by Julia Samuel on  September 8, 2017 at 6:41 PM Health Watch
  • Wheat germ oil, rice bran oil, sugar cane and beeswax contain Octacosanol which acts as an antioxidant.
  • Octacosanol reduced corticosterone level in blood plasma, which is a stress marker.
  • Octacosanol also restored stress-affected sleep back to normal in mice.

Very often sleep is disturbed due to stressful events that came across during the day. In today's scenario, demanding jobs, financial crisis and sometimes illness can interrupt sleep. Sleeplessness can lead to weight gain, heart disease and tiredness.

Though there are medication and lifestyle factors that can help in relieving stress, there might not be enough time to practice them. Currently available sleeping pills do not address stress component and often have severe side effects. Scientists in the Japanese sleep institute found that the active component rich in sugarcane and other natural products may ameliorate stress and help having sound sleep.
Natural Compound In Sugarcane Restores Sleep, Relieves Stress

Octacosanol Reduces Stress

The research group led by Mahesh K. Kaushik and Yoshihiro Urade of the International Institute for Integrative Sleep Medicine (WPI-IIIS), University of Tsukuba, found that octacosanol reduces stress and restores stress-affected sleep back to normal.

Octacosanol is abundantly present in various everyday foods such as sugarcane (thin whitish layer on surface), rice bran, wheat germ oil, bee wax. The crude extract is policosanol, where octacosanol is the major constituent. Policosanol and octacosanol have already been used in humans for various other medical conditions.

In the current study, the effect of octacosanol on sleep regulation was tested in mildly stressed mice by oral administration.
  • Octacosanol reduced corticosterone level in blood plasma, which is a stress marker.
  • Octacosanol-administered mice showed normal sleep, which was previously disturbed due to stress.
  • Octacosanol mitigates stress in mice and restores stress-affected sleep to normal in mice.
  • The sleep induced by octacosanol was similar to natural sleep and physiological in nature.
However, authors also claimed that octacosanol does not affect sleep in normal animals. These results clearly demonstrated that octacosanol is an active compound that has potential to reduce stress and to increase sleep, and it could potentially be useful for the therapy of insomnia caused by stress.

Octacosanol can be considered safe for human use as a therapy, because it is a food-based compound and believed to show no side effects. Octacosanol/policosanol supplements are used by humans for functions such as lipid metabolism, cholesterol lowering or to provide strength.

However, well-planned clinical studies need to be carried out to confirm its effect on humans for its stress-mitigation and sleep-inducing potentials.

"Future studies include the identification of target brain area of octacosanol, its BBB permeability, and the mechanism via which octacosanol lowers stress," Kaushik says.

  1. Mahesh.K.Kaushik et al.,, Octacosanol restores stress-affected sleep in mice by alleviating stress, Science Reports (2017)

Source: Medindia

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