Red Yeast Rice Explained For Lowering Cholesterol Levels
Red yeast rice has been found helpful for lowering cholesterol levels. It is a substance made from fermented yeast known as Monascus purpureus which has grown on red rice.
Red Yeast Rice – Is It A Medicine or Supplement?
Many people are confused whether red yeast rice is a cholesterol lowering supplement or a drug.
Although the FDA classified red yeast rice extract as a supplement, WebMD explained it can be both.
Red yeast rice contains lovastatin which is an active ingredient found in prescription drugs such as Mevacor.
However, red yeast rice is also a traditional supplement being used in China for many centuries for lowering cholesterol levels.
It has several types of monacolins such as monacolin K which is commonly referred to as lovastatin or menivolin.
Red yeast rice also contains monounsaturated fats, isoflavones and sterols. It can also be used as a food additive, spice, preservative and food coloring.
Red Yeast Rice Extract Infographic
Studies Conducted on Red Yeast Rice Extract for Lowering Cholesterol
Researchers at the UCLA School of Medicine conducted a study about the use of red yeast rice.
- After 12 weeks, those who were given red yeast rice as part of their treatment program experienced significant reduction in their LDL, total cholesterol and triglyceride levels. However, the said study showed no effects on the person’s HDL cholesterol.
Another study was conducted and it showed the same positive results for lowering cholesterol levels. Patient trials revealed that those who were under red yeast rice treatment experienced lowered total cholesterol levels for up to 23%. Furthermore, their LDL- cholesterol levels dropped up to 28.5 % and their triglycerides also went down to 36.5%.
In this study, the HDL or good cholesterol levels increased for as much as 19.6 %. Contrary to statin drugs, those who were given red yeast rice extract did not experience muscle pain, muscle cramps, nausea and other side effects.
How Does Red Yeast Rice Lower Cholesterol Levels?
The active ingredient found in red yeast rice extract helps inhibit the capability of those body enzymes called reductase to produce cholesterol. Its natural cholesterol-lowering ingredient works in a similar way to those substances found in prescription drugs.
Unlike prescription drugs that only contain a single crystallized compound, red yeast rice extract has plenty of active compounds that are beneficial to one’s overall health.
Other Uses of Red Yeast Rice Extract
In Chinese traditional medicine, red yeast rice extract is also used for improving blood circulation, for treating upset stomachs and for better spleen functioning.
Some say that red yeast rice extract cannot help them lower their cholesterol levels, but you require the right component of red yeast rice extract at the right dose to experience its cholesterol lowering effects. Another important thing to keep in mind is that you cannot just rely solely on red yeast rice to lower your cholesterol levels.
Red yeast rice extract should be used in conjunction with a nutritious diet, exercise and other measures that make up a healthy lifestyle.