Scientists eye new cholesterol treatment

People with high cholesterol who are looking for more natural options to bring levels down will be pleased to learn about Policosanol. This derivative of sugar cane wax is showing great success at lowering cholesterol levels in scientific trials.

A recent trial at the Eva Peron Hospital in Argentina showed that Policosanol was both effective and well tolerated when used to treat high cholesterol in postmenopausal women. In a 16-week double-blind, placebo-controlled study, 56 postmenopausal women who had elevated cholesterol levels were given either a placebo or Policosanol daily. The researchers found that the women taking Policosanol significantly decreased their LDL (“bad”) cholesterol levels by an average of 22%. Total cholesterol levels were lowered by 16.2%. Even better, levels of HDL (“good”) cholesterol increased by 7.4% by the study’s end. Policosanol was well tolerated by most participants.

In a second study at the National Center for Scientific Research in Havana City, Cuba, Policosanol was tested on older patients with both high cholesterol and more than one additional heart disease risk factor. After six weeks on a standard fat-reduced diet, 179 patients were given either a placebo or Policosanol for 24 weeks. The patients taking Policosanol had significantly reduced their LDL cholesterol levels by an average of 20.7% and increased their HDL cholesterol levels by 21.9%. Those taking Policosanol also showed improved cardiovascular capacity. The researchers conclude that “Policosanol is effective, safe and well tolerated in older [patients with high cholesterol].”

Sources: Int J Clin Pharmacol Res 2001;21(1):31-41; J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci 2001 Mar;56(3):M186-92