Red yeast rice is a Chinese medicine that is traditionally been used to lower cholesterol. For centuries, the Chinese have utilized it their culture as a dietary staple and as medicine. There are different types of red yeast rice extracts that are sold as dietary supplements. It is extracted from rice that has been fermented using Monascus purpureus yeast. It is also used as food coloring, food additive and food preservative. For example, red yeast rice is used to give Peking Duck it’s brilliant red glow.
The red yeast rice contains natural ingredients that can help lower cholesterol levels. This ingredients include monacolins, mono-saturated fatty acids, sterols and isoflavones. Monacolins inhibit the synthesis of cholesterol.
Supplement or Drug?
Red yeast rice is considered both a supplement and a drug. The main ingredient is monacolin K, also referred to as lovastatin. Lovastatin is the ingredient that is active in the prescription drug known as Mevacor.
The red yeast rice supplement is available without a prescription to lower cholesterol even though the Mevacor pharmaceutical manufacture makes the argument that it has all the rights to the lovastatin ingredient.
What Are The Health Benefits of This Supplement?
There have been many studies conducted about the health benefits of this supplement. It has been shown that cholesterol can be significantly lowered when the supplement is taken with a healthy diet. It specifically lowers the levels of LDL cholesterol which is the cholesterol that is considered “bad”. Some have reported taking 2.4 grams each day for twelve weeks can reduce LDL cholesterol levels by approximately 22%. Total cholesterol can be reduced by approximately 16%.
This supplement can be used to help healthy people maintain their desirable cholesterol levels and help reduce cholesterol levels in people with high cholesterol.
The cholesterol lowering effect indirectly effects chances for heart disease. People that take red yeast rice supplements have a lower chance of getting heart disease since cholesterol levels are a major risk factor. People that have significantly lower cholesterol levels have a lower chance to develop cardiovascular disease.
Other Health Benefits
The Mayo Clinic has reported that red yeast rice has many additional health benefits when taken as a dietary supplement. People have reported improved circulation, improved stomach health and improved spleen health. They have also reported having relief from gastric issues including indigestion and diarrhea.