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New Study: Red Yeast Rice Has Fewer Side Effects Than Statins

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Red yeast rice 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.

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11 responses to “New Study: Red Yeast Rice Has Fewer Side Effects Than Statins”

  1. Lissa says:

    I like how thorough this article is in explaining that people who are considering switching to red yeast rice educate themselves first. Although many herbs are safe and do not have contraindications with drugs, with how red yeast rice works, it can be hit or miss depending on the person's constitution using the herb. Reading articles like this reminds me why I became an herbalist. Herbs have insurmountable benefits that we may never know the full spectrum of.

  2. Irmgard Helene Howe says:

    I was on Statins for years until I told my Doc that I would not take it anymore. I developed muskel problems and he said it is not the Statin. He precribed qinine. Needles to sy I stopped the statin for the 3rd time for good 4 yrs ago. Then I was seing an homoatic MD she phe was an Nutrition and dicovered that I had an alergy to Dairy and Citrus. I told her that I was on Statins.She put me on Red Rice Yeast. My LDL troped trasticly in 2 mo. I change to another MD/homopatic and he took a full Bloodwork which showed him that my LDL was a little high but it was not sticky, but like a cotton ball. My LDL is now 99.

  3. Irmgard Helene Howe says:

    Correction, my HDL is now 99 and I am not on red rice.

  4. BethF says:

    My body produces high cholesterol and has since I was a child (it's hereditary). I eat well, exercise, take fish oil and eat ground flaxseeds every day, but regardless of what I do, my cholesterol remains high.

    I won't go on a statin right now since I am in child-bearing years, and I didn't know if Red Yeast Rice should be avoided for the same reasons as statins?

    • Lissa says:

      For women who are not pregnant or actively working working on becoming pregnant, there shouldn't be a concern. For pregnant women or those trying to conceive, red yeast rice is often avoided because there are insufficient studies on whether it can harm the fetus.

      As an herbalist, I would recommend not using if pregnant or trying to conceive because of how intricately it works in the body to reduce cholesterol levels. Besides, in this particular case, there are other natural alternatives that may help regulate cholesterol health and are safe to take while pregnant.

  5. ElyssaD says:

    After hearing about so many positive results with Red Yeast Rice, I am convinced it works! My father-in-law has been on statins for years and for the longest time I have tried to convince him to switch to Red Yeast Rice. He finally made the switch under his doctor's supervision. I can't wait to hear the results after his next check-up.

  6. […] a recent article, we reported on the results of a recent study which indicated that red yeast rice may be an […]

  7. […] statin drug Mevacor, and has been shown to lower cholesterol and improve blood flow — with fewer side effects than statin […]

  8. Vanilli5 says:

    I was wondering if it was safe for my Husband to be taking red rice yeast while we are trying to conceive???

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