Red Yeast Rice is a dietary supplement that has the ability to lower cholesterol produced from the fermentation of the red yeast (Monascus purpureus) to rice. Before it is used as a dietary staple in Asia and other parts of the world, red yeast rice had long been part of the Chinese household for variety of purpose. Native Chinese utilized this red rice as food colouring, preservative, and spice. It gives the Peking ducks’ signature red colour and it is a major ingredient in red wine, fish sauce, and fish paste. Outside the Chinese kitchen, traditional Chinese medicine uses red yeast rice as first aid for gastric problems, blood circulation disorders, and for the diseases of the stomach and spleen.
How does red yeast rice lower cholesterol?
Red yeast rice acts like the HMG-CoA reductase inhibitor or the “statin” drugs usually prescribed by Doctors. Natural red yeast rice contains large amounts of Monocolins, the most important of these monocolins is lovastatin. When taken, lovastatin is converted to a chemical that halts the production of HMG-CoA reductase, the enzyme responsible for the production of cholesterol. Lovastatin is marketed as the famous prescription medication Mevacor. Therefore, red yeast rice is a natural source of lovastatin, which has the very powerful ability to inhibit the body’s cholesterol production.
What are the different Red Yeast Rice products?
There are three primary red yeast rice products namely: Zhitai, Cholestin or HypoCol, and Xuezhikang. The first preparation, zhitai, is produced from the fermentation of the different strains of the read yeast to whole grain rice. Cholestin or Hypocol is the product of the fermentation of selected red yeast strains with large amounts of the cholesterol lowering agent – lovastatin. The most important preparation is the third, the Xuezhikang. Xuezhikang has 40% more cholesterol-lowering components than Cholestin or Hypocol. It is prepared by mixing the red yeast, rice, and alcohol. It also undergoes another process wherein gluten is removed from the mixture so only the most essential ingredients to lower cholesterol remain.
What Conditions will benefit from Red Yeast Rice Use?
- Heart Diseases
- Healthy individuals who want to prevent diseases due to increased levels of cholesterol
Red Yeast Rice Side Effects
Average daily read yeast rice supplement dose is 2.4 grams taken in 4 capsules. In china, studies revealed that red yeast rice does not cause kidney, liver and other organ damage after being tested on animals.
In humans, mild side effects were noted including heartburn and indigestion. Liver damage, kidney damage, and muscle toxicity were not reported after continuous use of red yeast rice. Consumption of different red yeast rice preparations is generally safe.