Red Yeast Rice has been an ancient, Asian dietary staple. It was made by fermenting white rice with the red yeast, Monascus Purpureus. The low cholesterol levels found in the Chinese population, led to discovering the benefits of red yeast rice consumption.
Today, this natural cure has made its name as a cholesterol and triglyceride lowering agent, without the problems and side effects of the traditional statin drugs.
It is nature's natural statin that has gained in use all over the world and especially in the United States.
It works in the liver by blocking the liver enzyme responsible for producing cholesterol. One of the components found after the fermentation process is Mevilon, which acts like the family of statin drugs, sold under various names. It is known to reduce overall cholesterol, especially the LDL or bad cholesterol and increase the HDL or good cholesterol in addition to lowering the levels of triglycerides.
Patients with moderately elevated levels of cholesterol have definitely been known to have lowered their cholesterol levels using red rice yeast extract as a dietary supplement.
Patients with high levels of cholesterol and heart disease must not use red yeast rice supplement without medical supervision as these patients often have underlying related health complications and are on medication which could react adversely with the active components in the red yeast rice.
Red yeast rice is not a replacement for unhealthy eating habits and sedentary lives. A healthy diet plus a normally active life with the use of red yeast rice supplements can be beneficial for cardiovascular well being.
Red yeast rice may potentially cause mild adverse effects similar to those manifested by statin based drugs. These adverse reactions could be any one or more of the following:
a feeling of tenderness
mild 'flu-like symptoms
stomach tenderness or upsets
general gastrointestinal discomfort
These adverse reactions are usually mild and disappear quickly after discontinuing the use of red yeast rice.
There are some dos and don'ts to the use of red yeast rice. Remember to consult a physician before you start using it.
It must never be combined with prescription statin based drugs.
It must not be combined with other prescription drugs without consulting a physician.
Alcoholic drinks must never be taken while using red yeast rice.
Grapefruit or grapefruit juice must never be taken with it.
It must never be given to a person under twenty years of age.
Pregnant and breast feeding women must not use red yeast rice.
Always consume it with a meal and not on an empty stomach.
Clinical studies show red yeast rice to be beneficial for cardiovascular wellbeing.
China is the largest producer of red yeast rice. It is sold as capsules in pharmacies, health stores and on the Internet without a prescription and therefore can be bought off the counter. It is also sold under names like Cholestin, xuezhikang, Monascus and Zhithai.