What You Should Know
Policosanol, also referred to as polycosanol, is a term used to describe the natural waxes present in plants. Supplements include this ingredient to control cholesterol levels in the blood. Supposedly, policosanol will lower the bad cholesterol and help raise the good cholesterol, though there is some debate over whether plant waxes have this effect. Plant waxes have fatty alcohols that are responsible for the potential health benefits. Octacosanol and triacontanol are the two most highly concentrated fatty alcohols in policosanol.
List of Ingredients
Policosanol contains many fatty acids but octacosanol and triacontanol are the most highly concentrated. Octacosanol is thought to promote better utilization of oxygen and physical endurance. There are a few studies that suggest octacosanol may help regulate cholesterol and aid in relieving symptoms from Parkinson’s disease. Triacontanol does not have any human benefits that we could find, but this fatty alcohol is responsible for increased growth rate in plants.
When it comes to studying the effects of policosanol on cholesterol levels, the government of Cuba has completed many studies. These studies prove policosanol is effective at lowering bad and raising good cholesterol. Unfortunately, the government promotes and sells a policosanol supplement which could be the reason the study results from Cuba do not match independent studies. Clinical studies completed by associations not related to Cuba find no benefit from policosanol. Cubans believe policosanol to be a panacea – or healing remedy.
Policosanol can be found for sale from various vitamin shops and online retailers. Policosanol can be derived from rice, beeswax, sugar cane and other sources. According to retailers online, sugar cane policosanol is the premium version of the supplement. The NOW Policosanol supplement claims strong antioxidant properties and cardiovascular support. These claims are also not proven in US based clinical studies.
The supplement is sold for prices ranging from just $3 to more than $25 per bottle. Some supplements have an increased price because other ingredients are included in the formula such as the Source Naturals Policosanol and COQ10.
- May help to improve blood cholesterol levels.
- Very inexpensive.
- There are several sources from which the supplement is derived – could be confusing.
- No weight loss benefits.
- Heart and cholesterol support is not clinically proven.
Policosanol may be an ingredient with great promise but we are confused about all the positive claims supported by Cuba and denounced by the United States. We understand that Cuba has a vested interest in selling more policosanol supplements, but there is typically some truth to the claims being made. If a dieter wants to level off blood cholesterol, lower bad cholesterol and raise good cholesterol, they may find more luck adopting a high fiber, omega 3 fatty acid rich diet.