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.

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