Policosanols are a mixture of natural substances extracted, in particular, from sugar cane, useful as an adjuvant treatment in cases of high cholesterol. Let’s find out more.
What are policosanols
Policosanols are a mixture of aliphatic alcohols that are made from sugar cane.
One of the main activities of polycosanols is the prevention against blood clots and thickening of the venous walls. They also help reduce platelet aggregation and fat cell accumulation.
Main functions of polycosanols
Polycosanols improve the overall health of the body. They prevent the formation of blood clots, carrying out a valid antiplatelet action, comparable to that exerted by acetylsalicylic acid.
In this way they help reduce the formation of thrombi that can form in the blood vessels; policosanols regulate the level of cholesterol present in the blood (they decrease the sensitivity of the LDL lipoprotein to oxidative changes, so there is a reduction in LDL, bad cholesterol, in favor of increasing HDL good cholesterol).
Policosanols are useful against free radicals and LDL oxidation, in addition, they have a positive action on the cardio-vascular system since they are able to reduce the proliferation of smooth muscle cells of the vessel wall responsible for reducing blood flow.
Thanks to these properties, policosanols help prevent cardiovascular diseases such as atherosclerosis, myocardial infarction, cerebaral ischemia, peripheral arterial insufficiency.
Where are they located
Policosanols are substances contained in many vegetables such as alfalfa, avocado, sugar cane, cotton plant and many leaves with a waxy layer that makes them shiny.
These substances are found on the market in the form of supplements that are often used as a supplement to lower the level of the so-called “bad” cholesterol in the blood, that is, transported by LDL lipoproteins from the liver to the tissues where it is used and accumulated, to increase instead the levels of the “good” one, taken from HDL lipoproteins from the tissues and brought back to the liver, which thus removes excessive quantities.
Polycosenols are present, albeit in smaller quantities, in green tea and rice.
Contraindications of policosanols
Generally the intake of policosanols is tolerated very well by the human body, however common unwanted side effects can be headaches, intestinal problems, insomnia, weight loss and rashes.
In case these contraindications occur, it is good to stop consuming policosanol supplements and consult a doctor.
Some people, in addition, such as pregnant women, hemophiliatic children, or people allergic to wax, potatoes or brown sugar, should refrain from taking these substances.