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Policosanol Sugar Cane
October 22, 2011
Sugar cane policosanols (SCP) have been shown to exert antioxidant properties in various studies conducted in Cuba.
Independent studies have since reported no significant effect of Sugar cane policosanols consumption on oxidized LDL
levels.

Animal Study on Policosanol, Sugar Cane
Murphy KJ and colleagues, University of South Australia, conducted a study to evaluate the potential for a mixture of
policosanol extracted from sunflower oil to lower blood cholesterol levels in comparison to sugar cane policosanol in
rabbits. In the study, 23 Semi-lop rabbits were blocked into three groups matched on fasting plasma cholesterol levels
then randomly assigned to one of three parallel treatment arms. Total cholesterol, non-HDL and HDL cholesterol
increased significantly following sugar cane policosanol supplementation relative to the control. Sunflower oil
supplementation had no effect. Dietary supplementation of normocholesterolemic rabbits with policosanol from
sunflower oil does not appear to have any cholesterol lowering effect. A similar lack of efficacy observed with the
commercial sugar cane policosanol product which we evaluated raises doubts about the purported cholesterol-lowering
efficacy of these products, as reflected in the current literature. [2] Dullens SP and colleagues at Maastricht University,
The Netherlands, present that neither the individual policosanol components (C24, C26, C28 sugar cane, or C30) nor
the natural policosanol mixture (all 30 mg/100 g diet) lowered serum cholesterol concentrations in LDL receptor
knock-out (LDLr(+/-)) mice. None of the individual policosanols or their respective long-chain fatty acids or aldehydes
affected de novo apoA-I protein production in vitro in HepG2 and CaCo-2 cells. They concluded that the evaluated
individual policosanols, as well as the natural policosanol mixture, have no potential for reducing coronary heart
disease risk through effects on serum lipoprotein concentrations. [P6]

Clinical Studies on Policosanol, Sugar Cane
A study led by Kassis AN and colleagues from McGill University, Canada, found policosanol, sugar cane, did not reduce
LDL oxidation in hypercholesterolemic individuals. The objective of the study was to confirm the effects of Cuban Sugar
cane policosanols on LDL oxidation using a high-precision capture ELISA procedure in hypercholesterolemic
individuals. Twenty-one otherwise healthy hypercholesterolemic men and post-menopausal women participated in a
randomized double blind crossover study where they received
10 mg/day of policosanol or a placebo incorporated in
margarine as an evening snack for a period of 28 days. Subjects maintained their usual dietary and exercise habits
throughout the duration of the study. Blood was collected on the first as well as the last 2 days of the trial. LDL oxidation
was measured from plasma using a solid phase two-site enzyme immunoassay. A lack of effect of Sugar cane
policosanols was observed on LDL cholesterol levels, as well as no difference in LDL oxidation between the Sugar cane
policosanols treatment and placebo at the end of the intervention period. Subject body weights remained stable
throughout the study and showed no significant correlation with LDL oxidation levels. Absolute levels of plasma LDL
cholesterol were significantly correlated with plasma concentrations of oxidized LDL. The findings of the study suggest
that Sugar cane policosanols do not significantly affect LDL oxidation. [P1, P4]

Another study led by Francini-Pesenti F,A at al, Azienda Ospedaliera, Italy, was performed in hypercholesterolaemic,
diet-resistant patients on polycosanol, sugar cane. Seventy patients meeting the selection criteria were enrolled. Each
subject was treated with policosanol
10 mg/d in addition to a dietetic regimen for 8 weeks. Thirty-three subjects in the
policosanol and Thirty-one subjects in the control group completed the study. During the study body mass index, total
cholesterol, HDL-cholesterol, LDL-cholesterol and triglycerides plasma levels did not change significantly within and
between groups. In conclusion, sugar cane policosanol at a dose of 10mg/d showed no lipid lowering effects in subjects
with primitive, diet-resistant hypercholesterolaemia. [P3]

Francini-Pesenti F also reported another study on the effect of polycosanol, sugar cane, on lipid profile. In the study,
68 primary hypercholesterolemic subjects were enrolled and randomly assigned to the treatment or to the control
group. The first group received sugar cane policosanol 20 mg daily for 8 weeks, while the control group was treated
with placebo. All subjects followed a normocaloric diet. The content of policosanol, sugar cane, in the supplement
tablets was assessed by gas chromatography. A total of 32 subjects in the policosanol group and 31 subjects in the
control group completed the study. Body mass index, total cholesterol, HDL-cholesterol, LDL-cholesterol and
triglyceride plasma levels did not change significantly in either group. They concluded that sugar cane policosanol at
doses of
20 mg daily showed no lipid lowering effects in subjects with primary hypercholesterolemia. [P5]
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POLICOSANOL
Policosanol is a mixture of primary aliphatic alcohols-tetracosanol, hexacosanol, heptacosanol, octacosanol,
nonacosanol, triacontanol, dotriacontanol and tetratriacontanol [Patent 5663156]. The manufacturing method for
policosanol include ethanol extraction and purification. Its melting point is 70-82C. Policosanol is insoluble in water. Most
clinical trials suggest policosanol may decrease cholesterol levels. Policosanol may help prevent atherosclerotic lesions
and cerebral ischemia in Mongolian gerbils.[1]

Early study about policosanol's effect on cholesterol level
In 1984, sugar cane wax was demonstrated to be able to lower lipid in rodents.[2,3] Later, another study demonstrated
that octacosanol (a policosanol) could lower triglyceride and cholesterol contents in the liver.[4] In 1987, a study
demonstrated that high doses of hexacosanol (a policosanol) had cholesterol lowering effects. [5] Thus, policosanol was
"suspected" to be able to benefit people with a high cholesterol profile.

In 1994, Cuban researchers reported that policosanol inhibited the cholesterol synthesis at early steps of cholesterol
biosynthetic pathway in a study of human lung fibroblasts. They also reported that policosanol lowered the total
cholesterol mainly through a decrease in LDL-C levels in a study of rabbits. They filed the first patent on the policosanol
composition.[6-8] In 1996, the Cuban researchers reported that oral policosanol could inhibit hepatic cholesterol
biosynthesis in rats.[9] Two years later, a group filed a patent on a composition containing policosanol to reduce serum
cholesterol levels.[10] Policosanol reduced cholesterol levels in patients suffered from type II hypercholesterolaemia.
[13]

Mechanism
In 2001, the Cuban researchers transferred fibroblast to a lipid-depleted medium to accelerate cholesterol synthesis.
Addition of policosanol retarded the cholesterol synthesis in a dose-dependent manner. [11]
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