Disclaimer: This article is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.
Policosanol, also known as octacosanol, is a nutritional supplement that is made by mixing primary aliphatic alcohols including tetracosanol, hexacosanol, heptacosanol, octacosanol, nonacosanol, triacontanol, dotriacontanol, and tetratriacontanol. This supplement is derived from wax secretions of plants like sugarcane and yams, and beeswax. The main ingredient is octacosanol, an alcohol, as it is present in a large concentration; about 60%.
Side Effects of Policosanol
Although the supplement is considered as a natural product as it is obtained from plant sources, it is not completely free of side effects. It can cause certain side effects, ranging from mild to severe.
Mild Side Effects
The mild side effects usually do not last long. However, if you experience any of these side effects, you should consult with your healthcare provider immediately.
- Excessive hunger
- Upset stomach
- Weight loss
- Painful urination
Apart from the mild side effects, you might experience some allergic reactions as well.
- Skin rash
- Swollen throat/face
- Difficulty breathing
- Difficulty swallowing
Severe Side Effects
Any type of side effect, mild to severe is a serious occurrence and you should seek medical attention immediately.
- Internal bleeding
- Vomiting blood
- Black, tarry stool
- Gastrointestinal bleeding
Sometimes, signs of hemorrhagic stroke may be seen, such as, changes in vision or speech, severe headache, weakness, or numbness in arms and legs. They also clearly indicate that you should immediately stop consuming the supplement. If you are taking other medication along with the supplement, there can be other adverse effects. Hence, it is advisable to use policosanol only after consulting with a healthcare provider. Pregnant or breastfeeding women should avoid its usage as it may lead to other health-related complications. Although the exact effects of the supplement's overdose is unknown, it is believed that an overdose may increase the risk of internal bleeding.
An Insight about Policosanol
As the supplement claims to regulate the levels of LDL and HDL cholesterols, enough research is yet to be conducted for its strong argument. It is thought that the supplement increases the breakdown of cholesterol in the body and helps to decrease the amount of cholesterol produced by the liver. There are capsules available in most health and nutrition stores. Taking 5 to 80 mg daily for up to 3 years is possibly safe. However, there has not been any recommended dosage approved by the FDA.
Studies have shown that the supplement can improve the symptoms of intermittent claudication that include disability in walking due to crippling of the legs or feet. It is believed that the supplement can be effective to deal with this condition, allowing people to walk properly.