New Study: Red Yeast Rice Has Fewer Side Effects Than Statins
When it comes to lowering LDL cholesterol levels, red yeast rice may be a good alternative to statin drugs. According to findings published in the American Journal of Cardiology, the supplement could reduce LDL cholesterol by 21% and total cholesterol by 15%. What’s more: 92% of the study’s participants tolerated red yeast rice, not something that can be said of statins.
A dietary staple in some Asian countries, red yeast rice is the product of yeast grown on rice. In the last few years, research has found the ingredient to have heart health benefits; specifically, the ability to inhibit cholesterol production.
Researchers from the University of Tennessee, Allegheny General Hospital in Pittsburgh, and the University of Connecticut collected data from 25 people who received red yeast rice supplements for at least four weeks and were intolerant to statins. All participants had noted adverse effects associated with the drugs such as muscle pain and gastrointestinal intolerance.
What they found is that the red yeast rice was associated with a reduction in total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol levels. “This retrospective observational study of a clinical population demonstrated significant LDL cholesterol reductions with red yeast rice therapy in a population highly intolerant to daily statin use,” wrote the researchers. “Producing red yeast rice under controlled conditions could provide a widely available and safe dietary supplement for lowering cholesterol.” (Venero CV, et al. The American Journal of Cardiology. 2010. 105(5): 664-666.)
An important note about safety: If you do decide to give red yeast rice a try, it’s important to keep your doctor in the know. You should have your doctor check your liver enzymes 6 weeks after you start taking red yeast rice, and then every 6 months thereafter. Because they work in a very similar manner, you need to take many of the same precautions you would if you were taking a statin drug. Red yeast rice and statins should never be used concurrently without medical supervision.
Learn more about how to use red yeast rice safely before you make the switch, should you decide to, and please purchase red yeast rice from a company you trust, to ensure that you are getting a safe and effective product.
Article updated on: May 28th, 2010