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Lack of cholesterol-lowering efficacy of Cuban sugar cane policosanols in hypercholesterolemic persons

Kassis, Amira N., Jones, Peter JH
American journal of clinical nutrition 2006 v.84 no.5 pp. 1003-1008
human nutrition, functional foods, plant fats and oils, sugarcane, human physiology, blood lipids, lipid content, cholesteremic effect, randomized clinical trials, hypercholesterolemia, biomarkers, cholesterol, high density lipoprotein, low density lipoprotein, triacylglycerols, body weight, margarine, Cuba
BACKGROUND: More than 50 studies have reported substantial reductions in plasma lipid concentrations in response to 2-40 mg Cuban sugar cane policosanol (SCP) mixtures/d. However, several animal and human trials conducted outside of Cuba that used non-Cuban mixtures have failed to reproduce the efficacy of policosanols observed in earlier studies. OBJECTIVE: The objective was to evaluate lipid-modulating actions of the authentic Cuban SCPs on plasma lipids in healthy hypercholesterolemic volunteers. DESIGN: Twenty-one volunteers consumed, under supervision, 10 mg SCPs/d 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. Blood was collected at days 1, 2, 28, and 29 of the feeding trial, and lipid concentrations were measured. 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 SCPs on lipid indicators in hypercholesterolemic persons and question the clinical usefulness of policosanol mixtures as cholesterol-lowering neutraceutical agents.