The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) recently published a study saying that policosanol doesn't lower cholesterol. The study maintained that it doesn't lower harmful LDL. And it also said it doesn't raise helpful HDL, either.
This was a blow to everyone who prefers natural solutions to statins and other prescription drugs. The press gave this study a great deal of coverage. It caused a lot of people to stop taking policosanol. Many even turned to statins, which has numerous side effects.
The AMA was unfair.
You see, these very same researchers published a review on policosanol in the American Heart Journal four years ago. In that study, they said the exact opposite.
The AMA didn't mention this at all.
In the original review, the researchers found that people who took from 10-20 mg of policosanol a day had as much as a 21% reduction in their total cholesterol. Their LDL cholesterol – the dangerous sticky kind – dropped as much as 29%! And their healthy HDL cholesterol increased as much as 15%.
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What's more, these researchers announced that 10 mg of policosanol was just as effective as 10 mg of simvastatin (Zocor) or pravastatin (Pravachol).
Policosanol has other advantages over statins. It doesn't deplete coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10). This nutrient is essential for a healthy heart and brain. Why isn't the AMA telling everyone taking statins to also take extra CoQ10? Could it be because CoQ10 is a non-prescription nutritional supplement?
Policosanol has still another benefit. It thins the blood. This means most people who take policosanol probably don't need to take aspirin or other blood thinners (such as Coumadin). Ask your doctor. But first, tell him or her that policosanol has been shown to be both safe and effective in numerous randomized, double-blind studies. He probably hasn't heard this from the AMA.
I've given my patients policosanol for years. When 10 mg a day doesn't lower cholesterol levels enough, 20 mg a day often does. If you want to avoid statins, lower your bad cholesterol, and raise your good kind, try this supplement. It has a history of being safe. If one brand doesn't work for you, try another. The one I use has a good track record with my patients. Call Women?s Preferred at 800-728-2288.
For more information on policosanol vs. prescription drugs, be sure to read my article in the January issue of Women's Health Letter. It's will soon be available in print and online at no cost to all newsletter subscribers.
Your voice of reason in Women's Health,
Dr. Janet Zand
Berthold, H, et al, "Effect of policosanol on lipid levels among patients with hypercholesterolemia or combined hyperlipidemia," JAMA 2006.
Berthold, J and H, "Policosanol: clinical pharmacology and therapeutic significance of a new lipid-lowering agent", The American Heart Journal, vol 143, 2002.