Health, Myths, Fraud and the Crisis

Archive for September, 2010

Sugar Cane Extract better than Statins ?

Policosanol, a Natural Alternative to Statin Drugs ?

1. Slash bad LDL cholesterol by a whopping 25%…
2. Cut TOTAL cholesterol as much as 17%…
3. Yet raise “good” HDL cholesterol by over 29%…
4. Reduce dangerous TRIGLYCERIDES over 14%…
5. Lower BLOOD PRESSURE…
6. Slash the risk of deadly BLOOD CLOTS
7. All without blocking CoQ10 production

Other studies :

German investigators report that policosanol may not be effective to lower LDL cholesterol. Policosanol is an extract of the waxy coating of sugar cane and other plants, and multiple trials have demonstrated that it safely lowers lipid levels. However, Dr. Heiner K. Berthold says that almost all of these studies came from one group in Cuba, whose research was funded by Dalmer Laboratories, which markets policosanol. In an attempt to confirm their findings, Berthold, from the Drug Commission of the German Medical Association in Berlin, and his team performed a “rigorously controlled” multicenter study comparing Cuban sugar cane-derived policosanol with an inactive “placebo” supplement. Their study involved 143 adults with LDL cholesterol levels of at least 150 milligrams per deciliter. Participants were randomly assigned to policosanol at doses of 10, 20, 40 or 80 milligrams daily or placebo. After 12 weeks, the researchers saw no statistically or clinically significant effect on LDL cholesterol at any dose. Similarly, the investigators report, there were no significant differences among the groups in HDL (“good”) cholesterol levels, total cholesterol, very low density-cholesterol, triglycerides, or lipoprotein(a). The study was sponsored by Madaus AG, an international company specializing in plant-derived drugs, which does not manufacture or distribute any cholesterol-lowering drugs. Journal of the American Medical Association, May 17, 2006.

Lack of cholesterol-lowering efficacy of Cuban sugar cane policosanol in hypercholesterolemic persons
American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Vol. 84, No. 5, 1003-1008, November 2006. Amira N Kassis and Peter JH Jones.
From the School of Dietetics and Human Nutrition, McGill University, Ste-Anne-de-Bellevue, Montréal, Quebec, Canada
More than 50 studies have reported substantial reductions in plasma lipid concentrations in response to 2 – 40 mg Cuban sugar cane policosanol mixtures per day. However, several animal and human trials conducted outside of Cuba that used non-Cuban mixtures have failed to reproduce the efficacy of policosanol observed in earlier studies. The objective was to evaluate lipid-modulating actions of the authentic Cuban sugar cane policosanol on plasma lipids in healthy hypercholesterolemic volunteers. Twenty-one volunteers consumed, under supervision, 10 mg policosanol per day or a placebo incorporated in margarine as an afternoon snack, for a period of 28 d with the use of a randomized, double-blind crossover study design. Subjects maintained their habitual diet and physical activity and were weighed daily throughout the study period. Results: Body weights did not vary significantly throughout the trial and did not affect plasma lipid values. No significant difference was observed between treatment and control groups in plasma total, LDL-, HDL-cholesterol, and triacylglycerol concentrations. Conclusion: Present results show no beneficial effects of Cuban sugar cane policosanol on lipid indicators in hypercholesterolemic persons and question the clinical usefulness of policosanol mixtures as cholesterol-lowering neutraceutical agents.

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Statins and CoQ10

Statin drugs block cholesterol production in the body by inhibiting the enzyme called HMG-CoA reductase in the early steps of its synthesis in the mevalonate pathway. This same biosynthetic pathway is also shared by CoQ10.Therefore, one unfortunate consequence of statin drugs is the unintentional inhibition of CoQ10 synthesis. Thus, in the long run, statin drugs could predispose the patients to heart disease by lowering their CoQ10 status, the very condition that these drugs are intended to prevent.

The reduction of CoQ10 levels might be associated with myopathy, a rare adverse effect associated with statin drugs. This metabolic myopathy is related to ubiquinone (CoQ10) deficiency in muscle cell mitochondria, disturbing normal cellular respiration and causing adverse effects such as rhabdomyolysis, exercise intolerance, and recurrent myoglobinuria. (DiMuro S., Exercise intolerance and the mitochondrial respiratory chain. Ital J Neurol Sci. Dec. 1999;20(6):387-393).

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