Policosanol is a cholesterol-lowering natural mixture of primary alcohols, isolated and purified from sugar cane wax. Policosanol is safe and well tolerated, even in populations with high use of concomitant medications.
Lipid profile improvements with the use of policosanol are seen in healthy volunteers, patients with type II hypercholesterolemia (high cholesterol), type 2 diabetics with hypercholesterolemia, postmenopausal women with hypercholesterolemia, and patients with combined hypercholesterolemia and abnormal liver function tests. However, there is controversy in this are based on recent negative evidence.
Policosanol has performed equal to or better than simvastatin, pravastatin, lovastatin, probucol, or acipimox with fewer side effects in patients with type II hypercholesterolemia.
Policosanol was approved for use in Cuba in 1991. Currently it is used in more than 25 countries throughout the world, mainly in South America and in the Caribbean region.

Related Terms

Hexacontanol, isopolicosanol, Octa-6, Octa-60, octacosanoic acid, octacosanol, policosanol, Ricewax, SCP, SFP, SFP winteriser cake, sugar cane policosanol, sunflower seed policosanols, triacontanol, wheat germ policosanol.

evidence table

These uses have been tested in humans or animals. Safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider.
Platelet aggregation inhibition (Grade: A)
Various studies have investigated the effect of policosanol on platelet aggregation. In general, studies suggest policosanol inhibits platelet aggregation induced by collagen and arachidonic acid.
Coronary Heart Disease (CHD) (Grade: B)
The effects of policosanol supplementation on exercise-ECG testing responses have been studied in individuals with coronary heart disease (CHD). Beneficial changes were noted in functional capacity, rest and exercise angina (chest pain), cardiac events and maximum oxygen uptake. Although this represents early compelling evidence, further research is necessary before a clear conclusion can be reached.
Intermittent claudication (IC) (Grade: B)
There is limited study of the effects of policosanol supplementation on walking distance in individuals with intermittent claudication. Additional human trials are necessary before a strong recommendation can be made.
High cholesterol (Grade: C)
Policosanol has been used and recommended to treat high cholesterol (hypercholesterolemia). Many studies have tested the effects of policosanol on cholesterol levels, and have found benefits. However, some newer research suggests that policosanol may not be as beneficial as previously thought.
Reactivity/brain activity (Grade: C)
The effects of policosanol supplementation on reactivity and related brain activity have been examined. Although there is early compelling evidence, further research is necessary before a clear conclusion can be reached.