For over five years, the benefits of policosanol have been studied
by scientists and researchers. There are many published reports and
studies concerning this component derived from sugar cane.
Many of research studies compare the cholesterol lowering effects of policosanol to those of statin drugs, but unlike statin drugs, there are no known negative side effects.
In the United States, there is much controversy surrounding the health benefits of policosanol, as there is with many natural health supplements. Critics of nutritional supplements, herbs and other natural remedies often claim that these products may have dangerous side effects that we may or may not know about.
They often say that there is not enough clinical research to support the use of this product.
In this case, the controversy is not related to feared side effects. In the estimation of this author, critics cannot say that there is not enough scientific research showing the health benefits. Because there have been numerous studies conducted. The controversy is basically political.
Policosanol is a generic term that applies to any natural extract of plant waxes. It can come from plants such as yams or be derived from beeswax. However, the most effective type, with the most clinical research supporting its use as a health supplement, is derived from sugar cane. Specifically sugar cane that is grown in Cuba.
Many years ago the United States imposed a trade embargo against Cuba. Businesses in the United States are not allowed to trade or conduct business with Cuban interests.
Many scientists and researchers in the United States disregard the mountain of research that clearly shows the benefits of policosanol in lowering cholesterol, because most of the research was done in Cuba. And, American businesses are not allowed to purchase Cuban sugar cane.
Now, the mountain of evidence supporting the health benefits is growing. According to the Department of Medicine at the University of Washington in Seattle, many supplements claim to provide protection from heart disease.
Of the 15 different supplements that the researchers studied, the two with the most supporting data were policosanol and garlic. These researchers did not differentiate between studies done in Cuba or elsewhere, but they only considered scientific data that was derived from large placebo controlled randomized trials.
policosanol from sugar cane is a promising resource for cardiovascular disease
According to the School of Dietetics and Human Nutrition in Quebec, Canada, policosanol from sugar cane is a promising resource in the prevention and therapy of cardiovascular disease. In addition to lowering cholesterol, the benefits of policosanol from sugar cane include the prevention of platelet aggregation, the forerunner of clogged arteries.
According to Pantox Laboratories in San Diego, California, the benefits of policosanol are similar to statin drugs, without the side effects. No negative side effects have ever been reported. On the other hand, statin drugs may hinder the body’s production of CO Q10, which can lead to deep muscle pain and eventually muscle death.
Other supporting studies for the cholesterol lowering benefits of products derived from sugar cane come from Bologna in Italy, the University of Kentucky, and Croatia in the Mediterranean, Monza in Italy, Purdue University in Indiana, the Cardiovascular Journal from South Africa and the Department of Preventive Cardiology in Chicago, Illinois. None of these have shown any negative side effects of policosanol.
Even blood glucose levels have been measured to determine if the sugar cane derivative would have a negative effect on blood sugar, but no change was noted.
There have been a handful of
studies that report no cholesterol lowering benefits of policosanol,
but only one of these used Cuban sugar cane and researchers have shown
that the chemical composition of plants grown in different regions
varies, as does the nutritional value of plant foods grown in different
soil conditions. Even the studies that showed no benefit also reported
no adverse side effects of policosanol.
... policosanol may protect
against neurodegenerative events ...
Lower cholesterol may not be the only benefits of policosanol. A study from Adelphi University in New York concluded that policosanol may protect against the development of neurodegenerative events resulting from exposure to pesticides.
Natural Alternatives International in California reports that policosanol along with vitamin D and other natural plant components provide a practical strategy for combating neurodegenerative disorders, such as Alzheimer’s.
Other benefits of policosanol supplements derived from sugar cane may include improved strength, stamina and reaction times. Only the best daily supplements contain policosanol from sugar cane.
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