McGill researchers report policosanol is ineffective in lowering cholesterol

A new study adds to the mystery of policosanol. Past posts here have summarized the ongoing debate over its effectiveness as a treatment for high cholesterol levels. Studies conducted by the Center of Natural Products at the National Center for Scientific Research in Havana report a dose-dependent reduction in LDL (bad) cholesterol of up to 29%.

Outside of Cuba, the results are inconsistent. One proposed reason is the source of the policosanol.

But wait!

The results of a study conducted at McGill University in Canada using the authentic Cuban sugar cane policosanol raise new questions.

In 21 healthy volunteers with high cholesterol who were treated with policosanol 10 mg for 28 days, there was no difference in LDL or HDL cholesterol, or triglyceride levels compared to another group who took placebo.

One reason might be that the dose was too low.

However, two respected researchers at a prestigious school conducted this study. Their inability to confirm the cholesterol-lowering effects of policosanol casts a shadow on past results.

11/8/06 19:05 JR

Hi, I’m JR

John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at, a complementary and alternative medicine website.