What is Policosanol?
Policosanol is a naturally occurring complex alcohol molecule harvested from plant waxes originally derived from sugar cane. Later it was found that Policosanol can be isolated from bees wax and some plant materials with fatty acids.
Small studies and anecdotal evidence seem to suggest that policosanol can reduce the occurence of low density lipoprotein (LDL cholesterol) in the liver. Also suggested is that it can decrease sticky particles in the blood known as platelets which can help reduce the likelihood of blood clots and increase circulation reducing pain and narrowing of blood vessels.
Aliases of Policosanol:
What does Policosanol do?
Tim Ferriss recommends policosanol is one of the four horsemen of fat-loss. He indicates that the best time to take this supplement is between midnight and 4:00 AM which is when cholesterol production in many people seems to peak.
Policosanol is purported to also reduce LDL cholesterol (bad) while increasing HDL cholesterol (good).
One other little beneficial side-effect during Tim’s testing was that using 23 mg of policosanol during peak cholesterol production (at night) along with the other four horsemen of fat-loss (garlic extract, EGCG, and alpha-lipoic acid) during the day resulted in greater weight-loss
First, like so many naturally occurring supplements, not enough research has gone into the actual reasons why policosanol works, or even if it does. However, there have been some small studies and plenty of anecdotal evidence to suggest that something is happening with regard to cholesterol and other benefits.
In fact, one only has to take a quick gander at WebMD reviews around policosanol to see a trend. Like all things of this nature some people don’t do well with it for whatever reason but there does seem to be an overall consistency with regard to positive cholesterol reduction specifically.
In fact, in one study published in PubMed (Effects of policosanol 20 versus 40 mg/day in the treatment of patients with type II hypercholesterolemia: a 6-month double-blind study) it was cited that: “After 24 weeks, policosanol at 20 and 40 mg/day significantly lowered LDL-cholesterol by 27.4% and 28.1%…The ratio of total cholesterol/HDL-cholesterol was lowered by 27.1% and 27.5%, while HDL-cholesterol levels increased by 17.6% and 17.0%”.
Policosanol for Weight Loss and Control
According to Tim Ferriss’ findings, policosanol seems to work best for weight loss when taken at night complemented by the other four horsemen of fat-loss which are:
The complete strategy of these supplements combined and taken properly helps to boost your metabolism, increase weight-loss by redirecting nutrients to muscle instead of fat, and increasing energy.
The point Tim makes is that, like most things in nature, things tend to work best in harmony. Policosanol alone may reduce your cholesterol, but to supercharge your metabolism it needs to be part of a medley. Perhaps a better analogy would be that it is the cello in a string quartet that alone sounds beautiful, but it’s true beauty can only realized through combining the other strings.
Jump over to the article on PAGG for more information about how to go from geek to freak.
Are there Any Side Effects?
Like all things there is an element of risk. As someone who is allergic (typically from a respiratory standpoint) to anything that is green which was or is alive I can relate to those poor souls that fall out of the “norm”.
With Policosanol, some people have reported:
- skin redness and rash – never a fun thing to endure
- migraines – I’ve never experienced these personally, but I hear they’re a pain in the, well, head
- insomnia or drowsiness – nothing like conflicting “side effects”, isn’t the range of human differences amazing?
- irritability – so the question becomes: Is it a side effect? Or are the people around you simply irritating?
- dizziness – some people pay a lot of money for this feeling
- upset stomach – while being no fun I can tell you from experience that this WILL cause weight loss, ok, ok…I don’t recommend it
- increased appetite – not a problem so long as you are eating slow carbs via the four hour body diet
- trouble urinating – this is not something to play with, figure out what exactly is causing it and stop it and see a doctor
- weight loss – how is this a bad thing? But seriously too much of a good thing becomes a bad thing, monitor yourself!
- nose and gum bleeds – I can tell you that this is less than attractive, if this happens see a doctor
I’m poking fun with the side effects, but seriously, it is very important that if you have any reason at all to believe you might be at risk with ANY supplement or medicine, natural or not seek medical advice. If you ever notice the more serious things whether in the list above or not, seek medical attention!
Policonasol at Night Takes the Fight to Fat 24-Hours a Day
There are two products that I’ve found that delivers policosanol WITHOUT a bunch of fillers including the surprisingly common “rice flour” filler. It astounds me that so many supplement producers are willing to load up their supplements with hidden carbohydrates. We have enough of these complex sugars in everything today that we definitely do NOT need them in our supplements!
This is a not-so-well-known brand but contains pretty much nothing BUT policosonal!
What does this mean to you? Well, many supplement providers create a product that has a very nasty taste due to the fillers and preservatives. This basically means your only option is to swallow the pill. Some people have problems with pills so they prefer to add certain supplements to other foods. The last thing you typically want is some crazy tasting crap in your food.
Since this product is so pure it is pretty much tasteless, kind of nice for a change don’t you think?
This brand has the exact dosage as prescribed by Tim in the 4-hour body. It too does not contain a bunch of hidden carbohydrates and other fillers.
This somewhat cheaper brand is pretty close to pure, but sometimes you get what you pay for. The pills are smaller than many other manufacturer’s products so that’s a plus as well.
If you are torn, perhaps you start with this brand and stay with it for a month, then switch to the other (keeping all other variables as close to the same as possible) so that you can keep track of results from both to see which works better for you.