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Red Yeast Rice: A Natural Remedy for High Cholesterol?

Posted Mar 29th, 2012 by Patient Assistance Team
Every day, millions of Americans take a cholesterol-reducing medication. The most popular kind ofcholesterol lowering medication is what is called a statin. But as more and more individuals look for drug-less ways to take care of their health, many are turning to natural remedies.

One of the most popular remedies to treat high cholesterol is red yeast rice. First used by the Chinesethousands of years ago to treat heart ailments, stomach conditions and circulatory diseases, red riceyeast extract is today being used by scores of individuals who are seeking an alternative to syntheticmedications.

According to the Mayo Clinic, Red yeast rice is the product of yeast ( Monascus purpureus ) grownon rice. It contains several compounds collectively known as monacolins, substances known to inhibitcholesterol synthesis. It also contains sterols, isoflavones, and healthy fats like monounsaturated fattyacids. Today, you can purchase an over-the-counter form of red yeast rice extract, but since the Food andDrug Administration still considers this natural cholesterol-lowering remedy as a supplement, productsthat contain it don’t have to adhere to the stringent standards as classified drugs do.

So what does the science say? For the past 40 years, there have been a number of human studies thatdemonstrate red yeast’s ability to lower blood levels of total cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein/LDL("bad cholesterol"), and triglyceride levels. But because its safety and efficacy cannot be definitivelyconcluded, and because brands can vary greatly due to its supplement status, speak to your medicalprovider if you are interested in taking red yeast rice to lower your cholesterol levels.