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New Human Studies Confirm Cholester-Lowering Effects of Policosanol

February 2002


The staggering price of prescription drugs is threatening to bankrupt the U.S. healthcare system. According to the Wall Street Journal, it costs the Ford Motor Company $704.00 per vehicle sold to pay the health-care expenses of current and retired employees.1 Ford expects annual double-digit increases in health-care expenditures, an amount it cannot afford to pay.

Campaign contributions by drug companies have bought a lot of influence in Washington. A growing citizens revolt, however, is causing some members of Congress to question laws that enable pharmaceutical companies to charge extortionist prices.2

A solution to the high drug price problem can be found in the free market. An example of how a "liberated" marketplace would function is a natural agent that works as well as cholesterol-lowering drugs, is far safer and costs substantially less. The name of this dietary supplement is policosanol.

The price of policosanol has just been reduced by 40%. This means that compared to cholesterol-lowering drugs, policosanol is 90% less expensive.

In this article we reveal new studies showing that policosanol is even more effective than originally thought.

Policosanol is becoming the hottest dietary supplement on the American marketplace. Clinical studies show policosanol works as well as FDA-approved drugs in lowering cholesterol…but is free of toxic side-effects.

In addition to reducing dangerous LDL-cholesterol, policosanol increases beneficial HDL-cholesterol, inhibits abnormal platelet aggregation, protects against LDL oxidation and suppresses arterial inflammatory factors.

Several disturbing reports in year 2001 showed that FDA-approved cholesterol-lowering drugs cause more side-effects than previously reported.3-8 One drug (Baychol) had to be withdrawn because more than 31 humans died from its toxic side-effects in the United States alone.9

Contrary to the negative reports on cholesterol-lowering drugs, new studies show policosanol is ultra-safe and even more effective than what previous studies indicated.

In a randomized, double-blind study published in the International Journal of Clinical Pharmacological Research, doctors investigated the efficacy and tolerability of policosanol at doses of 20 mg a day compared with 40 mg a day. Patients with high cholesterol had been on a cholesterol-lowering diet, but failed to achieve desired results. The patients were instructed to continue the cholesterol-lowering diet and were allocated to receive either placebo, policosanol 20 mg/day, or 40 mg/day.

After 24 weeks, policosanol at 20 and 40 mg/day lowered LDL-cholesterol by 27.4% and 28.1%, while total cholesterol was reduced by 15.6% and 17.3% respectively. Most impressive was the finding that beneficial HDL-cholesterol was increased by 17.6% in the 20mg/day and 17% in the 40 mg/day policosanol groups. There were no significant changes in the placebo group.

High levels of HDL-cholesterol may be the most important factor in protecting against cholesterol-induced arterial disease. It is the HDL molecule that removes plaque from arterial walls. Scientific studies show that people with the highest levels of HDL cholesterol have the greatest longevity.

The conclusion of this study was that 20 mg a day of policosanol provides about the same cholesterol-lowering efficacy as 40 mg a day. Consistent with previous studies, no adverse effects were observed.10

In another recent study, the effects of policosanol were measured on menopausal women in a randomized, double-blind, multicenter placebo-controlled trial. These women showed elevated total and LDL cholesterol despite a six-week standard lipid-lowering diet. Eligible patients were randomized to receive placebo or policosanol 5 mg/day for eight weeks and the dose was doubled to 10 mg/day during the next eight weeks.

Policosanol (5 and 10 mg/day) significantly decreased LDL-cholesterol (17.3% and 26.7%, respectively) and total cholesterol (12.9% and 19.5%). HDL-cholesterol levels were raised by 7.4% at study completion. No significant changes occurred in the lipid profile of the placebo group. No drug-related adverse effects were observed.

In addition, 46.4% of the policosanol group reported improvements in chronic symptoms and health perception compared to only 17.9% in the placebo group. The conclusion of the study was that policosanol was effective and well tolerated in hypercholesterolemic postmenopausal women, showing additional benefits in health perception.11

In still another new study published in the Journal of Gerontology and Biological Science-Medical Science, the effects of policosanol in older patients with high cholesterol and more than one other atherosclerotic risk factor was investigated. After six weeks on a lipid-lowering diet, patients randomly received a placebo or policosanol.

Policosanol (5 and 10 mg/day) significantly reduced LDL-cholesterol (16.9% and 24.4%, respectively) and total cholesterol (12.8% and 16.2%, respectively), while significantly increasing HDL-cholesterol by 14.6% and 29.1%, respectively. Triglyceride levels remained un-changed. Policosanol, but not the placebo, significantly improved cardiovascular capacity, which was assessed using the Specific Activity Scale. No serious adverse experiences occurred in the policosanol patients. The conclusions of this study were that policosanol is effective, safe and well tolerated in older patients with high cholesterol.12

FDA-Approved Drugs Don’t Always Work… Neither Does Policosanol

Near the end of year 2001, a report was published showing that in 18% of cases, FDA-approved cholesterol-lowering drugs don't work.* There are also people who do not achieve adequate cholesterol reduction with policosanol. That is why it is so important to have your blood tested when using policosanol (or FDA-approved drugs). Some people will only require 5 mg to 10 mg a day of policosanol, while others may need 20 mg/day. The same dosage variation may be true of cholesterol-lowering drugs.

A standard blood chemistry profile measures total cholesterol, LDL-cholesterol, HDL-cholesterol and numerous other parameters such as liver and kidney function. By taking this blood test two months after beginning policosanol, you can adjust the dose to meet your individual need. This standard blood chemistry test can be done at your doctor's office or you can order it directly by calling 1-800-208-3444. (Life Extension member price is $45.00 for this 37 panel blood test)

If you are unable to achieve desired cholesterol levels with diet, policosanol and/or FDA-approved drugs, there are other approaches. For assistance in this area, Life Extension members can call 1-800-226-2370

* Joseph P. Frolkis, Dennis L. Sprecher, Gregory L. Pearce. Cleveland LDL Cholesterol Response to Statin Therapy: There's Nothing “Normal” about the Distribution. Clin Fdn Cleveland OH. Circulation Supplement Oct 23, 2001 Vol 104 # 17. Population Science Abstracts from Scientific Session Sessions 2001 II-813/ 3816.