Heart disease, including stroke, is a leading cause of death in Canada. It is the number one cause of hospitalization, and costs the health-care system $18.5 billion annually—more than any other disease. Hypercholesterolemia, or high cholesterol, is a leading contributor to heart disease. High cholesterol levels can lead to atherosclerosis, a thickening of the walls of the arteries, which are the major blood vessels carrying oxygen- and nutrient-rich blood to the heart and brain. High cholesterol can also contribute to increased platelet aggregation, or blood clotting. When a clot is carried by the blood through a narrowed artery, it can get stuck and impede blood flow, or stop it entirely, causing heart attack or stroke. High cholesterol is particularly problematic among men over 40, post-menopausal women, and people suffering from obesity or diabetes. Many drugs have been formulated to lower cholesterol, most notably those in a class called “statin” drugs. But virtually all drugs have adverse effects, some so severe that many patients cannot tolerate them. This had led to a search for natural ways to lower cholesterol without adverse effects. In Cuba, research scientists have found that policosanol, which is derived from a wax extracted from sugar cane, is more effective in improving cholesterol levels than many of the statin drugs, without adverse effects.