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Consumption of policosanol enhances HDL functionality via CETP inhibition and reduces blood pressure and visceral fat in young and middle-aged subjects.

It is well-known that policosanol can improve serum lipid profiles, although the physiological mechanism is still unknown. Here, we investigated functional and structural changes in lipoproteins after consumption of policosanol. To investigate the physiological effect of policosanol, we analyzed serum parameters in young non-smoker (YN; n=7, 24.0±2.4 years), young smoker (YS; n=7, 26.3±1.5 years), and middle-aged subjects (MN; n=11, 52.5±9.8 years) who consumed policosanol daily (10 mg/day) for 8 weeks. After 8 weeks, systolic blood pressure was significantly lowered to 4% (7 mmHg, p=0.022) from initial levels in the YS and MN groups. Moisture content of facial skin increased up to 38 and 18% from initial levels in the YS and MN groups, respectively. Serum triglyceride (TG) levels decreased to 28 and 26% from initial levels in the YN and MN groups, respectively. The percentage of high-density lipoprotein-cholesterol (HDL-C) in total cholesterol was elevated in all subjects (YN, 36%; YS, 35%; MN, 8%) after 8 weeks of policosanol consumption. All groups showed a reduction in serum glucose and uric acid levels. Serum cholesteryl ester transfer protein (CETP) activity was significantly diminished up to 21 and 32% from initial levels in the YN and MN groups, respectively. After 8 weeks, oxidation of the low-density lipoprotein fraction was markedly reduced accompanied by decreased apolipoprotein B (apoB) fragmentation. In the HDL fraction, paraoxonase activity was elevated by 17% along with elevation of apoA-I and cholesterol contents. Electron microscopy revealed that the size and number of HDL particles increased after 8 weeks, and the YS group showed a 2-fold increase in particle size. Daily consumption of policosanol for 8 weeks resulted in lowered blood pressure, reduced serum TG level and CETP activity, and elevated HDL-C contents. These functional enhancements of HDL can prevent and/or attenuate aging-related diseases, hypertension, diabetes and coronary heart disease.

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