Policosanol, a mix of natural compounds, is most often derived from sugar cane but also may come from beeswax, wheat germ, or rice bran. It is promoted as a dietary supplement for lowering cholesterol. More than 80 studies, mostly conducted by a single research institute in Cuba, suggest that 5 to 40 milligrams (mg) a day of policosanol can lower LDL cholesterol up to 30 percent, as well as reduce total cholesterol and raise HDL cholesterol. However, a recent German study found that policosanol from sugar cane had no significant effect on total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, HDL cholesterol, or triglycerides, and policosonal is not recommended by doctors.
Before you choose to take a policosanol supplement, you should be aware of a few things. In addition to the conflicting evidence as to its effectiveness in treating high cholesterol, the long-term effects are unknown. The amount of policosanol in different supplements is not standardized, and some products may contain other ingredients as well.
Red yeast rice is also a plant byproduct. Read on to discover the possible benefits and pitfalls of this centuries-old supplement.
To find out more information about reducing cholesterol, see:
- Foods That Lower Cholesterol: Many foods and supplements are proven to have a beneficial effect on cholesterol levels. Learn which foods can help lower your cholesterol and your risk of heart disease.
- Can Vitamins Lower Cholesterol?: Can a vitamin regimen really help lower cholesterol? Learn just how effective vitamin therapy can be.
- How Cholesterol Works: Cholesterol is vital to human life. Learn what cholesterol is, why we need it, and how too much can be deadly.
This information is solely for informational purposes. IT IS NOT INTENDED TO PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. Neither the Editors of Consumer Guide (R), Publications International, Ltd., the author nor publisher take responsibility for any possible consequences from any treatment, procedure, exercise, dietary modification, action or application of medication which results from reading or following the information contained in this information. The publication of this information does not constitute the practice of medicine, and this information does not replace the advice of your physician or other health care provider. Before undertaking any course of treatment, the reader must seek the advice of their physician or other health care provider.