Policosanol – What Is It?

policosanol bee waxPolicosanol is one of many ingredients in the Tikva product. Policosanol is a unique natural product derived from sugar cane wax and beeswax: It has proved effective at reducing cholesterol levels and for some individuals may be a reasonable natural alternative to the commonly prescribed “statin-type” cholesterol-lowering drugs.


Policosanol Health Benefits

Lower LDL “bad cholesterol” and raise HDL “good cholesterol”

Most research using the sugarcane-derived form of policosanol has been conducted in Cuba, in both animals and humans. The studies showed that it not only reduced cholesterol levels, but also had positive effects on other cardiac risk factors, through actions such as reducing platelet “clumping” and inhibiting the development of atherosclerosis. A 2002 analysis in the American Heart Journal reviewed more than 60 clinical trials of sugar cane-derived policosanol that involved more than 3000 patients. The authors concluded that it is “a very promising phytochemical alternative to classic lipid-lowering agents such as statins.”

statins This could be welcome news for some of the 30 million Americans who are currently using the expensive statin drugs. Some studies indicated that policosanol is not only equal to, but may possibly even be somewhat more effective than statins or fibrates in lowering total and LDL cholesterol and increasing “good” cholesterol, or HDL.

One study showed that patients taking the standard daily 10 mg dose experienced a 17% drop in total cholesterol, a 25.6% drop in LDL cholesterol, and a 28.4% rise in HDL cholesterol. These percentages are equal to results obtained with statin medications.

Some studies confirmed the cholesterol-lowering effects in specific groups, including post-menopausal women, the elderly, and people who have both diabetes and heart disease. In addition, it was effective in treating Intermittent claudication , a condition in which poor circulation in the legs causes severe leg pain during exercise. Because policosanol reduces the tendency of blood to clot by reducing the “stickiness” of blood platelets, the tiny particles involved in clotting, it may help prevent cardiovascular disease in a manner similar to aspirin.


Clinical Studies

Comparing results from taking 10 mg or 20mg of policosanol

clinical trialsPolicosanol has undergone as many clinical trials as most drugs. In studies on people with high cholesterol at high risk of heart disease, it lowered LDL cholesterol 20% in 6 to 12 weeks at 10 mg/day. Total cholesterol was reduced 15%, and HDL increased 7%-28%.

Taking 20 mg/day reduced LDL about 28%, total cholesterol about 20%, and elevated HDL 7%-10%. Triglycerides don’t respond to policosanol.

Life Extension

Policosanol VS. Atorvastatin (Lipitor)

Diabetes mellitus and hypercholesterolaemia increase the risk for coronary heart disease, with type 2 diabetes mellitus being the most prevalent form of diabetes, frequently accompanied by dyslipidaemia. The main goal of dyslipidaemia control in nondiabetic and diabetic patients is to lower elevated low-density lipoprotein-cholesterol (LDL-C) levels.

It is a cholesterol-lowering nutrient, purified from sugarcane wax, with a therapeutic range of 5-20 mg/day, which significantly reduces LDL-C levels.

Atorvastatin is an HMG-CoA reductase inhibitor that, across its dose range (10-80 mg/day), has shown significantly greater lipid-lowering effects than all previously marketed statins.

clinical trialOBJECTIVE: To compare the effects on lipid profile and platelet aggregation of policosanol and atorvastatin in patients with dyslipidaemia due to type 2 diabetes.

PATIENTS AND METHODS: This randomized, single-blind, parallel-group study was conducted in patients with type 2 diabetes (fasting glucose /=3.0 mmol/L). After 6 weeks on a cholesterol-lowering diet, 40 patients were randomised to policosanol or atorvastatin 10mg tablets taken once daily with the evening meal for 8 weeks. Assessments of lipid profile, platelet aggregation tests, safety indicators and adverse events were performed.

RESULTS: After 8 weeks of therapy,

It significantly lowered LDL-C by 25.7% and total cholesterol (TC) by 18.2%. Atorvastatin 10 mg/day decreased LDL-C by 41.9% and TC by 31.5%. Atorvastatin was more effective than policosanol in reducing LDL-C and TC

It also significantly reduced the TC/high-density lipoprotein-cholesterol (HDL-C) ratio (25.2% and triglycerides (15.6%). Atorvastatin lowered TC/HDL-C by 30.5% and triglycerides by 13.9% the reductions on these variables were similar in the two groups.

Policosanol, but not atorvastatin, significantly increased HDL-C (11.1%) the effect being significantly different from that of atorvastatin.

Also, policosanol, but not atorvastatin, significantly inhibited platelet aggregation induced by arachidonic acid 0.75 and 1.5 mmol/L (39.0% and 33.3%, respectively) and by collagen 0.25 and 0.5 mug/mL (15.7% and 28.5%, respectively); these inhibitions were significantly different from the changes that occurred with atorvastatin.

Both treatments were well tolerated, with glycemic control being unaffected. Neither drug impaired physical safety indicators or glucose control indicators (fasting glucose and HbA(1c)).

Atorvastatin significantly increased levels of alanine aminotransferase (ALT) [ Most increases in ALT levels are caused by liver damage -WebMD.COM ] and creatine phosphokinase (CPK) [ levels in the blood may rise when those other tissues are damaged -WebMD.COM], while policosanol did not significantly change any safety indicator.

CONCLUSION: Policosanol (10 mg/day) for 8 weeks was less effective than similar doses of atorvastatin in reducing LDL-C and TC in patients with dyslipidaemia due to type 2 diabetes, but more effective in increasing HDL-C. Both drugs similarly reduced the TC/HDL-C ratio and triglycerides. It showed additional advantages regarding inhibition of platelet aggregation.

-Pub Med

Effects of policosanol in older patients with type II hypercholesterolemia and high coronary risk.

BACKGROUND: The present study was undertaken to investigate the effects of policosanol in older patients with type II hypercholesterolemia and more than one concomitant atherosclerotic risk factor.

hypercholesterolemiaMETHODS: After 6 weeks on a lipid-lowering diet, 179 patients randomly received a placebo or policosanol at doses of 5 followed by 10 mg per day for successive 12-week periods of each dose. It (5 and 10 mg/d) significantly reduced low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C; 16.9% and 24.4%, respectively) and total cholesterol (TC; 12.8% and 16.2%, respectively), while significantly increasing high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C) by 14.6% and 29.1%, respectively.

RESULTS: It significantly decreased the ratios of LDL-C to HDL-C (29.1%) and TC to HDL-C (28%) at study completion, although triglycerides remained unchanged. Policosanol , but not the placebo, significantly improved (p .01) cardiovascular capacity, which was assessed using the Specific Activity Scale. No serious adverse experiences occurred in policosanol patients (p < .01), compared with seven adverse experiences (7.9%) reported by placebo patients.

CONCLUSIONS: This study shows that policosanol is effective, safe, and well tolerated in older hypercholesterolemic patients.

-Life Extension

Efficacy and tolerability of policosanol in hypercholesterolemic postmenopausal women.

older womanThis randomized, double-blind, multicenter placebo-controlled study was conducted to investigate the efficacy and tolerability of policosanol , a cholesterol-lowering drug purified from sugar cane wax, in women who had experienced menopause and showed elevated serum total cholesterol and low density lipoprotein (LDL)-cholesterol levels despite a 6-week standard lipid-lowering diet. Thus, 56 eligible patients were randomized to receive placebo or policosanol 5 mg/day for 8 weeks and the dose was doubled to 10 mg/day during the next 8 weeks.

Policosanol (5 and 10 mg/day) significantly decreased LDL-cholesterol (17.3% and 26.7%, respectively), total cholesterol (12.9% and 19.5%) as well as the ratios of LDL-cholesterol to high-density lipoprotein (HDL)-cholesterol (17.2% and 26.5%) and total cholesterol to HDL-cholesterol (16.3% and 21.0%) compared with baseline and placebo. HDL-cholesterol levels were significantly raised by 7.4% at study completion. No significant changes occurred in the lipid profile of the placebo group.

-Life Extension

A long-term study of policosanol in the treatment of intermittent claudication.

man on treadmillIt is a cholesterol-lowering drug with concomitant antiplatelet effects. This study was undertaken to investigate the long-term effects of policosanol administered to patients with moderately severe intermittent claudication (a condition in which cramping pain in the leg is induced by exercise, typically caused by obstruction of the arteries.).

The study consisted of a 6-week single-blind, placebo-controlled run in phase, followed by a 2-year double-blind, randomized treatment step. Fifty-six patients who met study entry criteria were randomized to receive placebo or policosanol 10 mg twice daily. Walking distances on a treadmill (constant speed 3.2 km/h, slope 10 degrees, temperature 25 degrees C) were assessed before and after 6, 12, 18, and 24 months of treatment. Both groups were similar at randomization.

After 6 months of therapy, policosanol significantly increased (p < 0.01) the initial claudication distance from 125.9 +/- 8.7 m to 201.1 +/- 24.8 m and the absolute claudication distance from 219.5 +/- 14.1 m to 380.7 +/- 50.2 m. Both variables remained unchanged in the placebo group. These effects did not wear off but improved after long-term therapy, so that final values were 333.5 +/- 28.6 m (initial claudication distance) and 648.9 +/- 54.1 m (absolute claudication distance); both significantly greater than those obtained in the placebo group, which showed values of 137.9 +/- 21.8 m (initial claudication distance) and 237.7 +/- 28.1 m (absolute claudication distance), respectively. At study completion, 21 policosanol and 5 placebo patients attained increases in claudication distance values > 50%. Policosanol , but not placebo, significantly increased the ankle/arm pressure index. In addition, from month 6 up to study completion, the frequency of patients reporting improvement of lower limb symptoms was greater in the policosanol group than in the placebo group. The treatment was tolerated well. The present results demonstrate the long-term usefulness of policosanol therapy to treat patients with intermittent claudication.

-Life Extension

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