Policosanol and plant sterols header image        A survivor unlocks the mystery of lowering cholesterol with policosanol



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 Are these side effects of Lipitor, Zocor or Crestor dragging you down? 
Why didn't your doctor tell you about policosanol?

The physician who is up to speed on natural remedies is rarer than a do-do bird. Most doctors know little or nothing about the benefits of all natural policosanol.

Instead they automatically prescribe one of the statin drugs such as Lipitor, Zocor, Crestor and Vytorin to lower cholesterol.

These drugs lower cholesterol dramatically but are the side effects worth it? Here are just a few:

  • loss of sexual drive

  • fatigue and/or dizziness

  • liver function abnormalities

  • muscle pain or weakness and occasionally something called “myopathy” occurs, involving actual damage to muscle tissue

  • changes in memory, attention, or concentration. Some people have trouble finding the right word; may forget tasks they started to do.

  • some describe "holes in their memory" and others worry that they are developing Alzheimer's.

  • depression and changes in mood.

What is policosanol?
Policosanol is a mixture of fatty alcohols derived from the wax of sugarcane .(Saccharum officinarum, L.) These active substances work to lower cholesterol levels by several mechanisms including blocking the formation of cholesterol in the liver.

Although some cheaper forms of policosanol are derived from rice, plant waxes and bees wax these "bargain" formulas are often less effective. Sugar cane policosanol was used in the original clinical studies.

How does policosanol work?
Policosanol has been shown to exert direct effect on the liver cells that control cholesterol manufacture and breakdown. Specifically, it balances cholesterol levels by impacting both excessive manufacture and impaired breakdown of cholesterol. It is also an effective antioxidant and has several other benefits. (See Additional Policosanol Benefits below.)

Can policosanol lower cholesterol better than Lipitor, Zocor or Crestor without side effects?
Let's ask one of the most renowned natural doctors.

Dr. Michael MurrayDr. Michael Murray ND, author of Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine says this about policosanol:

"The results from the clinical studies involving nearly 30,000 total patients clearly demonstrate that policosanol is overall the absolute best answer to high cholesterol levels, whether we are talking about a nutritional supplement, herbal product or drug."

Why do most doctors automatically write out a prescription for a statin drug?
Marcia Angell, former editor of the New England Journal of Medicine and author of "The Truth About the Drug Companies" gives us some revealing clues:

  • The makers of Lipitor and Zocor alone spent $150 million on advertising in the year 2000 alone.

  • The pharmaceutical giants employed 88,000 sales representatives in 2001 to "visit" doctors, promote their products and provide them with free samples. That comes out to one drug rep for every 6 practicing physicians!

  • Medical protocol dictates that statin drugs are automatically prescribed as the "standard of care" regardless of the need. My cardiologist was "miffed" when I chose policosanol rather than take a statin drug.

  • Physicians have never studied the research.

Recent Policosanol Clinical Trials
Policosanol shown to be more effective
than Zocor and other statin drugs.
Reported in New Hope Natural Media, 6/6/02

"In a six-month study, 10 mg per day of Policosanol reduced total cholesterol by 16% and LDL cholesterol by 24%, and increased HDL cholesterol by 29%."

Several other studies have compared Policosanol with some of the conventional medications used for lowering cholesterol and the results have shown that of 5 to 20 mg per day to be more effective than Lovastatin (Mevacor®), pravastatin (Pravachol®)and Simvastatin (Zocor®).

In a 1997 head-to-head study policosanol was compared with statin drugs lovastatin (Mevacor), simvastatin (Zocor) and pravastatin (Pravachol)

Policosanol and ZOCOR were found to be equally effective in lowering cholesterol  during an eight week study...but policosanol also significantly increased HDL-cholesterol levels and Zocor did not.

American Heart Journal Report
"At doses of 10 to 20 mg per day policosanol lowers total cholesterol by 17% to 21% and low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol by 21% to 29% and raises high-density lipoprotein cholesterol by 8% to 15%"
American Heart Journal

Is policosanol safe?
Policosanol is one of the most widely tested natural products. In clinical trials of nearly 30,000 persons policosanol derived from sugar cane has been proven to be safe.

  • Numerous clinical trails show that elderly persons, diabetics and those with liver damage can safely take policosanol.

  • Studies show that this all natural product made from sugar cane  DOES NOT affect blood thinning and there is no interaction between policosanol and blood-thinning medication such as warfarin.

  • In short and long-term clinical studies, it has been simultaneously used with calcium antagonists,  beta-blockers and diuretics with no evidence of clinically relevant adverse interactions. 

  • NASAIDs, anti-depressants,  digoxin, warfarin, thyroid hormones and anti-ulcer drugs have also shown no evidence of clinically relevant adverse interactions with policosanol.

What are the side effects of policosanol?
The side effects of policosanol are rare and minimal. In studies of  27,879 patients (17,225 patients for two years and 10,654 patients for four years)
, only 86 patients (0.31%) reported adverse effects, the most frequent of which was weight loss.

How long does it take to get results?
Detailed clinical trials have shown that Policosanol produces beneficial effects on cholesterol control within the first 6-8 weeks of use.

What is the recommended dosage?
Dosage used in the clinical studies was from 10 mg to 20 mg per day. It was shown that increasing the dose to 40 mg had little additional benefit. The majority of persons take 20 mg per day but others prefer to start with 10 mg and increase to 20 mg if needed.

It is a good idea to have your cholesterol checked after 8-12 weeks of use and reduce your dosage if it causes your cholesterol to drop below 150 mg/dL.

Many doctors fail to tell you that your risk of stroke increases if your cholesterol becomes too low.

Pregnant or nursing women should not take policosanol without consulting with a health care professional.

Additional Benefits of Policosanol

  • Increases protective HDL cholesterol levels. Most statin drugs do NOT improve HDLs. HDL cholesterol levels typically increase by 15 to 25% after only two months of policosanol use.

  • The "good" HDL cholesterol is the "Superman" heart protector. HDL cholesterol acts like a miniature hydraulic vacuum cleaner, streaming through your arteries scooping up the heart- stopping LDL cholesterol, and carrying it back to your liver where it can be “dealt with”.

    HDLs also douse the fires of inflammation. It is this smoldering inflammation and oxidation that causes the cholesterol in our arteries to turn rancid and clog our arteries.

    Scientific studies also show that people with the highest levels of HDL cholesterol have the greatest longevity.

  • New studies show that oxidation and inflammation are more important contributors to artery clogging than just high LDLs alone.

  • It doesn’t interfere with sex life as statins often do.

  • Lowers Lp(a) cholesterol. Many researchers say this is the "baddest" form of cholesterol.

  • Reduces platelet aggregation (stickiness) which lowers risk of arterial blood clots.

  • Improves intermittent claudication (pain in the leg muscles due to inadequate blood supply).

  • This all natural supplement may prevent and reverse atherosclerotic lesions and thrombosis (clotting).

The benefits of policosanol are well documented by numerous studies and come with recommendations from recognized authorities such as Dr. Michael Murray and The American Heart Association. Unlike statin drugs such as Lipitor, Crestor and Zocor, side effects are rare and minimal.

I'm Gene Millen. Fifteen years ago a highly skilled heart surgeon, sawed open my chest and stitched in bypasses to six of my favorite heart arteries. 

In 1993 my wife Bernie and I opened the Vital Life Center, a health and wellness center for the "'50+ crowd." Our clients over the last eleven years have included hundreds of people who have been at risk for a heart attack...and many who have already experienced them.  Click here to review some pictures and comments from Vital Life Members.

     The Vital Life Health and Wellness Program
           was judged #2 in the United States
in competition with more than 2,500 health clubs.

In November 2004 we retired from Vital Life to devote full time to helping people all over the U.S. live a vital, energetic and heart healthy life.

When I first heard about policosanol I was skeptical because it seemed too good to be true. However, after studying the research I not only became convinced...I got excited. This is one of the best natural products that I have ever reviewed.

Policosanol has my personal recommendation...and nothing is too good for my heart!

A word of caution. Nutritional supplements aren't regulated by the FDA and studies show that many products do not contain the ingredients shown on the label.

Consumer Lab tested 7 policosanol supplements and found that four contained only 23% to 78% of the ingredients listed on the bottle. "Let the buyer beware."

Many of the cheap brands are made with bees wax or plant waxes which may not work as well as the sugar cane formulas. The University of Kansas Hospital  "Natural Pharmacist" website reports,
      "There is reason for concern that  policosanol products
          made with bees wax may not be effective."

You can click here for the policosanol I recommend and have been taking... Vital Life Nutritionals Policosanol Extra Strength 20 mg caps.

I like the fact that they are made with sugar cane and use the exact same formula used in the clinical trials. They also provide a "Life Time Money Back Guarantee" if for some reason policosanol doesn't work for you...which is highly unlikely.

Vital Life Nutritionals are manufactured by Vitamer Labs, a pharmaceutically registered facility that has been a leader in the manufacturing of natural supplements since the early 1970’s. These all-natural supplements meet stringent FDA regulations.

·         All Vital Life Nutritionals products have received the highest rating in the GMP (Good Manufacturing Practices) program and the GMP seal is displayed on the label. 

Most brands don't give a complete breakdown of the ingredients...and you will want to read the fine print in their "guarantee" very, very carefully.

Yours for a vital and healthy heart for Life!



Policosanol is derived from sugar cane shown ready for harvest.