Is Policosanol Safe for Diabetics?

Q In your online database of articles, you have one on policosanol stating that it does not affect blood sugar levels and that the alcohols are not the same as in wine. Is it safe for diabetics?

JOHN, Bakersfield, CA

A We have labored over the science of policosanol, much of which has come out of Castro’s Cuba. Following a negative report in an “important” medical journal a few years ago, policosanol research has significantly slowed. So we now wonder whether it ever fully achieved statin-like effects. Nevertheless, there are still a lot of recipients who swear by its ability to reduce the negatives of cholesterol and heart-unhealthy effects.

But a very recent study done at the University of Kentucky and published in Lipids, renowned for high-quality peer-reviewed papers, has demonstrated that policosanol promotes the phosphorylation of AMP-kinase and HMG-CoA reductase in hepatoma cells and in mouse liver after intragastric administration.1 This finding provides a possible means by which policosanol might lower blood cholesterol levels. When the researchers suppressed several fatty acid enzymes, the phosphorylation of AMP-kinase and HMG-CoA reductase by policosanol was prevented. This indicates that metabolism of these very long chain alcohols to activated fatty acids is necessary for the suppression of cholesterol synthesis, presumably by increasing cellular AMP levels.

To answer your question, we know of no research, from any country, suggesting that policosanol use can conflict with diabetes.

References

  1. Banerjee S, Ghoshal S, Porter TD. Activation of AMP-kinase by policosanol requires peroxisomal metabolism. Lipids 2011 Apr;46(4):311-21.

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