Policosanol Goes Down in Flames
By Dr. Dana Myatt
Policosanol, a wax-like substance derived
from sugar cane, has been reported to lower high cholesterol. We've never sold
it at The Wellness Club because the research on it's effects looked weak (at
best) to me.
Now, newer studies on policosanol in both the US and Germany have found
absolutely no effect on cholesterol levels.
Just so you'll know why I found the original research spurious, all of it was
done by a single research group in Cuba and several Latin American countries.
When the only people who notice a positive result are the ones who are selling
the product, my "bogus meter" goes off. (As it does with many drug studies). At
that point, I wait to see if any independent studies confirm the "research." In
the case of policosanol, independent studies using the exact same product and
doses failed to show any benefit.
For lowering cholesterol, nothing is better-studied than niacin, a humble
B-complex vitamin. Learn more about niacin for high cholesterol here:
1.) Policosanol is ineffective in the
treatment of hypercholesterolemia: a randomized controlled trial. Am J Clin Nutr.
2.) Lack of cholesterol-lowering efficacy of Cuban sugar cane policosanols in
hypercholesterolemic persons. Am J Clin Nutr. 2006 Nov;84(5):1003-8.