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.