more than 25 countries throughout the world, mainly in South America and in the Caribbean region.

Evidence

DISCLAIMER: These uses have been tested in humans or animals. Safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider.

Platelet aggregation inhibition: Various studies have investigated the effect of policosanol on platelet aggregation. In general, studies suggest policosanol inhibits platelet aggregation induced by collagen and arachidonic acid.
Grade: A

Coronary Heart Disease (CHD): The effects of policosanol supplementation on exercise-ECG testing responses have been studied in individuals with coronary heart disease (CHD). Beneficial changes were noted in functional capacity, rest and exercise angina (chest pain), cardiac events and maximum oxygen uptake. Although this represents early compelling evidence, further research is necessary before a clear conclusion can be reached.
Grade: B

Intermittent claudication (IC): There is limited study of the effects of policosanol supplementation on walking distance in individuals with intermittent claudication. Additional human trials are necessary before a strong recommendation can be made.
Grade: B

High cholesterol: Policosanol has been used and recommended to treat high cholesterol (hypercholesterolemia). Many studies have tested the effects of policosanol on cholesterol levels, and have found benefits. However, some newer research suggests that policosanol may not be as beneficial as previously thought.
Grade: C

Reactivity/brain activity: The effects of policosanol supplementation on reactivity and related brain activity have been examined. Although there is early compelling evidence, further research is necessary before a clear conclusion can be reached.
Grade: C

Tradition

WARNING: DISCLAIMER: The below uses are based on tradition, scientific theories, or limited research. They often have not been thoroughly tested in humans, and safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider. There may be other proposed uses that are not listed below.
Antiangiogenesis, antioxidant, atheroma (fatty material that builds up in the arteries and may lead to heart problems), atherosclerotic lesions (disease of arterial blood vessels), cerebral ischemia (lack of adequate blood flow to the brain), cerebrovascular disorders (disorders of the blood vessels in the brain), heart damage, high blood pressure, iatrogenic lipodystrophy (defective metabolism), liver damage, postmenopausal osteoporosis, stroke prevention, tumor (granuloma).
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