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.

Red Yeast Rice Pregnancy

Red Yeast Rice is a very popular supplement that is used to treat and control cholesterol. It has been proven to be very effective and that is what has added to its popularity. It should be noted that red yeast rice is not for everyone, especially women who are pregnant or planning on becoming pregnant. The supplement contains specific compounds that can be extremely dangerous to an unborn baby.

Why is Red Yeast Rice Dangerous to Pregnant Mothers?

Red yeast rice supplements often contain a statin, which is produced naturally when the rice ferments. Statin’s are found in cholesterol medications like lovastatin.

As it stands, Lovastatin falls into the category X as it relates to medications and pregnancy. Women are advised to stay away from medications that fall into Category X. The X rating came about based on the fact that in tests conducted using these medications often resulted in birth defects and other problems during pregnancy.

Not all red yeast rice supplements contain lovastatin as this only occurs when the rice is fermented using a specific strain of yeast. Some red yeast rice contains no lovastatin at all. The ones that do is a result of a controlled process that allows the yeast to ferment to allow the rice to have lovastatin levels that are high.

Even though there are red yeast rice supplements that do not contain lovastatin, it is not known if it is safe for pregnant women. The reason behind this is based on the fact that red yeast rice with lovastatin is not approved by the FDA. Most companies who manufacture these products might include the statins in their supplements, but they might not indicate this on their labels.

Pregnant women who are considering taking this supplement should consult with their doctor. The doctor will be able to offer advice as it relates to the different risks that are possible from taking this particular product.

Red Yeast Rice and Breastfeeding


When it comes to lowering cholesterol, red yeast rice is an extremely effective and popular supplement that is used to lower and control cholesterol. Due to its effectiveness, the supplement has grown in popularity. Even though it is a natural supplement, red yeast rice should not be taken by everyone. This is especially true for women who are pregnant, have plans to become pregnant or those who are breastfeeding. The main reason behind this is that red yeast rice contains certain compounds that can be very dangerous to unborn babies and it can also be transferred to babies who breastfeed.

Why is Red Yeast Rice Dangerous to Breastfeeding Mothers?

The Red yeast rice supplements usually contain a statin (found in many cholesterol lowering medications), which occurs naturally when rice ferments.

Some red yeast rice supplements contain lovastatin (Mevacor), a prescription “statin” cholesterol medication. The Lovastatin that is found in the supplement occurs naturally and it is not added to the supplements. Due to FDA regulations, most of the red yeast rice supplements found in the United States contains little to no lovastatin. Red yeast rice is created by fermenting rice using a specific type of yeast. If the fermentation is done correctly and controlled properly, what can happen is that you can end up with a product that has high levels of lovastatin.

Lovastatin, Red Yeast Rice, and Breastfeeding

Lovastatin is not recommended to be used with women who breastfeed. Even though there have been no studies conducted to find out if lovastatin passes through the breast milk of humans, it has been shown to be passed through the breast milk in rats. Based on those findings, it is not recommended to mothers who breastfeed should not take products that contain lovastatin.

Speak to your Doctor About Breastfeeding and Red Yeast Rice

Mothers who have any concerns about breast feeding and red yeast rice should speak to a doctor. A doctor is the best person to speak with as it relates to woman’s situation. The doctor will determine how necessary it is to take this supplement based on the individual’s health and other situations. Once the doctor has the information he/she needs, they can make a decision as it relates to red yeast rice and breastfeeding. In most situations, many doctors will not recommend red yeast rice supplements for women who are breastfeeding.

How Long Should Red Yeast Rice be Taken To Treat Cholesterol?

how-longSome people have started taking red yeast rice supplements to help control their high cholesterol levels. There is success with taking these supplements, however some people have specific questions related to the extract. They often want to know how long they should take the red yeast rice extract.

The red yeast rice extract is one of the more popular natural supplements that people take to help to reduce cholesterol levels. Its popularity is based on its effectiveness and the great results that people state that they receive from taking these tablets.

Red rice yeast (Monascus purpureus) contains naturally occurring statins, the same that can be found in cholesterol-lowering prescription medication. Many people opt to take the red yeast rice supplements as the side effects are not as serious compared to the statin medications. This is mainly due to the extract delivering a mix of compounds as opposed to one single batch.

To answer the question above how long red yeast rice should be taken to lower cholesterol, the answer is for an indefinite period. This is due to the fact that when people stop taking these supplements, there are cholesterol levels slowly increase. Aside from taking the tablets, you will also need to have your triglyceride and cholesterol levels checked periodically by your doctor. This would be similar to taking the statin medications to help lower your high cholesterol levels.  If you have high cholesterol levels and you are taking the drugs are supplements, they will have to be done for an indefinite period. You should also be aware that the taking of red yeast rice or statin drugs will stop the body from naturally synthesizing coenzyme Q10. Coenzyme Q10 is needed by the body and the heart to keep healthy. If you are taking any drugs or extracts to treat high cholesterol, be sure to take 90-120mg daily dosage of coenzyme Q10.

Aside from taking red yeast rice to help control your cholesterol levels, it is also good to take other measure.

Diet – having a good and healthy diet is very important if you want to reduce your cholesterol.

Exercise – This should not be thought of as insignificant. 30 minutes a day of exercise is important in not only keeping healthy, but also in cholesterol control.

Omega-3 Fatty Acids – These acids care helpful.

Reduce Saturated Fat Intake – This is one of the major causes of high cholesterol and greatly reducing it will have a big effect on your cholesterol levels.

Eat Healthy – Foods such as oat, fiber and bran are all important.

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.