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Carnauba wax ester may have cholesterol-lowering effect, emerging research shows


  • p-Methoxycinnamic acid diester (PCO-C) naturally occurs in carnauba wax
  • PCO-C significantly reduces total- and LDL-cholesterol in a high-fat diet mouse model
  • Cholesterol-lowering effect of PCO-C is similar to statin treatment


This study was designed to assess the hypolipidemic, antioxidant, toxicological, and gene expression effects of p-methoxycinnamic acid diester (PCO-C) in a high-fat diet (HFD) mouse model. PCO-C is a natural constituent of carnauba wax powder.

For this study, researchers randomly assigned 28 healthy mice to one of four treatment groups: a standard diet (3% fat) only, a high fat diet (HFD) only (14% fat), a HFD with PCO-C (100 mg/kg/day by oral gavage*), or a HFD with a statin (simvastatin; 20 mg/kg/day by oral gavage). The animals in the HFD groups were fed a HFD for 20 days prior to the study to induce hypercholesterolemia. Fasting blood parameters were analyzed after 30 days and 90 days of treatment.

Results indicate that, after 30 days, PCO-C reduced total cholesterol by 19% (P<.05) while simvastatin reduced total cholesterol by 17%, compared to the HFD alone. Similar reductions were reported after 90 days of treatment (-19% with PCO-C; -23% with simvastatin), compared to the HFD alone.

After 90 days, both PCO-C and simvastatin-treated mice also showed significant reductions in LDL-cholesterol levels.

Separately, PCO-C reduced excessive weight gain and lipid peroxidation, increased gene expression of lecithin cholesterol acyltransferase (LCAT) following the HFD, and failed to show any evidence of renal and hepatic toxicity. By contrast, simvastatin elevated the level of aspartate aminotransferase (AST), a marker of liver dysfunction. Finally, PCO-C showed no cytotoxicity or genotoxicity towards human peripheral blood lymphocytes in vitro.

More research is needed; however, these preliminary safety and efficacy findings suggest that oral treatment of PCO-C derived from carnauba wax powder may have therapeutic value for reducing total and LDL-cholesterol levels.

*The equivalent human dosage of PCO-C is 8.1 mg/kg/day.


Paim RTT, Rodrigues PSA, Silva JYGD, et al. p-Methoxycinnamic acid diesters lower dyslipidemia, liver oxidative stress and toxicity in high-fat diet fed mice and human peripheral blood lymphocytes. Nutrients. 2020;12(1).

PMID: 31968556