Vitamins, Minerals and Dietary Supplements

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What is octacosanol? Why do we need it?

Octacosanol is a solid, insoluble waxy substance that belongs to the fatty alcohol family. It is isolated from the wax usually found on the green blades of what, and can also be found in wheat germ oil. It is the primary component of a sugar cane extract called policosanol.

While the exact action of octacosanol is unknown, research conducted in the 1970s suggested that it could improve endurance, increase reaction time, and help athletes train longer. Other studies have shown that it could improve grip strength and visual acuity. Anecdotal research suggests that octacosanol may lower blood cholesterol levels and may benefit patients with Parkinson's disease, but more research needs to be conducted in these areas.

How much octacosanol should I take?

Most practitioners recommend between 1 and 8 milligrams of octacosanol daily, taken with food. Doses of 20 milligrams or more should not be exceeded. When taken as part of policosanol, slightly higher doses may be consumed.

What forms of octacosanol are available?

Octacosanol is most frequently available as a tablet or capsule. It is occasionally blended with other fatty alcohols as part of a larger supplement.

What can happen if I take too much octacosanol? Are there any interactions I should be aware of? What precautions should I take?

Octacosanol should not be taken by children or women who are pregnant or nursing. Some studies have shown that patients with Parkinson's disease who take octacosanol supplements may experience dizziness and increased nervousness. Octacosonal may also interact with the drug levadopa; patients taking this medication should consult with a licensed health care provider before taking octacosanol. No other drug interactions are known to exist as of this writing.


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