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Policosanol was originally derived from sugar cane but the chemicals can also be isolated from beeswax, cereal grains, grasses, leaves, fruits, nuts, and seeds of many foods. Plant waxes consist of very long chain fatty acids that have been esterified to very long chain alcohols. Policosanols are very long chain alcohols with carbon backbones ranging from 24 to 34 carbons.
The first policosanol supplements were produced by Dalmer Laboratories in Cuba; studies conducted and published by that group have found that policosanol is safe and effective as a lipid-lowering agent. However these studies were small, and efforts by groups outside of Cuba have failed to replicate these results.
A meta-analysis in 2005 concluded that human policosanol consumption is safe and well tolerated and is effective at lowering the blood cholesterol. As of 2010, they were marketed as lipid-lowering agents in the Caribbean, Central and South America, and Canada. Furthermore, another meta-analysis was published in 2018 with 22 studies and 1886 subjects showed policosanol could improve dyslipidemia with raising HDL. The blood pressure lowering effect of Cuban policosanol has been shown in an animal model using spontaneously hypertensive rats (SHR) and a human trial.
- Marinangeli CP, Jones PJ, Kassis AN, Eskin MN (March 2010). "Policosanols as nutraceuticals: fact or fiction". Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition. 50 (3): 259–67. doi:10.1080/10408391003626249. PMID 20301014.
- Chen JT, Wesley R, Shamburek RD, Pucino F, Csako G (February 2005). "Meta-analysis of natural therapies for hyperlipidemia: plant sterols and stanols versus policosanol". Pharmacotherapy. 25 (2): 171–83. doi:10.1592/phco.220.127.116.11942. PMID 15767233.
- Gong, Jing; Qin, Xin; Yuan, Fen; Hu, Meilin; Chen, Guang; Fang, Ke; Wang, Dingkun; Jiang, Shujun; Li, Jingbin; Zhao, Yan; Huang, Zhaoyi; Dong, Hui; Lu, Fuer (2018). "Efficacy and safety of sugarcane policosanol on dyslipidemia: A meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials". Molecular Nutrition & Food Research. 62 (1): 1700280. doi:10.1002/mnfr.201700280. PMID 28730734.
- Cho KH, Yadav D, Kim SJ, Kim JR (May 2018). "Blood Pressure Lowering Effect of Cuban Policosanol is Accompanied by Improvement of Hepatic Inflammation, Lipoprotein Profile, and HDL Quality in Spontaneously Hypertensive Rats". Molecules. 23 (5): 1080. doi:10.3390/molecules23051080. PMID 29751583.
- Cho KH, Kim SJ, Yadav D, Kim JY, Kim JR (2018). "Consumption of Cuban Policosanol Improves Blood Pressure and Lipid Profile via Enhancement of HDL Functionality in Healthy Women Subjects: Randomized, Double-Blinded, and Placebo-Controlled Study". Oxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity. 2018: 1–15. doi:10.1155/2018/4809525. PMC 5944267. PMID 29854085.
- Kim SJ, Yadav D, Park HJ, Kim JR, Cho KH (2018). "Long-Term Consumption of Cuban Policosanol Lowers Central and Brachial Blood Pressure and Improves Lipid Profile With Enhancement of Lipoprotein Properties in Healthy Korean Participants". Frontiers in Physiology. 9: 412. doi:10.3389/fphys.2018.00412. PMC 5939616. PMID 29765328.
- Policosanol at Drugs.com