Policosanol in the PAGG Stack Supplement
Policosanol might be one of the most controversial and least-understood elements of the PAGG stack supplement, as described by Tim Ferriss in the Four Hour Body book.
Being the ‘P’ that makes it pronounceable, many people are surprised to find they don’t take very much of it – in fact it is only in the 4th and final dose of the day that policonsanol is taken, just 23mg, along with aged Garlic extract and Alpha-lipoic acid (the PAG capsule). It isn’t taken with meals, where the designated stack is AGG – Alpha-lipoic acid, aged Garlic extract and Green tea flavanols (ECGC).
Policosanol is best known in food supplement usage for its effect on cholesterol levels – it lowers low density cholesterol and raises high density cholesterol in the body, which is what you want to happen for health reasons, and it also has positive effects in prevention of atheroclerosis (arterial wall thickening). It is derived from sugar cane and yams, and was first discovered back in the 1980s when some Japanese experimenters fed wax from sugar cane to rats and pigs – and noticed their cholesterol levels dropped.
It was in Cuba however that it was properly isolated and identified, and extensive state-funded testing was carried out, identifying a range of positive health benefits including anti-viral, anti-inflammatory and neuro-protective properties. In Cuba today it remains a popular health tonic, widely taken for its general health benefits, and produced in large quantities. The initial studies as to efficacy have been challenged as to methodology, but no serious attempts have been made to prove or disprove them, and when Tim Ferriss was experimenting with policosanol for its cholesterol-improving effects he discovered the fat-reducing by-product serendipitously.
The exact biochemical pathways by which policosanol acts remain unclear, but appear to involve blocking the cholesterol synthesis in the body as well as inhibiting the oxidation of low density cholesterol. Cholesterol is largely produced in the body at night, which is why the policosanol dose of the stack is targeted for metabolism during this time. Ferriss experimented carefully to establish the minimum effective dose of 23mg – although policosanol has been mega-dose tested in animals to the equivalent of 1724x human doses without ill-effect, it remains a lesser known and established supplement in comparison to the other elements of the PAGG stack.
No side effects have been reported in the use of policosanol in this way to date, but it is recommended to seek medical advice if you are already taking blood thinning medication such as statins, because the two substances may act in similar ways to produce an excessive dose.
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