Octacosanol is a complex alcohol that is a normal constituent of wheat germ and wheat germ oil. Other sources include whole grain cereals, seeds and nuts, and many plant oils and waxes. Octacosanol seems to improve reaction time.

Exercise enhancement

In studies dating back to the 1960s, octacosanol has shown its ability to enhance endurance and oxygen utilization during exercise. Research shows that octacosanol is taken up by muscles. It appears that muscles store octacosanol and convert it to an energy source. Energy mobilization and metabolism are enhanced by octacosanol. When octacosanol is first given, most of it goes to the liver, but after three days of treatment, it starts accumulating in muscle.

In studies from Japan, octocasanol caused rats to be more active and exercise more. It also increased their endurance. When people with heart disease are given 10 mg/day of octacosanol, aerobic capacity and oxygen uptake increase, and ischemia decreases. Improvement on treadmill exercise-ECG tests occurs after treatment with octacosanol. These results in heart patients confirm studies in healthy people undergoing exercise programs who were also able to increase reaction time and strength with octacosanol.
Br J Nutr 1995 Mar;73(3):433-41

Octacosanol affects lipid metabolism in rats fed on a high-fat diet.
Kato S, Karino K, Hasegawa S, Nagasawa J, Nagasaki A, Eguchi M, Ichinose T, Tago K, Okumori H, Hamatani K, et al

Department of Agricultural Chemistry, Faculty of Agriculture, Tokyo University of Agriculture, Japan.

The effect of dietary octacosanol, a long-chain alcohol, on lipid metabolism was investigated in rats fed on a high-fat diet for 20 d. The addition of octacosanol (10 g/kg diet) to the high-fat octacosanol may suppress lipid accumulation in this tissue, whereas no effect was seen in the epididymal adipose tissue weight and in the lipid content in liver. Octacosanol supplementation decreased the serum trigylglycerol concentration, and enhanced the concentration of serum fatty acids, probably through inhibition of hepatic phosphatidate phosphohydrolase.

Though the activity of hormone-sensitive lipase was not influenced by octacosanol, higher activities of lipoprotein lipase in the perirenal adipose tissue and the total oxidation rate of fatty acid in muscle were observed. Lipid absorption was not affected by the inclusion of octacosanol. Thus, the present results suggest that the dietary incorporation of octacosanol into a high-fat diet affects some aspects of lipid metabolism.