Policosanol is a natural product derived from mainly from sugar cane wax.
It can also be obtained from beeswax, rice bran and even yams.
It is effective at reducing cholesterol levels.
For some people, it may be a good natural alternative to the commonly prescribed cholesterol-lowering drugs.
It is one of the best-known products for lowering cholesterol levels and lowering them safely and effectively.
It can be taken as a natural dietary supplement, herbal product or drug.
Studies conducted in Cuba in both animals and humans have showed that policosanol was very effective at reducing cholesterol levels.
It also had positive effects on other cardiac risk factors by inhibiting the development of atherosclerosis. It does reduce platelet clumping as well.
It is a promising phytochemical alternative to lipid-lowering agents such as statins.
It works by impeding the synthesis of cholesterol from the liver.
Some studies indicate that it may even be more effective than statins or fibrates in lowering total and LDL cholesterol and increasing good cholesterol(HDL).
It increased HDL cholesterol by as much as 10 - 25%. This is difficult to achieve with statins.
Policosanol produces cholesterol-lowering effects within 6-8 weeks of continual use.
It is suspected that the alcohols in policosanol act on cholesterol metabolism in the liver at a different part of the metabolic pathway from statins.
Studies have confirmed the cholesterol-lowering effects of policosanol in specific groups such as post-menopausal women, the elderly, people with diabetes and heart disease.
It was also effective in treating intermittent claudication, a condition in which poor circulation in the legs causes severe leg pain during exercise.
Policosanol reduces the platelet aggregation (i.e., the "stickiness" of platelets, the blood elements that promote blood clotting,).
It may therefore help prevent cardiovascular disease in a manner similar to aspirin.
During the research, the participants reported very few side effects. Because of this, policosanol may require less monitoring with blood tests than statin medications.