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Beware of Policosanol

In some ways the practice of alternative medicine is trail and error. As an example there are 100’s of nutraceutical companies that are continually making claims that their product is better than the other company or that they have a new and better product. As there are very few impartial studies that are done on these product I have found that “work of mouth” from other colleagues as to what products they have found beneficial to be the most helpful. Some time it comes down to trying a product to see if it really does what the company claims it does.

One such new product, policosanol which is derived from sugar cane, was suppose to lower cholesterol. On trying it on several patients I found it just did not work. Just the other day I read where there were several new studies on this product that found it ineffective in treating hypercholesterolemia. Apparently, the original studies which supposedly demonstrated that policosanol lowers cholesterol was done by a Cuban group which has also made claims that this product can help improve circulation to the legs.

Terry Pfau DO, HMD

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