Policosanol
Side Effects, Safety, Benefits, sugar cane, Research study    October 22, 2011
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 polycosanol) could lower triglyceride and cholesterol contents in the liver.[4] In 1987, a study
demonstrated that high doses of hexacosanol (a polycosanol) 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 polycosanol 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] 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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Further Study about policosanol's effect on cholesterol level
McCarty MF combined policosanol and ezetimibe to reduce LDL cholesterol by about 40%. [12] Policosanol intensifies
the cholesterol-lowering effect and platelet aggregation of omega-3 fatty acids in rabbits. [15]

Compared to statins, policosanol exhibits comparable cholesterol-lowering effects and it is well tolerated in animals.
Researchers demonstrated that policosanol (10 mg/day) was even slightly more effective than lovastatin (20 mg/day) in
reducing the LDL-C/HDL-C and total cholesterol/HDL-C ratios, in increasing HDL-C levels and in preventing LDL
oxidation. Nikitin IuP et al concluded that the hypolipidemic effect of policosanol in a daily dose of 10 mg is superior to
that of besafibrate in a daily dose of 400 mg from their study of 113 patients with hypercholesterolemia.
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Policosanol Benefits

[INTERMITTENT CLAUDICATION
Policosanol may have benefits on reducing the symptoms of intermittent claudication. [16] In a double-blind,
placebo-controlled study of 31 patients, policosanol was shown to be effective on intermittent claudication. [17] In
another study, policosanol was shown to be as effective as ticlopidinefor improving walking distances patients suffered
from intermittent claudication. [18] Policosanol may also has a better benefits on patients suffered from with intermittent
claudication than lovastatin. [19]

CARDIOVASCULAR CONDITIONS
Policosanol may benefit people at risk of cardiovascular conditions. In a rat study, it inhibits platelet aggregation after 4
weeks treatment. [20] In another study, policosanol was administered at 20 mg/day for 7 days significantly inhibited
platelet aggregation, while the low policosanol dosage (5 mg/day) was ineffective. No adverse-effects were reported.
[21] In one study, policosanol combined with aspirin reduced platelet aggregation significantly in study of healthy
subjects. [22] while, in another study, polycosanol together with aspirin significantly protected Mongolian gerbils from
cerebral ischemia. [23]

There are more evidence for policosanol benefits on cardiovascular conditions. Such as, policosanol inhibited lipid
peroxidation in experimental models and human beings. [24] In a study, policosanol showed a protective effect on
atherosclerotic lesions in a study of 54 Wistar rats. [25] while, in another study, policosanol increased in the oxidative
capacity in the muscle of exercise-trained rats. [26] Policosanol combined beta-blockers provided additional benefits on
blood pressure lowering in elderly with high cholesterol levels. [27] And, policosanol delayed the onset of infarction or
myocardial necrosis induced by isoprenaline in animal studies. [28]

BONE CONDITIONS
Policosanol may provide benefits on bone health in general. Policosanol reduced the thrombus weight in rats. [29]
Policosanol elevated the weight of thymus, improved biomechanical properties of the femur in rats. [30] Policosanol
prevented bone loss in postmenopausal women. [31]
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POLICOSANOL SAFETY ISSUES

POLICOSANOL SIDE EFFECTS
In most cases, policosanol side effects were not observed. However, one study indicated that policosanol produced
adverse side effects in 0.31% of the population and the adverse side effects included weight loss, excessive urination
and insomina. Policosanol side effect and safety issue from various studies are summarized as follows:

Animal [Non-human] Studies
Policosanol was safe in the animal studies. Basically, policosanol was well-tolerated and accepted with no toxic
symptoms (including signs of cancer)  to animals such as mice, rats, dogs and monkeys. The study periods are from 12
months to 54 months. [A1-5] Toxic nor side effects related to reproduction were not found, after administration from 2
weeks prior to mating and throughout mating and pregnancy to day 21 of lactation. [A6]

Human Studies
HEALTHY HUMAN SUBJECT Researchers applied single doses (5-50 mg) to healthy volunteers. Policosanol
administered at 20 mg/day for 7 days significantly inhibited platelet aggregation. No toxic nor side effects were
observed. .[32] In another study, long-term tolerability of policosanol in 2252 elderly patients at high vascular risk was
found to be acceptable. No serious toxic nor side effects were reported in the study. In another study, policosanol was
well tolerated and safe in a study of 4596 patients. No serious adverse nor side effects were found. [33]

In a two-year study on the efficacy and tolerability (i.e.safety), researchers supplied 5 mg of polycosanol twice-a-day to
69 patients suffered from type II hyperlipoproteinaemia. They found reduction in LDL-C and cholesterol, no
drug-related clinical or biochemcial adverse effects but mild, transient adverse experiences. [34] In another study,
Nikitin IuP et al, compared efficacy and tolerance of polycosanol vs besafibrate in 113 patients with
hypercholesterolemia. 59 patients received polycosanol (10 mg/day), 54 patients were given besafibrate (400 mg/day)
for 8 weeks. After 8-week course of treatment, daily 10 mg of policosanol is more effective on cholesterol-lowering.
And,  the adverse effects in the group taking polycosanol were mild. [35] In one study, policosanol combined with
ezetimibe reduced LDL cholesterol without adverse effects. [36] Finally, one report says policosanol side-effects may
include skin rash, headache, insomnia and gastrointestinal disturbances. [C1] A long term study reported that
policosanol produced adverse effects in 0.31% of the population and the side effects included weight loss, excessive
urination and insomina. [C2] Policosanol can also affect platelet aggregation, as disscussed above. [C3-C5]
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COMPARISON
Policosanol is more effective than plant sterols and stanols for LDL level reduction in a study of 4596 patients. Plant
sterols, stanols and policosanol are well tolerated and safe. [37]

Compared with statins, policosanols exhibit comparable cholesterol-lowering effects at much smaller doses. [38]

Polycosanol was more effective than lovastatin in reducing cholesterol levels.in a study of patients with dyslipidemia
secondary to type 2 diabetes. [39]

Polycosanol was found to be more effective than Octa-60 (higher aliphatic primary alcohols) in a study of 110 patients
with with type II hypercholesterolemia. [40]

COMBO EFFECT ON CHOLESTEROL LEVELS
Policosanol combined with ezetimibe reduced LDL cholesterol by about 40%. [41]
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DOSE LIMITATION OF POLICOSANOL
Policosanol at a dose of 40 mg/day does not offer significant additional cholesterol-lowering efficacy over the 20
mg/day dose in a 6-month study. [42]
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SOURCE OF POLICOSANOL
Policosanol Sources include sugarcane, beewax, wheat germ and alfalfa. Wheat germ policosanol failed to lower
cholesterol levels in 58 with normal to mildly elevated plasma cholesterol concentrations. [43] Researchers at
Oklahoma State University found that wheat varieties grown under identical conditions differed significantly in
policosanol content and composition. The policosanol content of wheat bran was higher than that of the germ, shorts
and flour. The Trego and Intrada varieties had the highest policosanol components in all varieties studied.
Tetracosanol, hexacosanol and octacosanol were the major policosanol components in all varieties. [44]There are also
conflicting results with sugar cane policosanols on cholesterol lowering effects.
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Policosanol 4 hour body
The 4-Hour Body is claimed to be an uncommon guide to rapid fast-loss, incredible sex etc. However, according to the
AD, most of the experiments was done with a single subject, and this is the author of the book. The work can not be
found in scientific journals (as of October 23, 2011). Further, negative comments were found in Amazon.com.
                                                            
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