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Patience is a virtue

What goes up probably will come down.

Earlier this month in the weekly review of the HSI Forum (9/5/03), a member named JNM asked about policosanol; a compound derived from sugar cane that’s gaining a reputation as a natural alternative to cholesterol-lowering statin drugs.

JNM wrote: “My doctor wanted to double my dose of Lipitor, but I decided to keep the same dose and add Policosanol 23mg. That was 7 weeks ago. In my latest test Total increased by 3.3%, LDL by 5.7% and Triglycerides by 29%, while HDL dropped by 5%. Everything moved the wrong way! Does anyone know if the statins and policosanol adversely interact to make things worse? Has anyone used policosanol by itself for cholesterol?”

One member wrote to assure JNM that his numbers would probably start heading in the right directions if he stayed with the policosanol. And that opinion was confirmed in an e-mail I received from HSI Panelist Allan Spreen, M.D., who wrote:

“I agree with one of your readerspolicosanol should be used without regard to cholesterol levels at first. The Atkins diet very frequently does the same thing: in up to the first 6 months cholesterol levels can rise (I had this happen in my practice several times), and then they can fall. I’m convinced that cholesterol is being mobilized into the bloodstream prior to being removed from the body. Rarely did I not see the numbers (including triglycerides) fall over time.”

So even when it looks like everything is moving in the wrong direction, that doesn’t necessarily mean you have to abandon your natural regimen. As with so many botanical remedies, positive effects are not always immediate.

To Your Good Health,

Jenny Thompson
Health Sciences Institute