Policosanol: is it effective in regulating cholesterol and blood pressure?

Policosanol has been investigated for its antihypertensive and lipid-lowering effects. How effective is it? In this space we will tell you about it.

Last update: November 19, 2021

Policosanol is a dietary supplement that is obtained mainly from sugar cane. However, it can also be derived from other plants such as wheat. Other names it receives are “octacosanol,” “1-octacosanol,” and “octacosanolic alcohol.”

For years, this substance has been promoted as a supplement to reduce high cholesterol and blood pressure. However, the results of the studies are controversial and inconclusive. Does it actually work?

Policosanol: an ally against high cholesterol and hypertension?

To begin with, it is important to note that both cholesterol and high blood pressure require a medical approach. While there are natural formulas that promise to lower your levels, it is essential to follow the dietary recommendations and advice on exercises, medications and healthy habits given by a professional.

With this clear, it should be noted that there are supplements such as policosanol that have shown positive effects in controlling the lipid profile and high blood pressure. But what exactly is this substance? It is a form of isolated alcohol that is made up of 60% octacosanol. It also has small amounts of triacontanol, hexacosanol, and dotriacontanol.

A study released through Food Science and Biotechnology cataloged this substance as “A well-defined nutraceutical for the management of blood cholesterol levels”. At the same time, concluded that it has potential as an ally against hypercholesterolemia. What else does the research say?

Elevated cholesterol levels can increase cardiovascular risk. Especially when it comes to the call bad cholesterol.

Benefits of policosanol against cholesterol

For several decades, policosanol has been investigated for its potential to lower high cholesterol levels. Regarding this, the results of the investigations have been controversial. While some support its effects, others suggest that there is insufficient evidence. Let’s review.

A study released through Drugs in R&D determined that long-term administered policosanol can lower high total cholesterol and cholesterol levels bad (LDL), while increasing cholesterol levels well (HDL) in patients with hypertension and type II hypercholesterolemia.

Similar results were reported in research shared in International Journal of Clinical Pharmacology Research, in which doses of 20 mg / day and 40 mg / day were useful to reduce cholesterol by 27.4% bad (LDL) and 28.1% total cholesterol.

For its part, a study in Molecular Nutrition and Food Research exposes that the combined results support the lipid-lowering effects of policosanol. Even so, more evidence is required to confirm its effectiveness.

And how does policosanol work? Well, according to the hypotheses, it decreases the production of cholesterol in the liver and increases the degradation of cholesterol. bad (LDL) to prevent its accumulation. By the way, it stimulates the functions of good cholesterol (HDL) and reduces the aggregation of platelets.

Studies against

A shared investigation through Journal of the American Medical Association There was no benefit of policosanol in patients with combined hypercholesterolaemia or hyperlipidaemia. According to the results, this substance did not help lower high cholesterol levels, even when used in high doses.

For its part, Harvard Medical School published the article Policosanol: A sweet nothing for high cholesterol, in which he questions the effectiveness of the supplement. According to their argument, the problem with the claims about this substance is that they are supported by research conducted by a commercial laboratory in Cuba that distributes it commercially.

Policosanol benefits against high blood pressure

Policosanol use is positively associated with lowering high blood pressure. In particular, a study published in Complementary Therapies in Medicine determined that this substance has the potential to lower both systolic (SBP) and diastolic (DBP) blood pressure. Even so, more studies are required to confirm this.

In the field of blood pressure, policosanol could be effective.

Possible risks and side effects

Oral consumption of policosanol is considered safe for most healthy adults. Despite this, mild side effects such as headache, indigestion, rashes, dizziness, trouble sleeping, and weight loss have been reported.

The suggested dose is 5 to 80 mg per day for up to 3 years. After this time, the effects are unknown.

To date, its safety has not been established in populations with special conditions, such as pregnancy, lactation, and people with medical conditions who are under drug treatment. Therefore, it is discouraged in all these cases.

It should not be taken simultaneously with blood-thinning medications, insulin, or cholesterol or blood pressure drugs. It should also not be taken with levodopa, a medicine used against Parkinson’s disease. Other possible interactions can be with garlic, ginkgo, or vitamin E supplements.

What is there to remember about this supplement?

Policosanol is a supplement that is obtained from sugar cane and wheat. For years it has been distributed on the market as an option to help lower high cholesterol levels and high blood pressure. Nevertheless, studies that talk about these properties have yielded mixed results.

In any case, it is essential to consider that there is no miracle formula to reduce hypercholesterolemia or hypertension. These diseases, due to their complexity, require a medical approach. Thus, neither policosanol nor other supplements should replace professionally prescribed treatment.

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