Does Red Yeast Rice Really Work?

Red Yeast Rice has been touted as the perfect natural supplement when it comes to the treatment of high cholesterol. The real question is if red yeast rice really works in lowering cholesterol levels?

Research has shown that red yeast rice is a very effective supplement when it comes to the treatment of high cholesterol. The main reason why it works so well is that it contains lovastatin (Mevacor), a prescription statin medication. Not all red yeast rice contain lovastatin, but the ones that do are very effective in helping to lower cholesterol.

Red Yeast Rice and Lovastatin

As stated above, some red yeas rice contains lovastatin. Lovastatin is a “statin”, which is the cholesterol medication that is used by most doctors to reduce high cholesterol levels. Lovastatin is not added to the supplement, as they often occur naturally when fermentation takes place with red yeast rice. Red yeast rice is made when a special type of yeast is fermented with rice. If done correctly, the resulting product can have extremely high levels of lovastatin. Many of the red yeast rice supplements that are able to reduce cholesterol are made in this fashion. Supplements that contain no lovastatin are not effective at lower cholesterol levels.

It should be noted that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has taken significant action against several manufacturers of the red yeast rice supplements that are made containing lovastatin. Due to the fact that the supplements contain lovastatin and they have not gotten FDA approval, these products fall into the category of “unapproved drugs” and not supplements as which they are touted. Many of the Red yeast rice supplements on the market do not contain lovastatin as a way to comply with the requirements of the FDA. It should be noted that these products won’t be as effective in helping to reduce cholesterol.

Can Cholesterol be Controlled by Red Yeast Rice?

Some Red Yeast Rice Supplements contain lovastatin which has been proven to effectively reduce LDL cholesterol (bad cholesterol) and triglycerides. Because of its effectiveness, many people begin taking red yeast rice as a natural alternative to static cholesterol medications. People were doing this not realizing that statins are contained in these supplements. People who take this medication should be aware that the same side effects that occur when taking statins can occur with red yeast rice.

Conclusion on the Effectiveness of Red Yeast Rice

Red yeast rice supplements that contain lovastatin are very effective when it comes to reducing cholesterol levels. It should be noted however, there are many supplements out there that are called “red yeast rice”, but do not contain any lovastatin. These supplements follow the directives of the FDA and are in compliance. Because the FDA does not acknowledge red yeast rice supplements that contain lovastatin, any that are being sold might not be totally trustworthy.

Heart Attacks May be Prevented by Chinese Red Yeast Rice

Individuals who have suffered a heart attack may be able to reduce their risk of having another attack by as much as 45% if they take red yeast rice, according to a new study.

The study indicated that people who took the red yeast rice supplement called Xuezhikang (XZK) saw the need for angioplasty or bypass surgery reduced by one third. There was also a reduction in the death from cancer by two-thirds.

The director of the Cardiovascular Disease Prevention Program at the Myrna Brind Center of Integrative Medicine at Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia, Dr. David M. Capuzzi, who is also the lead researcher, stated that “A purified form of Chinese red yeast rice significantly reduced the risk of having another heart attack,”

The study was conducted in China and it focused on 5000 people who had recently suffered from a heart attack. From this group, a random selection took place and some were given capsules that were either a placebo or contained XZK. The capsules that had XZK had a combination of ergosterol, lovastatin, lovastatin hydroxyl acid and other components.

Five years after the treatment, researchers realized that 10.4 percent of those who had received the placebo had a second heart attack. Those who received XZK saw 5.7 percent having another heart attack.

Other findings indicated that people who took XZK were 30 percent less likely to die from cardiovascular issues. 33 percent were also less likely to die from other causes. The need for angioplasty or heart surgery saw a reduction by one third.

The findings from this study was published in the June 15th issue of the American Journal of Cardiology.

Based on the results, Dr. Capuzzi stated that in order to prevent heart attacks, Chinese red yeast rice may be used similarly like cholesterol lowering drugs.

Despite the success, there are some schools of thought who believe that more studies need to be done on the product. Many believe that the components used in the XZK preparation need to be studied in greater detail to see the effect on the human body.

Even though some experts are not fully sold on red yeast rice, others believe that it provides that extra protection against heart attacks.

Red yeast rice extract contains lovastatin, a drug that is found in many cholesterol-lowering medications. This drug has been proven to reduce cholesterol and also reduce the risk of heart attacks.

Dr. Byron Lee, an associate professor of cardiology at the University of California, San Francisco says “However, the improvement in the patients on the extract is far beyond what you would expect with lovastatin alone, so maybe there is some other natural component in the extract that is conferring the extra benefit,” Lee said. “That would be quite exciting.”

Chinese red yeast rice is rice has been used for hundreds of years in China as a spice, preservative and food coloring. The rice gets its red color after being fermented with a special years.

Aside from being used in food, red yeast rice has also been used as a medication for over 1,000 years. Many Chinese use it to improve the circulation of the blood, treat diarrhea and treat indigestion.

Red Yeast Rice – Questions & Answers

Red Yeast Rice is a supplement that has been proven to reduce cholesterol levels naturally. Controlling your cholesterol is extremely important as high levels can lead to severe medical problems such as stroke and heart attack. Medical experts believe that it is important for people to have cholesterol levels below 200 milligrams per deciliter.

When people have high cholesterol levels, many doctors will put them on prescription statin (Cholesterol lowering) drugs such as Zocor and Lipitor. These drugs have been proven to hinder the production of cholesterol.

Even though statins have been proven to be effective, there are still negative side effects that accompany them. Because of those risks, many people turn to supplements like Red Yeast Rice, to reduce their cholesterol naturally.

Below are questions and answers related to the Red Yeast Rice Supplement.

Q: Is there a way to naturally reduce cholesterol?

A: The answer to the question is yes. There are many steps that an individual can take if they want to reduce your cholesterol naturally. People can start by reducing the amount of calories that they eat on a daily basis. For individuals who are overweight, it is important that they maintain a healthy body weight.

Other natural ways to reduce cholesterol include quitting smoking and increasing the amount of fiber that is taken every day. There are also natural supplements that can help to moderate high cholesterol, one of which is Chinese red yeast rice.

Q: What is Chinese Red Yeast Rice?

A: Red yeast rice is a special type of rice that has red yeast growing on it. This has been used in China for over 500 years as a type of spice. The yeast that is found on the rice contains monocolins which have been shown to reduce cholesterol. Monocolins are able to do this by inhibiting the production of cholesterol in the liver. This is similar to some of the prescription statin drugs such as Lipitor.

Q: How is Red Yeast Rice Taken?

A: When used in food, Red Yeast Rice is used by the Chinese to flavor various meat dishes. Individuals who are looking at consuming it can either add it to their cooking or by taking supplement capsules.

Q: Have There Been Studies on Red Yeast Rice?

A: Red Yeast Rice has been studied extensively in China and the rest of the world. UCLA did a study which was published in the February 1999 American Journal of Clinical Nutrition

Q: How Effective is Red Yeast Rice?

A: Red yeast rice has been shown to be very effective when it comes to the reduction of cholesterol. There have been many different studies conducted that have shown the effects of taking this natural supplement. The effects are almost similar to stating drugs such as Lovastatin.

Q: What are the side effects of Red Yeast Rice?

A: Red Yeast Rice is relatively safe, however, it does carry some warnings with it. The same warnings that apply to the cholesterol lowering drugs, also apply to the supplement. Generally it should not be taken by women who are pregnant, children or people who suffer from liver disease.

Q: Is it Recommended to take Red Yeast Rice instead of Prescription Medication?

A: We recommend that if you have high levels of cholesterol, that you continue taking your medications. The red yeast rice supplement is more geared towards people who have moderate levels of high cholesterol or individuals who have negative side effects to statin drugs. It should be noted that these supplements have not been approved by the FDA, so it is best to go with the more proven medications.

Q: Where can I get Red Yeast Rice, and what is the price?

A: Red Yeast Rice supplements can be purchased at most health food stores. There are also many different websites that sell these supplements. Generally a 2 week supply will often cost under $20.00

Red Yeast Rice and Lipitor

lipitorIt is not advisable to take the red yeast rice supplement alongside other cholesterol lowering medications such as Lipitor. The main reason behind this is the fact that red yeast rice is known to enhance the side effects of statin medications (Lipitor). One major side effect that can occur with red yeast rice and Lipitor is the increased chance for liver damage.

There are other side effects of Lipitor that can be increased by red yeast rice, these are listed below:

Minor Side Effects

  • Headache
  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation
  • Upset stomach Gas
  • Stomach pain
  • Muscle and joint pain
  • Rash

Serious Side Effects

There are certain serious side effects that can occur when taking Lipitor. This is increased when combined with red yeast rice. The side effects will only happen in a small amount of individuals, however the combination with the supplement can be very serious.

The two major serious side effects that could occur are listed below:

  • Liver problems. Taking Lipitor can cause liver problems. The risk can be increased when combined with red yeast rice.
  • Muscle problems. Lipitor has the ability to cause kidney problems, which can lead to kidney failure. If taken with red yeast rice, there is a higher chance of more muscle problems in the body.

Red Yeast Rice Complications

red-yeast-rice-complicationsRed Yeast Rice is a very popular supplement that is used to treat individuals who suffer from high cholesterol. It has been proven to be very effective at reducing cholesterol; however there is controversy related to its use.

Many people who are considering using this product often want to know what are the complications that are associated with using this product. Red yeast rice contains lovastatin, which belongs to the drug class of statins that is known to reduce high cholesterol. The lovastatin found in red yeast rice occurs naturally as a result of the fermenting process that is done to give the rice its red color.

Because red yeast rice is a statin, there are some complications that could occur with its use. Listed below are some of the possible complications.

  • It has been indicated that red yeast rice can cause liver enzymes to increase. When this occurs, this is a possible sign that there is liver damage. It is important for people who have liver disease to not take the supplement.
  • A lot of people who take this supplement are unaware that it contains a statin. As a result, the same side effects and toxicities of statin medications will occur in using this product. Individuals who have had problems in taking statins in the past should avoid red yeast rice
  • A serious complication that can occur is taking red yeast rice with other cholesterol lowering medications. This can increase the effects that the medications cause and as a result of this, there can be an increase in serious side effects such as liver damage occurring.
  • It is not wise to take red yeast rice with other medications such as herbal supplements, prescription medicines, non-prescription medicines and vitamins. Adverse reactions could occur and it is important to consult with a doctor before doing so.
  • Taking red yeast rice can has the ability to possibly cause serious kidney damage. This occurs due to the fact that the supplement might cause rhabdomyolysis, which is the quick breakdown of muscles.
  • Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding should not take the red yeast rice supplement. The product falls into Category X and there is evidence to suggest that it can cause birth defects or problems with the pregnancy. The same is said about breastfeeding, as there is a possibility of substances associated with the supplement being passed to the baby. These substances could be potentially harmful.