Summary

Octacosanol has many potential uses for various health concerns. The most widely studied to date are its cholesterol-lowering properties and exercise performance effects. The studies presented thus far have supported the potential octacosanol has in benefiting human health with regard to cholesterol lowering and platelet antiaggregation. Additionally, it has the potential to treat these health conditions without the major side effects often associated with currently marketed drugs. Thus, octacosanol is an important drug of the future in view of the ever-increasing prevalence of obesity and coronary heart disease in the U.S. However, the ability to pinpoint optimal doses for the aforementioned health benefits is lacking in the current literature. Likewise, toxicity of octacosanol has not been observed and remains unknown at this point. More studies are needed to address the long-term effectiveness of octacosanol as well as long-term problems that may arise with supplementation such as this. Furthermore, trials need to be consistent to optimize a comparison of studies that reflect true human function. For example, studies assessing octacosanol as an ergogenic aid need to be completely randomized and double blinded (to eliminate placebo effect), comparing athletes participating in similar exercise regimens. A study containing all of these aspects has not yet been reported. Future research must begin to focus on defining guidelines for octacosanol supplementation, which need to be specific for each health claim. This is especially important because supplementation of this sort does not fall under the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's jurisdiction.

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