Risks Associated With Red Yeast Rice

Red yeast rice is a nutritional supplement used to reduce the levels of cholesterol. It is very effective, however there are certain risks associated with its use.

Despite research being conducted on the supplement, there are still some unknown risks associated with its use. Listed below are just some of the possible risks and side effects that can happen when people take red yeast rice.

  • Bloating
  • Damage to peripheral nerves
  • Gas
  • Headache
  • Heartburn
  • Indigestion
  • Lightheadedness
  • Liver inflammation
  • Pain in the muscles
  • Pain in the joints

Myopathy is also possible for people who take red yeast rice supplements. This is similar to the side effects of statin drugs. The typical side effects are weakness, pain in the muscles and an increased level of creatine kinase.

Rhabdomyolysis can also occur with people who take red yeast rice. Rhabdomyolysis causes the tissue of the muscle to breakdown and that can then cause kidney failure. Even though this is rare, it can occur. Individuals who are taking red yeast rice and notice that their muscles are tender, or periods pain and weakness should immediately seek out a doctor.

Another side effect is that the production of CoQ10 is affected by red yeast rice.

Red yeast rice should not be combined with certain types of drugs as the interactions can be serious, cause injury and even death. These drugs include Antifungal Drugs, Cyclosporine, Fibrate Drugs, Niacin, Macrolide Antibiotics, Protease Inhibitors and Statin Drugs

it should be noted that there is no information available on the long-term safety use of the red yeast rice supplement.

Drug Interactions and Red Yeast Rice

drug-interactions-red-yeast-riceEven though red yeast rice is an effective supplement that is used to treat high cholesterol, it is very important to note that it can react adversely to other medications.

Drug interactions with red yeast rice can be very serious and it is important that people are aware of what they are taking.

A List of the different drugs that red yeast rice can react with are listed below.

Antifungal DrugsDrugs that are antifungal agents such as azole antifungals fluconazole (Diflucan), itraconazole (Sporanox), ketoconazole (Nizoral) are all known to interact with red yeast rice and statins. The interactions can often lead to a possibility of having rhabdomyolysis.

Cyclosporine – Cyclosporine is one drug that should not be mixed or taken while using the supplement red yeast rice. The reason for this is that the condition rhabdomyolysis can occur, due to blood levels increasing when both red yeast rice and cyclosporine are taken together.

Fibrate Drugs – Certain fibrate drugs are often used to reduce the levels of triglycerides and cholesterol. Using them together with red yeast rice can often enhance the medications effects. Fibrates to stay away from are clofibrate (Atromid-S), fenofibrate (Lofibra ,Tricor, Triglide) and gemfibrozil (Lopid)

Niacin – Myopathy is possible when Niacin is taken with red yeast rice supplements.

Macrolide AntibioticsMacrolides are a specific class of drugs that are often used to treat infection problems that affect the soft tissue and respiratory tract. They have been known to have a negative interaction with statin drugs and red yeast rice. The interaction can increase the overall risk of rhabdomyolysis. These marcolide drugs include clarithromycin (Biaxin), dirithromycin (Dynabac), erythromycin, azithromycin (Zithromax) and roxithromycin (Rulid, Surlid)

Nefazodone – Nefazadone is a drug that is used to treat a medical condition depression. The risk of side effects of rate yeast rice can be increased if it is mixed with this drug.

Protease Inhibitors – Myopathy is possible if red yeast rice is mixed with drugs that are used to control the HIV virus. These drugs include amprenavir, indinavir, nelfinavir, ritonavir and saquinavir

Statin DrugsStatin drugs that are used to reduce cholesterol should not be taken if you are using the red yeast rice supplement. The reason why this should not be done is that the effects of these medications increase in this can lead to more an increase in the side effects, such as liver damage. Statins to stay away from are atorvastatin (Lipitor), lovastatin (Mevacor), pravastatin (Pravachol)

Red Yeast Rice and Policosanol Supplements

High cholesterol is very common condition in the United States. It can have devastating results to the body if not treated properly. There is both good and bad cholesterol in the body, but too much of the bad one can lead to coronary disease which can result in stroke or heart attack.

Drugs called statins have been developed to help lower high levels of cholesterol. They have been highly successful, but there is a downside to their use as there are some bad side effects. People turn to natural remedies to help cure their cholesterol levels. One popular product that is used to treat high blood pressure is red yeast rice and Policosanol.

Red Yeast Rice – Red yeast rice is a product that is created when a type of red yeast called Monascus purpureus is fermented over rice. This product has been used for centuries in China in their foods. The red yeast rice is a traditional medication that is used to help treat a wide range of conditions.

Red yeast rice contains lovastatin which is a monocolin. This product is able to block the production of a specific enzyme that is responsible for the production of cholesterol.

Policosanol – derived from beeswax and sugarcane wax, Policosanol is an effective product that is used to reduce high cholesterol levels. Because it is natural, it is a good choice for people who are looking for an alternative to the statin drugs that are often prescribed to help reduce cholesterol. Policosanol is able to control the production of cholesterol by stopping the breakdown and the excess that is created.

The red yeast rice and policosanol supplement is a combination of two products that can aid in getting high lipid levels under control. These capsules contain a host of nutritious ingredients such as proteins, fatty acids and fiber that can aid in an individual’s overall health. ┬áThe policosanol works to increase immunity, raise the metabolism and then control cholesterol. The red yeast rice will also actively work to control the high cholesterol levels.

The red yeast rice and policosanol supplement is indeed effective when it comes to treating high cholesterol.

The Safety of Red Yeast Rice

Red-yeast rice is a very effective and popular supplement that is able to reduce cholesterol. Even after it was restricted by the FDA, the supplement is still widely available.  The FDA banned the supplement because it contained an ingredient, lovastatin, which can also be found in statin drugs such as Mevacor and Altoprev. Because these are prescription medication, and lovastatin and restriced drug, the FDA banned the products. Safety was also another concern as tests have shown that red yeast rice products often vary in the levels of lovastatin that they provide. This can be very dangerous as there was no set guideline and it could be harmful.

Despite these concerns, there have been many studies that have shown the effectiveness of red yeast rice in relation to improving levels of cholesterol. In these studies they were able to determine that death from coronary disease fell and there was also a reduction in the amount of men who needed surgery.

The safety concerns for this supplement, or because there is no way to know the dosage is effective and safe. There are varying levels of lovastatin in products tested and some were shown to be ineffective, while others had risks associated with its use. These risks related to tenderness, weakness, muscle pain and possible damage to the liver and kidney.
There was one particular study that looked at some of the release rise products and it showed that there was a possibility that a toxin called citrinin that could damage the kidney was contained in the product.

For safety reasons it is not advisable to you this red yeast rice from un-trusted sources. It is best to go with a doctor recommended treatment as these are more regulated.