A dietary supplement said to lower cholesterol levels may not work as advertised, a new study shows.

The findings, which appear in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, add to evidence doubting the benefits of policosanol, a sugar-cane extract that has become one of the best-selling supplements in the U.S.

A number of studies have suggested that policosanol may be as effective as cholesterol-lowering statin drugs. However, those reports have come mainly from a single research group in Cuba, where policosanol has been popular for 15 years.

In the new study, of 40 adults with mildly elevated cholesterol, North Carolina researchers found that policosanol again failed to outperform a placebo.

Over eight weeks, policosanol users showed no improvements in their levels of "bad" LDL cholesterol or "good" HDL cholesterol compared with placebo users, the study found.


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