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.