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Policosanol as Lowering Cholesterol Supplement
- What is policosanol?
- What is in policosanol?
- Is it effective as a cholesterol lowering supplement?
- What are the benefits of this natural cholesterol supplement?
Policosanol is a non-prescription supplement that is often used to lower cholesterol. It originally became widely used in Cuba, and is made up of a mixture of fatty alcohols. The fatty acids in policosanol are sourced from waxes found in sugar cane, beeswax and yams. The main constituent of policosanol is octanosol, which can also be bought as a separate product. Because of early interest in policosanol in South America, scientific studies were carried out, the results of which have shown that policosanol is effective.
The reason that policosanol works is that the alcohols it contains have an effect on cholesterol metabolism within the liver. The effect of policosanol takes place at a different stage of the metabolic pathway to statins (a class of prescription drug designed to lower cholesterol). Some research studies involving animals have shown that policosanol has a cholesterol lowering effect. Scientific studies on people have also shown that LDL cholesterol (or “bad cholesterol”) can decline to a comparable degree to that seen with the use of statins. In addition, with the use of policosanol, HDL cholesterol (or “good cholesterol”) can be raised by between 10% to 25%. Such a rise in HDL cholesterol would be difficult to attain with statins.
Policosanol has this balancing effect on cholesterol levels because it effects 2 key areas of the cholesterol metabolic process. Firstly, it reduces the excessive manufacture of cholesterol, and secondly it reduces any impediments to the breakdown of cholesterol.
Policosanol works by reducing platelet aggregation within the blood. Platelets are particles in the blood that promote blood clotting. Platelet aggregation, in simple terms is the “stickiness” of platelets. If you are already using blood thinners (for example, coumadin), and in particular if you are receiving a prescription, the safest course would be to talk to your doctor or health care provider before taking policosanol.
Research studies suggest that policosanol may be a very effective supplement which can be used to help lower LDL cholesterol and raise HDL. Scientific trial on people suggest that policosanol does not cause any major side effects although the following are possible: headache, skin rash, gastrointestinal disturbance and insomnia. However, trials have shown that generally the supplement is well tolerated, and that side effects are rare and minimal.
High cholesterol levels are very common and are a worry for many people. High cholesterol is often coupled with other vascular conditions and risk factors. Statin drugs are a common solution to cholesterol level management for patients, but there are a number of associated side effects, and they can also interfere with the body’s production of important nutrients. Policosanol can therefore be used as a natural cholesterol reducer. It is a viable alternative to cholesterol reducing drugs.
The appropriate dose of policosanol is variable and depends upon the individual. Some react well to 5 mg per day, while others might need between 10 and 20 mg per day. Regular checks on your cholesterol levels and regular visits to your doctor or health care provider are recommended.
The information supplied in this article is not to be considered as medical advice and is for educational purposes only.
|Cholesterol Supplements5 Feb 2009|