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Policosanol: The Secret Cuban Sugar Cane Compound That Lowers Cholesterol

If you or someone you know has high cholesterol, you’re probably familiar with the cholesterol-lowering drugs called “statins.” Doctors hand them out like candy and sing their praises —because they work … sort of.

In fact, in May 2001 when the National Institutes of Health issued the new cholesterol guidelines, doctors responded by saying that statins should be prescribed to some 36 million Americans, three times as many as the 13 million who had been taking them to reduce their risk of heart disease.

But besides their well-known side effects, (which you’ll read about in this article), a new study suggests that statins also have subtle, insidious, far-reaching effects on the body … that have the potential to unleash significant health problems down the road.

A Finnish study published in the Journal of American Medical Association February 2002 followed 120 men aged 35 to 64 years, who had high cholesterol that was previously untreated. The men were divided into two groups: one group continued with their usual diet and the other group ate a Mediterranean-style diet, including olive oil and fish (high in Omega-3 fatty acids), lots of fruits and vegetables, whole grains and low-fat proteins..

 

The groups were then subdivided, with one group from each of the original two groups taking either 20 mg of Simvastatin (Zocor) each day or a placebo. They followed this protocol for 12 weeks, and then each subgroup “crossed over” to the other treatment. There’s no doubt about it. At the end of the 12-week study Zocor helped bring total cholesterol levels down 20.8 percent. In contrast, dietary intervention alone decreased total cholesterol by only 7.6 percent.1

But that’s not all Zocor did. The drug also increased fasting serum insulin levels by 13 percent, and DECREASED serum concentrations of important antioxidant vitamins by as much as 22 percent! Also, the blood tests revealed significantly lower serum levels of critical nutrients like alpha-tocopherol, beta-carotene, and co-enzyme Q-10 while taking the statin drug, compared to the period when taking the placebo.1

This opens a whole new can of worms. Sure, the statin drug lowered the men’s total cholesterol, but we’re playing with very high stakes here, and the outcome is clearly a tradeoff. Zocor was found to lower levels of CoQ10, which is necessary for cardiovascular health, which means these men could very well end up with other heart health problems. And the 22 percent decrease in important antioxidants—well, we don’t even want to comment on that! Because we all know how vital antioxidants are to our total health and protection against cancer, degenerative diseases, including Alzheimer’s disease and arthritis, and cardiovascular disease! And the increase in insulin levels is a perfect set up for Syndrome X—which ultimately means weight gain leading to type 2 diabetes—one of the most dreaded diseases of our time—and other heart-health complications!

Diet and exercise certainly help, but if you or a loved one has high cholesterol, we want you know about Policosanol. This new, natural product has been proven safer and more effective than statin drugs in dozens of studies. You can be assured you won’t be suffering from any secondary illnesses down the road, or any of the common side effects associated with cholesterol-lowering drugs.

Policosanol: the new treatment for cholesterol management and reduced heart disease risk

What is it?

Policosanol is a mixture of alcohols isolated and purified from sugar cane, whose main component is octacosanol. Policosanol has been studied extensively for the past 10 years and several human trials have been published in medical journals in North America and throughout the world. The clinical trials on humans have clearly demonstrated that Policosanol is safe, effective and without side effects.

Policosanol is actually not one thing, but a generic name for a highly concentrated and standardized mixture of five higher primary aliphatic alcohols that occur together naturally in sugar cane (Saccharum officinarum) wax. Although there are a few different forms of Policosanol (rice and beeswax), it is important to note that the results from the clinical trials were obtained using ONLY the Policosanol derived from sugar cane wax.

The studies on Policosanol are extremely impressive—and you’ll see why. Most of them have been done in Cuba and since Cuban researchers are still working on getting the word out through scientific publications and peer-reviewed journals, Policosanol has yet to become a household word like statins—which is why we’re so pleased to be at the forefront of bringing this information to you.

How does Policosanol work?

Because of the way that statin drugs work, they all have significant dose-related toxicity. If they inhibit the cholesterol-producing enzyme too much they can cause a variety of dangerous side effects. There is also growing concern among some scientists that statin drugs may have unknown long-term side effects, due to their mechanism of action in lowering cholesterol.

Amazingly, Policosanol has shown itself to be as effective as statin drugs for many of their varied beneficial effects WITHOUT showing any toxic effects. This is believed to be due to their different ways of helping control cholesterol levels. While statin drugs directly inhibit the cholesterol-producing enzyme, Policosanol instead seems to regulate the production of the enzyme to lower, more favorable levels.23 Policosanol also enhances our body’s ability to remove and process LDL cholesterol from the blood and cells.4

Stops cardiovascular disease in its tracks

One of the most exciting effects of statin therapy is its ability to slow down or even reverse the progression of cardiovascular disease. This is often seen independent of the reduction in blood cholesterol levels. Research on Policosanol has provided evidence that it too can dramatically prevent, slow down, or even reverse the progression of cardiovascular disease.567

Here are some highlights of the dozens of studies that have been published:

Cuban researchers found 5-20 mg daily of Policosanol to be effective at improving serum lipid profiles89by:

  • decreasing total cholesterol
  • decreasing low-density lipoprotein (LDL), the “bad” cholesterol
  • increasing high-density lipoprotein (HDL), the “good” cholesterol
  • decreasing triglycerides

Policosanol was given to a large variety of patients with single health complaints and different combinations of disease. The outstanding common experience they all shared is this: ALL had improved lipid profiles after they took Policosanol. Policosanol has been tested on:

  • Healthy volunteers

Patients with:

  • high cholesterol
  • type 2 diabetes
  • type 2 hypercholesterimia (an inherited genetic condition that results in elevated LDL levels beginning at birth, and possible heart attacks at an early age)
  • hypertension and high cholesterol
  • both high cholesterol and abnormal liver function tests
  • coronary patients
  • postmenopausal women with high cholesterol

German scientists amazed by results

A team of German scientists reviewed the literature on placebo-controlled lipid-lowering studies using Policosanol published in peer-reviewed journals as well as studies investigating its mechanism of action and its clinical pharmacology. This is what they found: At doses of 10 to 20 mg per day, Policosanol lowers total cholesterol by 17% to 21% and low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol by 21% to 29% and raises high-density lipoprotein cholesterol by 8% to 15%. {ref20}

Postmenopausal women have excellent results

When Policosonal was tested on postmenopausal women who had high cholesterol the results were equally impressive. 56 women were divided into two groups. One took a placebo and the other took 5mg of Policosanol for 8 weeks. For the second 8 weeks, the dosage was elevated to 10 mg of Policosanol.

Not only was Policosanol safe and well tolerated by the women, when it was compared to the women’s baseline and the placebo group at both dosages of 5 and 10 mg a day it significantly:

  • decreased LDL-cholesterol 17.3% and 26.7%, respectively
  • decreased total cholesterol by 12.9% and 19.5%
  • decreased the ratios of LDL-cholesterol to high-density lipoprotein (HDL)-cholesterol by 17.2% and 26.5%
  • decreased total cholesterol to HDL-cholesterol by 16.3% and 21.0%
  • raised HDL-cholesterol levels by 7.4% at the end of the study. No significant changes occurred in the lipid profile of the placebo group.21

Policosanol reduces blood lipids in older patients with type II hypercholesterolemia and high coronary risk

There’s no doubt that patients with type II hypercholsterolemia (an inherited genetic condition that results in elevated LDL levels beginning at birth, and may result in heart attacks at an early age), have a very difficult time living without the fear of heart attack or stroke. In one Cuban study, after 6 weeks on a lipid-lowering diet, 179 older patients randomly received a placebo or Policosanol at doses of 5 mg followed by 10 mg per day for successive 12-week periods of each dose.

The results? Policosanol (5 and 10 mg/d):

  • reduced low-density lipoprotein cholesterol by 16.9% and 24.4%, respectively
  • reduced total cholesterol by 12.8% and 16.2%
  • significantly increased high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL) by 14.6% and 29.1%

Policosanol, but not the placebo, significantly improved overall cardiovascular health and stamina in these patients, and there were no adverse side effects!22

Other studies which tested tolerability and effectiveness of Policosanol on patients with type II hypercholesterolaemia23, patients with hypertension and type II hypercholesterolaemia24, with hypercholesterolemia and noninsulin dependent diabetes, all had similar excellent results.

Policosanol outperforms most cholesterol-lowering drugs

In fact, Policosanol performed better than or equal to other cholesterol-lowering drugs, including Simvastatin, Pravastatin, Lovastatin, Probucol and Acipimox with fewer side effects.25 Daily doses of 10 mg of Policosanol have been shown to be equally effective in lowering total or LDL cholesterol as the same dose of simvastatin or pravastatin.2627

Is more effective than lovastatin in diabetics

Policosanol at 10 mg/day is more effective in normalizing HDL-cholesterol and has a better safety and tolerability profile than lovastatin at 20 mg/day in patients with high cholesterol and non-insulin dependent diabetes.28

Benefits beyond lowering cholesterol

Although scientists still don’t know exactly how Policosanol works, study after study has shown it to decrease several other risk factors of cardiovascular disease:

  • LDL oxidation2930
  • platelet aggregation3132
  • endothelial damage33
  • It also helps diminish the symptoms of intermittent claudication (peripheral arterial disease), a potentially disabling condition characterized by attacks of pain or fatigue in the calf, thigh or buttock.34

Treadmill test is easier with Policosanol!

If you’re a heart patient, you’ve already endured the dreaded treadmill test. And if you’ve never taken it, you’ve probably heard about it. There was actually a study done following 45 heart patients with myocardial ischemia to see how Policosanol would affect their treadmill performance. The groups that took Policosanol for a 20-month period did significantly better on their treadmill tests than the group that took a placebo— due to an improvement in their myocardial ischemia—and also had improved lipid profiles.35

Proven safe!

Unlike statins, which become increasingly toxic with higher doses, Policosanol achieves its maximum effect at very low doses and taking more is neither more effective nor more toxic. In fact, Policosanol has undergone unusually extensive testing for a dietary supplement to prove its safety. Animal toxicity studies doses up to 1500 times the normal human dose (on the basis of body weight) have shown no negative effects on carcinogenesis3637 reproduction, growth, and development,3839 including a study on three generations of rats.40

In studies where it has been given to animals (rats and dogs) in megadoses, no drug-related toxicity was shown, and there was no negative effect on the animals (including body weight gain, food consumption and blood biochemistry) when compared with the control group.414243

Prevention is the best cure

Abnormal cholesterol levels are one of the causes of atherosclerosis, which diminishes the supply of blood to the heart and eventually leads to heart attacks. Atherosclerosis affects blood vessels throughout your body and also contributes to angina (chest pain), intermittent claudication (pain caused by blockage of arteries in the legs), and stroke.

Do something about it before it’s too late!

According to the guidelines set by the Expert Panel on Detection, Evaluation and Treatment of High Blood Cholesterol in Adults 44, the best things you can do for reducing heart disease is to:

  1. cut your intake of saturated fat and cholesterol
  2. reduce your consumption of carbohydrates
  3. exercise more
  4. control your weight

Reduce cholesterol with Policosanol and see the amazing results! 

References

  1. Antti Jula, MD, PhD; Jukka Marniemi, PhD; Risto Huupponen, MD, PhD; Arja Virtanen, MSc; Merja Rastas, MSc; Tapani Rönnemaa, MD, PhD “Effects of Diet and Simvastatin on Serum Lipids, Insulin, and Antioxidants in Hypercholesterolemic Men.” JAMA Feb. 6, 2002, Vol. 287 #5, pp. 598-605. No. 5
  2. Menendez R, Amor AM, Rodeiro I, et al, Policosanol modulates HMG-CoA reductase activity in cultured fibroblasts. Arch Med Res2001 Jan-Feb;32(1):8-12.
  3. Menendez R, Amor AM, Gonzalez RM, Fraga V, Mas R. Effect of policosanol on the hepatic cholesterol biosynthesis of normocholesterolemic rats. Biol Res 1996;29(2):253-7
  4. Menendez R, Fernandez SI, Del Rio A, et al, Policosanol inhibits cholesterol biosynthesis and enhances low density lipoprotein processing in cultured human fibroblasts. Biol Res 1994
  5. Janikula M, Policosanol: a new treatment for cardiovascular disease?Altern Med Rev 2002 Jun;7(3):203-17
  6. rruzazabala ML, Noa M, Menendez R, et al, Protective effect of policosanol on atherosclerotic lesions in rabbits with exogenous hypercholesterolemia. Braz J Med Biol Res 2000 Jul;33(7):835-40
  7. Rodriguez-Echenique C, Mesa R, Mas R, Noa M, et al, Effects of policosanol chronically administered in male monkeys (Macaca arctoides). Food Chem Toxicol 1994 Jun;32(6):565-75
  8. Mirkin A, Mas R, Martinto M, Boccanera R, Robertis A, Poudes R, Fuster A, Lastreto E, Yanez M, Irico G, McCook B, Farre A. Efficacy and tolerability of policosanol in hypercholesterolemic postmenopausal women. Int J Clin Pharmacol Res 2001;21(1):31-41.
  9. Janikula M. Policosanol: a new treatment for cardiovascular disease?Altern Med Rev 2002 Jun;7(3):203-17.
  10. Gouni-Berthold I, Berthold HK. Policosanol: clinical pharmacology and therapeutic significance of a new lipid-lowering agent. Am Heart J 2002 Feb;143(2):356-65.
  11. Castano G, Mas R, Fernandez JC, Illnait J, Fernandez L, Alvarez E. Effects of policosanol in older patients with type II hypercholesterolemia and high coronary risk. J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci 2001 Mar;56(3):M186-92.
  12. Castano G, Mas R, Fernandez JC, Fernandez L, Illnait J, Lopez E. Effects of policosanol on older patients with hypertension and type II hypercholesterolaemia. Drugs R D 2002;3(3):159-72.
  13. Pons P, Rodriguez M, Robaina C, Illnait J, Mas R, Fernandez L, Fernandez JC. Effects of successive dose increases of policosanol on the lipid profile of patients with type II hypercholesterolaemia and tolerability to treatment. Int J Clin Pharmacol Res 1994;14(1):27-33.
  14. Crespo N, Illnait J, Mas R, Fernandez L, Fernandez J, Castano G. Comparative study of the efficacy and tolerability of policosanol and lovastatin in patients with hypercholesterolemia and noninsulin dependent diabetes mellitus. Int J Clin Pharmacol Res1999;19(4):117-27.
  15. Prat H, Roman O, Pino E. Comparative effects of policosanol and two HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors on type II hypercholesterolemia [Article in Spanish] Rev Med Chil 1999 Mar;127(3):286-94
  16. Mas R, Castano G, Illnait J, Fernandez L, Fernandez J, Aleman C, Pontigas V, Lescay M. Effects of policosanol in patients with type II hypercholesterolemia and additional coronary risk factors. Clin Pharmacol Ther 1999 Apr;65(4):439-47.
  17. Canetti M, Moreira M, Mas R, Illnait J, Fernandez L, Fernandez J, Diaz E, Castano G. A two-year study on the efficacy and tolerability of policosanol in patients with type II hyperlipoproteinaemia. Int J Clin Pharmacol Res 1995;15(4):159-65.
  18. Pons P, Rodriguez M, Robaina C, Illnait J, Mas R, Fernandez L, Fernandez JC. Effects of successive dose increases of policosanol on the lipid profile of patients with type II hypercholesterolaemia and tolerability to treatment. Int J Clin Pharmacol Res 1994;14(1):27-33.
  19. Arruzazabala ML, Molina V, Mas R, Fernandez L, Carbajal D, Valdes S, Castano G Antiplatelet effects of policosanol (20 and 40 mg/day) in healthy volunteers and dyslipidaemic patients. Clin Exp Pharmacol Physiol 2002 Oct;29(10):891-7.
  20. Gouni-Berthold I, Berthold HK. Policosanol: clinical pharmacology and therapeutic significance of a new lipid-lowering agent. Am Heart J 2002 Feb;143(2):356-65.
  21. Mirkin A, Mas R, Martinto M, Boccanera R, Robertis A, Poudes R, Fuster A, Lastreto E, Yanez M, Irico G, McCook B, Farre A. Efficacy and tolerability of policosanol in hypercholesterolemic postmenopausal women. Int J Clin Pharmacol Res 2001;21(1):31-41.
  22. Castano G, Mas R, Fernandez JC, Illnait J, Fernandez L, Alvarez E. Effects of policosanol in older patients with type II hypercholesterolemia and high coronary risk. J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci 2001 Mar;56(3):M186-92.
  23. Pons P, Rodriguez M, Robaina C, Illnait J, Mas R, Fernandez L, Fernandez JC. Effects of successive dose increases of policosanol on the lipid profile of patients with type II hypercholesterolaemia and tolerability to treatment. Int J Clin Pharmacol Res 1994;14(1):27-33.
  24. Castano G, Mas R, Fernandez JC, Fernandez L, Illnait J, Lopez E. Effects of policosanol on older patients with hypertension and type II hypercholesterolaemia. Drugs R D 2002;3(3):159-72.
  25. Janikula M. Policosanol: a new treatment for cardiovascular disease?Altern Med Rev 2002 Jun;7(3):203-17.
  26. Gouni-Berthold I, Berthold HK. Policosanol: clinical pharmacology and therapeutic significance of a new lipid-lowering agent. Am Heart J 2002 Feb;143(2):356-65.
  27. Castano G, Mas R, Arruzazabala ML, Noa M, Illnait J, Fernandez JC, Molina V, Menendez A.Effects of policosanol and pravastatin on lipid profile, platelet aggregation and endothelemia in older hypercholesterolemic patients. Int J Clin Pharmacol Res1999;19(4):105-16.
  28. Crespo N, Illnait J, Mas R, Fernandez L, Fernandez J, Castano G. Comparative study of the efficacy and tolerability of policosanol and lovastatin in patients with hypercholesterolemia and noninsulin dependent diabetes mellitus. Int J Clin Pharmacol Res1999;19(4):117-27.
  29. Gouni-Berthold I, Berthold HK. Policosanol: clinical pharmacology and therapeutic significance of a new lipid-lowering agent. Am Heart J 2002 Feb;143(2):356-65.
  30. Menendez R, Mas R, Amor AM, Gonzalez RM, Fernandez JC, Rodeiro I, Zayas M, Jimenez S. Effects of policosanol treatment on the susceptibility of low density lipoprotein (LDL) isolated from healthy volunteers to oxidative modification in vitro. Br J Clin Pharmacol 2000 Sep;50(3):255-62.
  31. Arruzazabala ML, Molina V, Mas R, Fernandez L, Carbajal D, Valdes S, Castano G. Antiplatelet effects of policosanol (20 and 40 mg/day) in healthy volunteers and dyslipidaemic patients. Clin Exp Pharmacol Physiol 2002 Oct;29(10):891-7.
  32. Castano G, Mas R, Arruzazabala ML, Noa M, Illnait J, Fernandez JC, Molina V, Menendez A.Effects of policosanol and pravastatin on lipid profile, platelet aggregation and endothelemia in older hypercholesterolemic patients. Int J Clin Pharmacol Res1999;19(4):105-16.
  33.  Ibid.
  34. Castano G, Mas Ferreiro R, Fernandez L, Gamez R, Illnait J, Fernandez C. A long-term study of policosanol in the treatment of intermittent claudication. Angiology 2001 Feb;52(2):115-25
  35. Stusser R, Batista J, Padron R, Sosa F, Pereztol O. Long-term therapy with policosanol improves treadmill exercise-ECG testing performance of coronary heart disease patients. Int J Clin Pharmacol Ther 1998 Sep;36(9):469-73.
  36. Aleman CL, Puig MN, Elias EC, Ortega CH, Guerra IR, Ferreiro RM, Brinis F.Carcinogenicity of policosanol in mice: an 18-month study. Food Chem Toxicol 1995 Jul;33(7):573-8.
  37. Aleman CL, Mas Ferreiro R, Noa Puig M, Rodeiro Guerra I, Hernandez Ortega C, Capote A. Carcinogenicity of policosanol in Sprague Dawley rats: a 24 month study. Teratog Carcinog Mutagen 1994;14(5):239-49.
  38. Janikula M. Policosanol: a new treatment for cardiovascular disease?Altern Med Rev 2002 Jun;7(3):203-17.
  39. Rodriguez MD, Garcia H. Evaluation of peri- and post-natal toxicity of Policosanol in rats. Teratog Carcinog Mutagen 1998;18(1):1-7.Teratog Carcinog Mutagen 1994;14(3):107-13
  40. Rodriguez MD, Garcia H. Teratogenic and reproductive studies of policosanol in the rat and rabbit. Teratog Carcinog Mutagen1994;14(3):107-13
  41. Rodriguez MD, Sanchez M, Garcia H.Multigeneration reproduction study of policosanol in rats. Toxicol Lett 1997 Feb 7;90(2-3):97-106.
  42. Mesa AR, Mas R, Noa M, Hernandez C, Rodeiro I, Gamez R, Garcia M, Capote A, Aleman CL. Toxicity of policosanol in beagle dogs: one-year study. Toxicol Lett 1994 Aug;73(2):81-90.
  43. Aleman CL, Mas R, Hernandez C, Rodeiro I, Cerejido E, Noa M, Capote A, Menendez R, Amor A, Fraga V, et al. A 12-month study of policosanol oral toxicity in Sprague Dawley rats. Toxicol Lett1994 Jan;70(1):77-87

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