Overview

Red yeast rice is a popular product that is used to lower cholesterol levels. It is created by taking a red yeast known as Monascus purpureus and fermenting it over rice. For centuries, red yeast rice has been used in China as a food coloring, preservative and spice. It is very popular and it is what gives Peking duck its unique color. Aside from being used in the preparation of food, red yeast rice is used as an ancient Chinese medication. It is used to treat a wide range of medical conditions such as upset stomach, diarrhea and poor circulation.

Monacolins are substances that occur naturally in the red yeast rice. These substances have the ability to stop the creation of cholesterol. One particular moncaolin called lovastatin is found in many statin medications that are used to control cholesterol levels. Lovastatin is able to block a specific enzyme that is able to control the production of cholesterol. When the lovastatin is converted by the body, it becomes the enzyme, HMG-CoA reductase, which stops the production. Because of the red yeast rice’s effectiveness, it is has been promoted as a natural substance that is able to reduce cholesterol levels.

When the FDA discovered that lovastatin was discovered in red yeast rice, they quickly set out to ban all products that had lovastatin in them. The reason for this is that lovastatin was a restricted medication and it is a main part of the prescription statin drugs that are used to control cholesterol. The FDA began pulling red yeast rice products that contain lovastatins off the shelves. Many companies changed the formulation of their product and removed the lovastatins.

Red yeast rice extracts can be found in many health stores as well as online websites. Many people demand this product as it is an alternative to the cholesterol reducing statin drugs, it is healthier and much cheaper.

Why People Use Red Yeast Rice?

The main reason people take red yeast rice is to lower their triglyceride and cholesterol levels. Many people claim that it is very effective at accomplishing it. Some people have questioned if red yeast rice is still considered to be effective, since they’re unable to contain lovastatin. There is doubt as it relates to the effectiveness of the product.

Red Yeast Rice Regulation

The FDA has classified red yeast rice as a dietary supplement. It falls under this category because it is promoted as a natural product that is used to treat and lower cholesterol levels, however it does not contain lovastatin any more.

Study of Red Yeast Rice

There have been many studies that have been done that show the effectiveness of red yeast rice in treating cholesterol.

One study done at the UCLA School of Medicine examined how people with high cholesterol reacted to the use of red yeast rice.

83 people were used in the trial which lasted 12 weeks. Out of the group, people were randomly given 2.4 grams of red yeast rice daily or a placebo. The patients were also told that their diet needed to be made up of 30% fat.

Once a travel was completed, the results showed that people who took the red yeast rice capsules showed a drastic reduction in the levels of their cholesterol.. Their triglyceride and LDL cholesterol levels all fell drastically compared to patients who took the placebo. The results also indicated that HDL cholesterol was not affected by the red yeast rice.

How is Red Yeast Rice Produced?

Red yeast rice is created in using the yeast Monascus purpureus. The rice is inundated with water and left to soak. After a couple of minutes, the rice is then steamed as a way to sterilize the rice. Once this is done the rice is the inoculated. This inoculation occurs by mixing Monascus purpureus yeast with the rice. This mixture is then placed in to rest for a few days up to a week at room temperature. It is during this time that the rice will get a red color as the Monascus purpureus ferments.