Red Yeast Rice Extract
Red Yeast Rice Significantly Reduces Total Cholesterol,
LDL Cholesterol, and Triglycerides
Red Yeast Rice Extract. Research has shown that red yeast rice extract (red rice yeast) significantly reduces total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, triglycerides and increases HDL cholesterol. Red yeast rice has been used in China for centuries as both a food and as a medicinal substance.
Red Rice is made by fermenting a type of yeast called Monascus purpureus over red rice. In Chinese medicine, red yeast rice is used to promote blood circulation, soothe upset stomachs, lower cholesterol and invigorate the function of the spleen (a body organ that destroys old blood cells and filters foreign substances).
Chinese red yeast rice extract works naturally by inhibiting the key enzyme reductase, responsible for producing cholesterol in the body. Chinese red yeast rice extract contains natural cholesterol-lowering substances that are similar to the active ingredients in some prescription drugs. The key difference between these drugs and herbs is that herbs are a combination of multiple compounds while drugs consist of a single purified crystallized compound.
Cholesterol drops 23% with No Side Effects
The results of patient trials using red yeast rice extract found that patients receiving red yeast rice extract experienced a total cholesterol drop of 23%, while (bad) LDL-cholesterol dropped 28.5%, triglycerides dropped 36.5% and HDL (good) cholesterol increased 19.6%. While some chemical compounds found in many prescription statin drugs can cause harsh side effects such as muscle pain, muscle cramps and occasional nausea, these effects have not been found using red rice.
Seventeen studies in China found that this particular strain would actually lower total cholesterol. In addition we've recently performed a double-blind placebo controlled study here at UCLA with the results published in the February 1999 American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
Recent research in papers presented by David Heber, M.D., Ph.D., FACP, FACN showed that only 5 mg of Monacolin K in the matrix of this yeast has the same cholesterol-lowering effect as 20 mg of Mevacor. While it is well-known that some prescription cholesterol drugs do have muscle and liver toxicities, comparative studies show red rice yeast has no side effects at 500 times the normal human dose.
Taking red yeast rice can safely help reduce and maintain healthy cholesterol levels and promote blood circulation, thereby lowering the risk of heart disease.
If you have any questions about the safety and cholesterol lowering benefits of red rice read this abstract of an important study performed by a prominent research team on a group of 83 patients. Here are the conclusions:
“Conclusions: Red yeast rice significantly reduces total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, and total triacylglycerol concentrations compared with placebo and provide a new, novel, food-based approach to lowering cholesterol in the general population.”
Red yeast rice and safety
“Safety: There were no serious adverse effects in any of the 88 subjects randomly assigned”
Common terms and names for red rice are: Red Yeast Rice Extract, Red Rice, Red Rice Yeast, Monascus purpureus.
Therapeutic Uses for Red Yeast Rice Extract
Laboratory studies have shown that the Monascus purpureus inhibits the action of a body enzyme called HMG-CoA reductase, known to raise cholesterol which, in turn, increases the risk of heart disease. Because of this inhibitory action, red yeast rice's therapeutic uses include the prevention and treatment of high cholesterol.
In Traditional Chinese Medicine, the dosage of dietary or supplemental red yeast rice is as high as 6,000 to 9,000 mg per day, but the appropriate dosage for adults may vary, depending on the form of the supplement Standardized extract: 600-1200mg (oral doses), have been used in scientific studies to date.
Taking red yeast rice can help reduce and maintain healthy cholesterol levels and promote blood circulation, thereby lowering the risk of heart disease.
Studies on Red Yeast Rice Extract and Cholesterol
The following studies suggest that red yeast rice significantly reduces high cholesterol:
- Recently, the UCLA School of Medicine conducted a study involving 83 people with high cholesterol levels. Those who received red yeast rice over a 12-week period experienced a significant reduction in total cholesterol, LDL ("bad") cholesterol, and triglycerides (fatty substances that can also accumulate in the blood stream and cause damage to blood vessels) compared to those who received placebo. HDL ("good") cholesterol did not change in either group during the study.
- Two studies involving red yeast rice were presented at the American Heart Association's 39th Annual conference in 1999. The first study, involving 187 people with mild to moderate elevations in total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol revealed that treatment with red yeast rice reduced total cholesterol by more than 16%, LDL cholesterol by 21%, and triglycerides by 24%. HDL cholesterol also increased by 14%. In the second study, elderly participants who were given red yeast rice experienced significant reductions in total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol compared to those who received placebo. Both studies treated the participants with the supplement or placebo for 8 weeks.
- In another 8-week trial involving 446 people with high cholesterol levels, those who received red yeast rice experienced a significant drop in cholesterol levels compared to those who received placebo. Total cholesterol fell by 22.7%, LDL by 31%, and triglycerides by 34% in the red yeast rice group. HDL cholesterol increased by 20% in the red yeast rice group as well.
Red yeast rice is supplied as an ingredient in several commercially available combination supplement products that are marketed to promote heart health. Red yeast rice is also available at most health food stores for about $20 for a 20-30 day supply
Is Red Rice Yeast Safe and How is it Classified by the FDA?
Red Rice is classified as a supplement by the FDA so it falls into the classification of other minerals and vitamins you my use daily.
Animal studies have been conducted in China using high doses of red yeast rice products. No damage to the kidneys, liver, or other organs were demonstrated in these studies.
Human trials in China and in the United States reported only rare and minor side effects of heartburn or indigestion with the use of red yeast rice products. No liver, kidney, or muscle toxicity have been reported.
However, human trials in the United States and China have generally lasted only a few weeks to a few months. Thus, conclusive proof of long term safety (over a period of many years) will have to await further data (such as from data received after the products have been marketed or long-term clinical trials).
Scientists conducting the studies generally believe that red yeast rice is safe in the long-term since it has been a food staple for thousands of years in Asian countries without reports of toxicity. They attribute the safety of red yeast rice products to the process of preparation that does not involve the isolation and concentration of a single ingredient. Although it is true that isolation and concentration enhance the potency of a single ingredient, these factors also increase the risk of side effects.
Are there any precautions in consuming red yeast rice products?
Not all red yeast rice products contain the same concentrations of cholesterol-lowering ingredients. Some red yeast rice products may have little or no cholesterol-lowering effects. Certain products also may contain unacceptably high levels of an undesirable substance called citrinic acid. Therefore, it is important to choose a product that is made with stringent quality control and standardization.
Scientists at the UCLA Center for Nutrition are studying the consistency and composition of numerous red yeast rice products. Their findings should help consumers choose products more knowledgeably. Red yeast rice is classified as a dietary supplement by the United States Food and Drug Administration.
Discover how to get started using red rice yeast to solve your high cholesterol problem and learn more about how you can lower your cholesterol in 8 weeks or less.
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