A final nail in the policosanol coffin

Over the past 2 years, researchers from all over the world have failed to confirm the results of early studies in Cuba that reported a cholesterol-lowering effect with policosanol (a mixture of fatty alcohols from waxes of sugar cane).

Here’s the latest study from researchers at the McGill University in Montreal, Canada.
First, the details.

  • 21 otherwise healthy people with high lipid blood levels were randomly assigned to take 10 mg/day of policosanol or a placebo incorporated in margarine as an evening snack.
  • After 28 days, they reversed the treatment.
  • Cholesterol absorption and synthesis were measured during the last week of treatment.

And, the results.

  • There was no significant change in LDL (bad) cholesterol levels with policosanol compared to placebo.
  • There were also no differences in cholesterol absorption and synthesis.

The bottom line?
Other studies (here, here, and here) including one from McGill University (here) have shown policosanol to be ineffective in lowering cholesterol levels.

This study deserves mention because the authors went an extra step and showed no pharmacokinetic or physiologic change in cholesterol during policosanol treatment.

5/22/08 19:17 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.