Role of Policosanol in the Prevention and Treatment of Cardiovascular Disease

October 07, 2004

Policosanols are a mixture of plant cosanols (waxy alcohols) derived from sugar cane wax. When administered at 5mg to 20mg a day, Policosanols decrease the creation of plaques in the arteries. They accomplish this by reducing improper clotting, reducing blood vessel wall inflammation and damage, and by decreasing the creation of scar-tissue-plaques in the artery walls (what eventually is bad enough to earn the name atherosclerosis or cardiovascular disease). Additionally sugar cane waxed Policosanols have been shown to decrease total cholesterol by 13% to 23%, lower dangerous LDL-cholesterol by 19% to 31%, while increasing the protective HDL by 8% to 29%. Policosanols reduce the creation of cholesterol while also increasing its rate of excretion. When compared with statins, Policosanols exhibit comparable cholesterol lowering effects at much smaller doses. The study is published in the November 2003 issue of the journal Nutrition Reviews.

Resveratrol Protects Breast Tissue

The drugs Evista (raloxifene) and tamoxifen are used to protect women from developing breast cancer. They are called anti-estrogens. The anti-estrogens protect women by defending the genetic material in breast cells (DNA) from oxidative-free radical damage caused by estrogens especially 17-betaestradiol. In a new study the red grape skin antioxidant Resveratrol has this same activity in breast tissue. The anti-estrogens and Resveratrol stimulate levels of an enzyme known as Quinone Reductase. This enzyme is a potent detoxifying enzyme that removes dangerous chemicals from the body. In the breast Quinone Reductase shields breast tissue and DNA from free radical damage, possibly decreasing the risk of breast cancer. The study is published in the September 30th, 2004 issue of the Biochemical Journal.

Resveratrol Improves the Activity of Chemotherapy for Liver Cancer

Liver cancer was induced in mice. Resveratrol was supplemented at a dosage of 10mg/kg or 15mg/.kg versus inactive placebo for 10 days. The Resveratrol inhibited the liver cancer growth by 36.3% at the lower dosage and 40.3% at the higher, it continued to grow on placebo. Resveratrol at a dosage of 10mg/kg was added to two different dosages of 5-FU, a commonly used chemotherapeutic drug. The 5-FU was given at 10mg'kg or 20mg/kg. In mice receiving 5FU 10mg/kg with Resveratrol the growth of the liver tumor was inhibited by 72.4% and with the Resveratrol plus 5-FU at the 20mg/kg dosage the growth of the liver cancer was inhibited by 77.4%. 5-FU alone at 10mg/kg inhibited the growth by 43.8%, and at 20mg/kg 5-FU the growth was inhibited by 53.4%. The Resveratrol increased the effectiveness of the chemotherapeutic drug 5-FU in liver cancer while also decreasing its toxicity. The study is published in the October 2004 issue of the World Journal of Gastroenterology.

Commentary by Jerry Hickey, R.Ph.

One of the mechanisms of action where cabbage vegetables protect breast tissue and lower the risk of breast cancer is by stimulating the creation of Quinone Reductase in the breast.