Policosanol is one of the best natural cholesterol lowering supplements – If your cholesterol has ever exceeded 200, your doctor probably pulled out his prescription pad and prescribed a statin drug.
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Statin drugs have some pretty nasty side effects including lowering mental performance, muscle pain, kidney failure, liver failure and cancer. I will write more extensively on these side effects in another article. There are safer, more natural ways to achieve healthy cholesterol ratios and protect your heart.
Policosanol natural supplements have been shown to lower cholesterol as well or better than cholesterol-lowering drugs, without side effects such as liver dysfunction and muscle atrophy.
Although many laboratory tests on animals have been done, policosanol has demonstrated its performance in human trials, this article will focus on some of the human trials only.
In 1999 researchers reporting again in the journal Clinical pharmacology and therapeutics, carried out a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study with 437 participants with high cholesterol and additional coronary risk factors. Participants were divided into two groups, one of which took 5 milligrams of policosanol supplements daily for 12 weeks followed by 10 mg policosanol for the next 12 weeks, while the other group was given placebo (sugar pill).
In the group given natural policosanol supplements, the 5 milligram dose for the first 12 weeks reduced LDL cholesterol by 18.2%. The 10 milligram dose for the next 12 weeks reduced LDL cholesterol by 25.6%. Total cholesterol reduction was 13.0% at 5 milligrams and 17.4% at 10 milligrams. HDL cholesterol was increased by 15.5% at 5 milligrams and 28.4% at 10 milligrams. The researchers concluded: â€œThis study shows that policosanol is effective, safe, and well tolerated in patients with hypercholesterolemia and concomitant coronary risk factors.â€ (Clin. Pharmacol. Ther. 1999; 65:439-47).
Interestingly, triglycerides remained unchanged after the first 12 weeks but were reduced significantly by 5.2% at study completion, suggesting either the effect on triglycerides was time dependent or dose dependent or both.
Triglycerides or blood fats are also important. Interestingly, high triglycerides appear to be an even more important risk factor for cardiovascular heart disease in women than in men. Triglycerides should be kept to less than 150.
Policosanol has demonstrated its abilities in human trials that compared its performance against top-selling statin drugs. Policosanol rivaled and even outperformed the statins.
In 1999 researchers reporting in the International journal of clinical pharmacology research, compared the cholesterol lowering effects of natural policosanol supplements against that of pravastatin. Pravastatin (trade names Pravachol or Selektine) is a member of the drug class of statins, used for lowering cholesterol and preventing cardiovascular disease.
This was a randomized, double-blind study. 68 participants, ages 60 to 80, with â€œtype 2 hypercholesterolemiaâ€ (high blood cholesterol associated with the risk of cardiovascular disease) followed a low-fat diet for six weeks, after which they were divided into two groups, one of which took 10 milligrams of policosanol daily, and the other took 10 milligrams of pravastatin daily, both for eight weeks. Policosanol supplements lowered LDL levels nearly 4 percent more than pravastatin, and raised HDL levels 18 percent which was 13 percent more than pravastatin.
The researchers also noted that policosanol, but not pravastatin, significantly lowered triglycerides by 14.1%. (Int J Clin Pharmacol Res 1999; 19(4):105-116).
Another study in 1997 with 53 participants ages 60 to 77 with high cholesterol, not linked to diabetes or other known metabolic problems, compared policosanol with simvastatin (trade name Zocor). All participants followed a low-fat diet for six weeks, after which they were divided into two groups, one of which took 10 milligrams of policosanol supplements daily, and the other took 10 milligrams of simvastatin daily, both for eight weeks. Total cholesterol was lowered in both groups. However, triglyceride levels in the policosanol group were 5% lower than those in the simvastatin group. (Curr Ther Res 1997;58(6):390-401).
In 2000 researchers reporting in the journal Gynecological Endocrinology, carried out a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study consisting of 244 postmenopausal women with high total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol. All participants followed a low-fat diet for five weeks, after which they were divided into two groups, one of which took 5 milligrams of policosanol supplements daily for 12 weeks followed by 10 mg policosanol for the next 12 weeks, while the other group was given placebo. At the end of the 24 week trial period LDL cholesterol was lowered by an impressive 25.2%, total cholesterol by 16.7%, and HDL cholesterol was raised by 29.3% in the policosanol group, whereas in the placebo group, LDL, triglyceride, and total cholesterol levels went up. (Gyn Endocrin 2000;14(3):187-195).
In 2002 researchers at the University of Bonn in Germany reviewed the literature on policosanol and noted that at doses of 10 to 20 mg per day, policosanol lowers total cholesterol by 17% to 21% and LDL cholesterol by 21% to 29% and raises HDL cholesterol by 8% to 15%. They also pointed out that daily doses of 10 mg of natural policosanol have been shown to be equally effective in lowering total or LDL cholesterol as the same dose of simvastatin or pravastatin.
On the subject of safety, the researchers noted that at dosages of up to 20 mg per day, natural policosanol supplements are safe and well tolerated, as studies of greater than 3 years of therapy indicate, and because higher doses have not been tested up to now, it cannot be excluded that effectiveness may be even greater. (American Heart Journal. 2002 Feb; 143(2): 356-65).
The above is only a sample of studies carried out with policosanol. Many others have been done with very good results.
Mas, R. et al. Effects of policosanol in patients with type II hypercholetserolemia and additional coronary risk factors. Clin. Pharmacol. Ther. 1999; 65:439-47.
Castano, G : Mas, R : Arruzazabala, M L : Noa, M : Illnait, J : Fernandez, J C : Molina, V : Menendez, A. Effects of policosanol and pravastatin on lipid profile, platelet aggregation and endothelemia in older hypercholesterolemic patients. Int J Clin Pharmacol Res 1999; 19(4):105-116.
Ortensi G, et al. â€œA comparative study of policosanol versus simvastatin in elderly patients with hypercholesterolemia.â€ Curr Ther Res 1997;58(6):390-401.
Castano G, et al. â€œEffects of policosanol on postmenopausal women with type II hypercholesterolemia.â€ Gyn Endocrin 2000;14(3):187-195.
Gouni Berthold, Ioanna : Berthold, Heiner K. Policosanol: clinical pharmacology and therapeutic significance of a new lipid-lowering agent. Am-Heart-J. 2002 Feb; 143(2): 356-65.
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