Policosanol belongs to a family of wax-like phytochemicals prevalent throughout nature. This substance is used in the dietary supplement industry sourced from several foods that include: sugar cane, rice bran, beeswax, broccoli, spinach, alfalfa and oats.
Sugar cane derived policosanol is a new face on the cholesterol scene in the United States but is a popular hypocholesterolemic in other countries. The main policosanol form in sugar cane is octacosanol, a long-chain fatty alcohol found in the waxy film that covers the leaves and fruit of the plants that contain it.
Policosanol is a hypocholesterolemic compound that protects LDL cholesterol against oxidation, inhibits thromboxane, discourages blood clot formation when inhibits platelet aggregation, and increases exercise tolerance. Policosanol, at clinically evaluated dosages, has shown cholesterol-lowering properties comparable to low to medium dosage levels of the statins. According to several studies, policosanol has also shown antiplatelet effects, it prevents lipoprotein peroxidation, and beneficially affects atherosclerosis development. It has good tolerability and a low rate of clinical and laboratory adverse effects.
Policosanol is used for many conditions, but so far, there isn’t enough scientific evidence to determine whether or not it is effective for any of them.
Policosanol is used for conditions that affect the health of the heart and blood vessels including high cholesterol, leg pain due to poor circulation (intermittent claudication), and narrowing of the blood vessels that serve the heart.
How does it work?
Policosanol seems to decrease cholesterol production in the liver and to increase the break down of LDL (low-density lipoprotein or “bad”) cholesterol. It also decreases the stickiness of particles in the blood known as platelets, which might help reduce blood clots.