It is the generic name for the extract of the plant waxes. In our body there are different types of cholesterol depending on their density. High density cholesterol is the good cholesterol while Low density cholesterol is the bad cholesterol. Policosanol is taken to lower the low density cholesterol and increase the level of high density cholesterol to prevent the occurrence of atherosclerosis. Though the effectiveness of this substance is being questioned.
It is actually mixture of the alcohols which are isolated and refined from the sugarcane. As the name implies it has presence of large number of alcohols but the main ingredient present in it octasanol. It also has presence of hexacosonol, triacontanol and some other alcohols. It has been associated with presence of low amounts of low density cholesterol or the bad cholesterol. The presence of the low density cholesterol is associated with the deposition of the cholesterol in the walls of small as well large vessels causing obstruction in the flow of the blood; this condition is called atherosclerosis which especially causes hardening of the arteries. Having high level of low density cholesterol also puts the person at risk of developing coronary heart disease.
Thus for this condition Policosanol is used because it is found out that, it increases the levels of high density cholesterol that is good cholesterol. The high density cholesterol are useful to the body because and so they are called good cholesterol. They carry cholesterol away from the arteries and transport them to the liver for their metabolism. In the liver the cholesterol is metabolized and excreted out of the body. Hence a relatively high proportion of the high density cholesterol is necessary to prevent the person from developing coronary heart disease.
Policosanol is also associated with the lower improved coronary artery health. It has also been found that the drug has some other uses too other than increasing the levels of high density cholesterol. The other uses are its anti-inflammatory, anti-viral, and the neuroprotective properties. Due to varied uses of this substance it has developed as one of first line drugs in the cure of many health related conditions. A wide range of clinical research and history of its safe and protected use in patients it is one of the most exciting nutritional supplement till date.
The mechanism of action of this drug is by modulation of HMG-CoA reductase enzyme. It also works by inhibiting the absorption of bile acids. Thus it indirectly inhibits the synthesis of cholesterol. It increases the effect of the drugs that interfere with the blood clotting mechanism and also the anti-platelet drugs such as aspirin, warfarin, heparin, clopidogrel, ticlopidine, or pentoxifylline or supplements such as ginger, ginkgo or high dose of vitamin-E. It is also found to increase the effects and the side effects of the anti-parkinsonian drug levodopa.
Policosanol is mostly studied and produced in Cuba. It is also promoted in a large amount in this country. The supplement is considered as panacea by some Cubans.
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