Benefits of Policosanol
There are several claims that policosanol is useful for lowering cholesterol and treating intermittent leg pain associated with peripheral artery disease. Although some studies in Cuba have shown policosanol to be effective for these uses, there are contradicting results from studies that were done outside of Cuba. At this point, there is not enough evidence to prove the benefits of policosanol for these uses.
What Are Policosanol's Benefits?Policosanol is a dietary supplement that is a mixture of fatty alcohols from plant waxes. It is claimed to be useful for a few different conditions, including:
- High cholesterol
- Intermittent claudication (leg pain associated with peripheral artery disease).
There is conflicting evidence about policosanol and high cholesterol. Several studies from a manufacturer of the supplement in Cuba have shown that it can lower total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol ("bad" cholesterol) and can increase HDL cholesterol ("high" cholesterol).
However, studies that were conducted outside of Cuba have shown contradictory results. Some people argue that this occurred because Cuban policosanol is different from policosanol in the United States, due to trade restrictions with Cuba. However, even studies that have used the Cuban policosanol products showed no benefit. At this point, there is not enough evidence to say for sure whether the supplement is effective at treating high cholesterol.
Early studies suggest that policosanol may be effective for intermittent claudication, but more research is necessary before it can be recommended for this use.
How Does Policosanol Work?It is not exactly known how policosanol works to lower cholesterol. It may decrease the amount of cholesterol produced by the liver and may increase the breakdown of cholesterol in the body.