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Here’s What Happened When 52 Physicians Took The Red Yeast Rice Challenge


healthy-heart-image-doctor Did you know that 71 million Americans have high levels of ‘bad’ LDL cholesterol and yet less than half receive treatment, despite 82.8 percent of them having some form of insurance? One might conclude that there may be hesitation to treat high cholesterol the conventional way due to the fact that many cholesterol-lowering drugs have been associated with dangerous side effects. If you are one of these Americans, a new study shows that red yeast rice may help you balance your cholesterol numbers effectively.

In the most recent study, a small group of 52 physicians and their spouses with high total cholesterol levels were given a placebo or a red yeast rice supplement for eight weeks. The results showed that members of the group receiving the supplement had 22 percent decrease in LDL cholesterol levels and a 15 percent reduction in total cholesterol levels.

So how does it work? Red yeast rice is a rice extract fermented with the yeast Monascus purpureus. The resulting substance has several naturally occurring ingredients that can help regulate cholesterol levels.

However, consumers should be warned that red yeast rice supplements are unregulated, so it’s important to purchase it from a brand you trust. The red yeast rice supplement’s raw materials should be organic and the manufacturer should be able to confirm the product is free of citrinin, a contaminant that can be found in low-quality red yeast rice supplements.

While numerous red yeast rice studies show promise, your physician may still be on the fence. If you’re hesitant to take statin drugs due to their side effects, have a talk with your doctor about other possible alternatives. Here are a few studies you can print to discuss with him or her:

Carlene Thomas RD,LD is a registered dietitian nutritionist who specializes in weight loss and wellness. She provides nutrition guidance to the public in a variety of ways including corporate wellness, private clients and contributes an expert nutrition voice to a variety of media.

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