Sunday, August 24, 2008

Red Yeast Rice

I was very grateful that i didn't have to be put on Lipitor. I just took one every evening after dinner, that was it, That easy!
--A happy Red Rice Yeast consumer on

Interesting stuff, this red yeast rice (RYR).* Used for over 1,000 years in Chinese medicine to promote circulation, this medicinal food is made by fermenting rice with red yeast or monascus purpureus. One of its active constituents --monacolin K-- is also known as lovastatin. Monacolins inhibit hydroxymethylglutaryl-CoA reductase (HMG-CoA reductase) which is an enzyme essential to the body's production of cholesterol. In fact, lovastatin was the first statin drug marketed in the U.S. years ago under the trade name Mevacor.

So is RYR an effective, natural, and SAFE way to lower your cholesterol? Even though the Chinese have a century+ of casual, everyday, human trials, the first formal study of the substance was conducted there in 2002. The results confirmed its efficacy: total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, and triglycerides dropped by 23, 31, and 34 percent, respectively and HDL levels increased by 20 percent. In other words, RYR did all the good things that statins do because RYR is basically a statin or rather a statin is basically RYR. Other studies, one of which was conducted by the American Heart Association, confirmed the general findings although the benefits weren't quite as robust.

The doses used in these studies were 1.2-2.4 gms/day; some Asian diets include up to 55 gms of RYR per day. Because agents such as RYR and statins decrease the production of coenzyme Q10 which is important to energy production in muscles, supplementation of CoQ10 is recommended with either the nutraceutical or the pharmaceutical approach. The standard dose of lovastatin, however, is 20-40 mg/day whereas the daily amount present in most RYR preparations varies between 5-15 mg. is an independent testing laboratory that evaluates the quality and contents of nutritional supplements. In a recent investigation, they looked at different RYR products both for the amount of active ingredient (lovastatin) and for the presence of citrinin, a renal toxin that may be produced by yeast grown on cereal grains such as rice. Nature's Plus® Herbal Actives Red Yeast Rice contained very high levels of lovastatin whereas Walgreen's brand contained very little of the active monacolin. Four products had citrinin contamination.

What's in it for your brain? Recent Taiwanese studies of RYR compared its protective effects on cells under ambush from beta-amyloid (the sticky protein that gums up the brain in Alzheimer's disease) with those of lovastatin. The RYR won hands down in not only protecting against cell death from beta-amyloid but also in decreasing inflammation and oxidative stress. This same research group found that rats infused with beta-amyloid learned more, had better memories, and accumulated less beta-amyloid when they signed up for RYR supplements with their kibble.
*Red mold rice (RMR) if you're a Taiwanese biotech sort, and red mould rice if you're British.


Cilicious said...

Would this stuff be available at a health food store?

femail doc said...

Definitely! I'm sure it's easily found online as well.

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Lipitor Side Effects said...

My name is Janice Still and i would like to show you my personal experience with Lipitor.

I have taken for 2 years. I am 56 years old. Lipitor worked great lowering cholesterol but the side effects are not worth the benefit.

I have experienced some of these side effects-
Achilles peritendonitis and sore ankles, knees and fingers. Stiffness was aggravated by rest and better with activity. After sitting for 15 minutes, particularly with feet elevated, and then getting up to walk, my gait was like someone who could barely walk. Have stopped taking Lipitor and symptoms seem to be subsiding.

I hope this information will be useful to others,
Janice Still