3 Year Study Shows Policosanol Lowers Cholesterol and is Safe

Sep 28, 2004

High cholesterol and obesity are coronary risk factors. This randomized, double-blinded, placebo-controlled study was undertaken to investigate the long-term effectiveness and safety in obese patients with Type II Hypercholesterolemia. 129 patients were placed on step one cholesterol-lowering diet and were then randomized to either 5mg Policosanol (from sugar cane wax) or placebo taken once daily with the evening meal for 3 years. Patients had a high frequency of coronary risk factors especially hypertension and were evenly matched in both groups.

After one year Policosanol lowered LDL-Cholesterol by 24.3%, lowered total cholesterol by 15.8%, and increased HDL by 21.9%. Placebo caused very little change. At the completion of the 3 year study LDL-cholesterol was down 31.8%, total-cholesterol dropped 20.1%, and beneficial HDL increased by 24.6%. The patients taking Policosanol had fewer side effects and fewer cardiovascular events than the patients on placebo. The study is published in the current issue of the Asia Pacific Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 2004;13(Supplement):S102.

Is Gugulipid Safe?

Gugulipid is an herb used commercially to help lower cholesterol. Researchers have uncovered the ability of Guggulsterone, Gugulipids active ingredient, to trigger the livers breakdown of drugs including medication for HIV/AIDS, and chemotherapy reducing the effects of these and other (unknown) medications. It is already known that Guggulsterone somehow interacts with both estrogen and progesterone, and has an interaction with statin-cholesterol lowering drugs. Commentary by Jerry Hickey, R.Ph. ? I have never found Gugulipid to be helpful for lowering cholesterol. Due to the discovery of this troubling effect on important drugs, and because we cannot accurately pinpoint what other drugs Gugulipid may interact with, and due to a possible lack of benefit I will warn my clients to avoid this herb.

Supplement use could save US billions

The findings of a study commissioned by the Dietary Supplement Education Alliance, which were presented at a Congressional hearing on September 22 2004, revealed that billions of dollars could be saved each year by supplementation with commonly available nutritional products. The study focused on calcium with vitamin D, folic acid, omega-3 fatty acids, glucosamine and saw palmetto.

Professor Jeffrey Blumberg of the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University commented on the study: "As our country faces an ever-growing crisis in health care, it is important to recognize the role that dietary supplements can play in reducing our burden of disease and the costs to manage it."