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Does Red Yeast Rice Really Work?

14 January 2010 No Comment

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.

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