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Comphensive Guide to Accessory Nutrients and Essential Oils


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Meschino Health Comprehensive Guide to Accessory Nutrients and Essential Oils
Accessory Nutrients and Essential Oils
Policosanol (Saccharum officinarum)
General Features
Policosanol is a natural compound derived from sugar cane wax, which has been shown to significantly reduce high
cholesterol in human and animal studies. It also has been shown to reduce platelet stickiness, improving blood flow
and aiding patients with intermittent claudication and non-insulin dependent diabetes mellitus. 1,2,3 The efficacy, safety
and lack of toxicity of this natural health product makes it a very desirable supplement in the management of high
cholesterol as it has been shown to reduce cholesterol levels equally as well as many prescription medications, without
producing significant side effects. 4,5
Principle Active Constituents
Policosanol is a mixture of higher primary aliphatic alcohols isolated from sugar cane wax, whose main component is
octacosanol. Octacosanol is a long chain fatty alcohol (similar in structure to cholesterol, which is also an alcohol ).
Policosanol is a combination of octacosanol and several other long chain alcohols — hence the name poli-cosanol.
Keeping octacosanol together with other naturally occurring fatty alcohols makes it more stable and seems to enhance
the efficacy of this supplement. 1,4
Clinical Application and Mechanism of Action
1. Cholesterol Lowering - Policosanol has been shown to reduce high levels of blood cholesterol to a significant
degree (LDL-cholesterol reduction ~ 20%) in human and animal studies. Its mechanism of action is not completely
understood, but it is known to suppress cholesterol synthesis in the liver. This effect appears to be related to its
modulation of the HMG-CoA reductase enzyme, a rate-limiting enzyme in cholesterol synthesis. However, it is not
officially considered to be an HMG-CoA reductase inhibitor, as are statin drugs. Nor does it produce the side effects
associated with the use of statin drugs, which include potential liver damage, muscle pain, fatigue, dizziness, skin
rash, diarrhea, heartburn, skin rash and male impotence. 4,6,30 Large trials over long periods have demonstrated
that Policosanol supplementation can lower and maintain blood cholesterol levels as well as most conventional
drugs, without producing untoward side effects. 1,4,7,8,9
Human Trials
A review of the clinical trials using Policosanol to lower cholesterol levels in humans appeared in the American
Heart Journal in 2002. A review of the available peer-reviewed journal publications revealed that Policosanol, at
doses of 10 to 20 mg per day lowers total cholesterol by 17% to 21% and low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol
by 21% to 29%, and raises high-density lipoprotein (HDL, the good cholesterol) cholesterol by 8% to 15%. The
researchers state that because higher doses have not been tested up to now, it can not be excluded that
effectiveness may be even greater. Daily doses of 10 mg of Policosanol have been shown to be equally effective in
lowering total and LDL cholesterol as the same dose of simvastatin or pravastatin (two widely prescribed
cholesterol-lowering statin drugs). Triglyceride levels are not influenced by Policosanol supplementation. At doses
of up to 20 mg per day, Policosanol is safe and well tolerated, as studies of greater than three years of therapy
indicate. 1
Postmenopausal Women - Policosanol has been shown to reduce elevated total and LDL-cholesterol levels in
postmenopausal women by 17.3% and 26.7%, respectively, in 56 women who showed no cholesterol lowering to a
6-week standard lipid-lowering diet that has been followed prior to the administration of Policosanol. This is of
great clinical significance as heart disease is the number one cause of death in postmenopausal women. After
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