If you’re looking for the best policosanol supplements to buy this year, then you’ve come to the right place.
You can also get more info by jumping to our Policosanol Supplements Guide.
Top 10 Policosanol Supplements
|#1||NOW Foods Policosanol||More Info|
|#2||Swanson Policosanol||More Info|
|#3||Source Naturals Policosanol with Coenzyme Q10||More Info|
|#4||Solgar Policosanol||More Info|
|#5||Purethentic Naturals Policosanol||More Info|
|#6||Jarrow Formulas Ultra Policosanols||More Info|
|#7||Piping Rock Health Products Ultra Policosanol||More Info|
|#8||Nature’s Life Policosanol and RYR||More Info|
|#9||BlueBonnet Policosanol||More Info|
|#10||Pure Encapsulations – Policosanol||More Info|
What is Policosanol?
Policosanol is a widely available dietary supplement intended to lower bad cholesterol and raise good cholesterol. According to preliminary research conducted in Cuba some years ago, policosanol is a highly effective natural alternative to statin therapy.
Statins are drugs such as Lipitor that inhibit HMG-COa reductase, a liver enzyme that controls the production of cholesterol. Policosanol conveys the same HMG-COa reductase-blocking properties without the dangerous side effects of statins, which include an increase in the likelihood and severity of heart disease.
The word ‘policosanol’ is a generic label within the supplement industry. Depending on the brand that you purchase or the country in which you buy it, policosanol may also be known as:
- Cane Sugar Extract
- Cane Sugar Wax
All but the last two of these aliases, so to speak, are the names of long chain fatty acid alcohols (the active ingredients) that the generic label “policosanol” refers to. The last aliases, cane sugar extract and cane sugar wax, indicates one of the original sources of policosanol.
The extract comes from the waxy coating of Cuban sugar cane. It was the Cuban-based Dalmer Laboratories that first produced policosanol supplements. All of the initial research data confirming policasonal’s efficacy took place in Cuba using Cuban sugar cane.
Since the days policosanol first became available, several new viable sources have emerged, such as:
- Guduchi (an herbaceous vine used often in Ayurvedic medicine)
- Oils of corn, sesame and soybean
- Grapeseed oil
- Pomegranate seeds
- Asian rice
- Rice bran oil
- Wheat and wheat germ
The process of obtaining policosanol from viable sources begins with the hydrolysis of wax esters and isolating alcohol constituents. “Hydrolysis” refers to the chemical breakdown of compounds via water-based reactions.
The carbon structure of the resulting alcohol constituents is highly saturated, which makes policosanol not only fat-soluble but hydrophobic. Hydrophobic pertains to substances that repel, or fail to combine with, water.
Policosanol is safe to stack with other supplements like multivitamins, minerals and nutraceuticals. In fact, many studies conducted to gauge policosanol’s efficacy involved stacks. These stacks include other lipid-lowering agents or blood thinners, such as:
- Red yeast extract
- Fish oil
- Tomato extract
- Grapeseed extract
Controversy persists about policosanol’s effectiveness due to conflicting research results. Recall that all of the initial Cuban research used policosanal derived from Cuban sugar cane wax.
Coincidentally, 100 percent of this Cuban-based research confirms that policosanol indeed lowers bad cholesterol, or low-density lipoprotein (LDL). However, research outside of Cuba consistently fails to reproduce the same results.
Results from studies around the world are so dismal, their outcomes lower the overall success rate of policosanol’s efficacy from 100 percent to less than 20 percent. Both sets of studies employed similar dosing and pools of participants.
Three popular theories possibly explain the great disparities between Cuban-based policosanol studies and those conducted in laboratories around the world. One theory is that published results of the Cuban studies are biased.
Another theory is that studies outside of Cuba did not observe a similar dietary protocol among participants and, consequently, yielded less favorable results. In any case, all studies confirm that policosanol is utterly safe. Intended overdoses among research animals did not result in toxicity or adverse reactions.
Finally, the Cuban-based policosanol used in the original studies is a patented form derived from Cuban-grown sugar cane. Owing to patent and political issues, this patented form of policosanol has not been available in the United States.
Policosanol sold in the United States comes mostly from beeswax or wheat germ. Both of these substances contain similar active constituents to Cuban sugar cane-based policosanol but in markedly different mixtures. This may account for discrepancies, but the jury’s still out.
Policosanol has a high degree of shelf-stability. Capsules containing 5 to 10 milligrams can keep fresh and retain potency for up to nine months under normal storage conditions. One of the active long chain fatty alcohols, octacosanol, tends to degrade slightly, but not enough to render the entire supplement ineffective.
Benefits of Policosanol
The main benefits of policosanol supplementation are its lipid-lowering effects. In addition to acting on the liver’s ability to produce cholesterol, policosanol also augments the breakdown of bad cholesterol.
Policosanol potentially works synergistically with other natural statin-like supplements, such as red yeast rice. Policosanol also boosts the overall health of your heart and blood vessels.
For example, policosanol naturally reverses symptoms of antiphospholipid syndrome, otherwise known as “sticky blood.” Sticky blood is a condition in which highly sticky blood platelets bind together in your blood vessels (platelet aggregation).
Sticky blood platelets cause dangerous clots that lead to other conditions, such as deep vein thrombosis and atherosclerosis. Blood clots pose additional risks because they can travel.
As a result, policosanol enhances aspirin’s anticoagulant properties and vice versa. By diminishing the extent of artery clogging, policosanol inadvertently improves health issues related to poor circulation, such as claudication.
Stacking policosanol with omega-3 fatty acids possibly stabilizes mood and supports a healthy mood state long term. Policosanol might also reduce the proliferation of smooth muscle cells.
Such proliferation is a major contributing factor to the retention of bad cholesterol and the inflammation of blood vessel walls.
Are There Any Side Effects?
Policosanol has no inherent side effects, but it can interact negatively with some medications and supplements. Since policosanol greatly diminishes the possibility of platelet aggregation, stacking policosanol in high amounts with blood thinners or anticoagulants (aspirin, ginkgo biloba) is inadvisable.
Consult your doctor before taking policosanol if you’re already taking statins, warfarin, clopidogrel or prasugrel. A few studies show that policosanol might intensify the hypotensive side effects of nitroprusside and beta-blockers.
However, research shows that a small percentage of people who supplement with policosanol experience adverse reactions. Some of the common adverse reactions are:
- Excess urination
- Weight loss
There are many reasons why some people’s bodies don’t agree with some supplements. Adverse reactions don’t necessarily mean there’s something wrong with you or the supplement.
You might be allergic to one of the supplement’s whole-food sources or to common allergens present on the machinery in the manufacturer’s facilities. You might also need to readjust the dosage, tweaking it every several weeks to find the critical dose that offers benefits without side effects. Speaking of dosages…
How to Take Policosanol
To take policosanol, begin with half the dose that the manufacturer recommends to assess your tolerance. Raise the dose to optimal levels over a series of days or weeks.
Standard dosages (used in all of the original Cuban studies) are 5 to 10 milligrams twice daily. There is no evidence that this dose is bioactive. There is no recent data to support the efficacy of higher or lower doses.
Choose between capsules, tablets, softgels, caplets or chewables.
What to Look for in a Good Policosanol Product
To appraise policosanol supplements, first review the manufacturer’s professional reputation and business practices. Look for quality assurance and manufacturing certifications, such as GMP (Good Manufacturing Practice.)
Next, give favor to supplements packaged in fully disclosed labels. Transparency implies confidence and honesty on the manufacturer’s part. Lastly, ask around and consult customer reviews on major e-commerce websites and online fitness forums.
Attention in the media and endorsements from fitness professionals who are not affiliated with manufacturers are another way to gauge a supplement’s popularity and its effectiveness.