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What is It?

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.

Most research using the sugarcane-derived form of policosanol has been conducted in Cuba, in both animals and humans. The studies showed that policosanol 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 policosanol is “a very promising phytochemical alternative to classic lipid-lowering agents such as statins.”

This could be welcome news for some of the 30 million Americans who are currently using the expensive statindrugs. 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 of policosanol 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 of policosanol in specific groups, including post-menopausal women, the elderly, and people who have both diabetes and heart disease. In addition, policosanol 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.

During the research, study participants reported very few side effects. Because of this, policosanol may require less monitoring with blood tests than statin medications do. Although it appears there are no major side effects with policosanol, some people have reported weight loss, rashes, migraines, insomnia or drowsiness, irritability, dizziness, upset stomach, and nose and gum bleeding.

Policosanol is usually taken once or twice a day. Some nutritional supplement manufacturers combine policosanol with other heart-healthy substances such as Coenzyme Q10 and antioxidants.

General Interaction

Because policosanol can thin the blood as much as aspirin, if you are taking blood thinners such as warfarin (Coumadin) or NSAIDs such as ibuprofen or naproxen, consult your health care provider before taking policosanol.

There are no known interactions with nutrients or foods.


Do not take policosanol if you are pregnant or breast-feeding.

Although very rare, it is theoretically possible that people who are allergic to bee stings or have a food sensitivity to sugar cane might risk side effects from policosanol.


High Cholesterol – 10-20 mg per day

For product recommendations and orders click here for the Natural Apothecary or call 773-296-6700, ext. 2001.

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8 comments on “Policosanol
  1. Walid Haddad says:

    Has been any positive studies in the USA or Europe confirming the effects of Policosanol by Cubans? Please give me references if your answer is yes.
    Thank you

  2. Dr. R says:

    Could you please elaborate, Walid?

  3. Walid Haddad says:

    Hello Dr R
    Well , it seems all the positive studies supporting Policosanol’s effectiveness are done in Cuba & the Western studies in Europe & USA that i have seen , came all completely negative. Some are thinking that the Cuban Gov. has a lot to gain by tempering with data. But I may be mis-inforned. So, if you have references to Western sturdies that are positive, please send me a link.
    Thank you for your time

  4. Dr. R says:

    Hi Walid
    Here is a link to a decent list of research regarding policosanol; most are pretty positive especially for lowering total and LDL cholesterol. http://scholar.google.com/scholar?q=policosanol+research+studies&hl=en&as_sdt=0&as_vis=1&oi=scholart&sa=X&ei=KsdHT83uMYrk0QHRr-WtDg&ved=0CEMQgQMwAA
    The only reason Cuba might gain from positive studies is that policosanol is made from sugar cane. Hope this is helpful.

  5. Walid Haddad says:

    Dr R, thank you for your response.
    I heard that the Cuban studies are made by the same group that owns the patent on Policosanol . Do you agree? If yes. Is it reasonable to doubt the research? Have you personally have positive results with your patients atributable only to Policosanol?
    Thank you again
    Walid H

  6. Dr. R says:

    Having a conflict of interest is not uncommon with research in the pharmaceutical industry but I have no knowledge in this case. The success we have achieved often uses policosanol and one part of a protocol including life style changes and other nutriceuticals/botanicals. It would be difficult to tease out just the effects of the policosanol.

  7. Sarah says:

    This stuff WORKS!! I talked my mother into trying it instead of her cholesterol meds for 6 months… Her bad cholesterol DROPPED significantly, good cholesterol UP, and lowered triglycerides. She told me the numbers but I forget.
    My question is: I have MTHFR and Hughes Syndrome, which has caused miscarriage in the past. Am 4 weeks pregnant again, taking policosonol & baby aspirin, self- prescribed as my dr. Sucks…. Can I stay on it and should i add or replace it w
    Prescription blood thinner…? Thnx

  8. Terri says:

    Thanks for finally talking about >Policosanol – WholeHealth Chicago <Liked it!

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