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Red Yeast Rice & Cholesterol

There are many natural supplements for reducing cholesterol. One such supplement is known as Red Yeast Rice (also sold under the names Hong Qu, red rice, and red yeast). For many centuries, red yeast rice was one of the most popular methods of naturally reducing cholesterol, and dozens of products touted its ability to lower cholesterol.

What is the Effect of Red Yeast Rice on Cholesterol?

Red yeast rice contains naturally occurring elements known as monacolins. Evidence has shown that Monacolins inhibit the creation of an enzyme known as "HMG-CoA reductase," which science has shown produces bad cholesterol production.

However, the primary monacolin, known as lovastatin, is one of the primary ingredients in several prescription medications for lowering cholesterol. As a result, the FDA has banned red yeast rice due to the strict supervision necessary to safely distribute lovastatin.

Is Red Yeast Rice Safe?

Red yeast rice contains a number of side effects that require it to be prescribed by your doctor. Some of these side effects include:

  • Muscle and joint pain
  • Damage to the peripheral nerves
  • Heartburn and indigestion
  • Dizziness and headache
  • Bloating
  • Liver inflammation and gas

In addition, red yeast rice can cause myopathy - a disease where the muscles fibers no longer function appropriately, resulting in considerable muscle weakness.

Are There More Serious Side Effects With Red Yeast Rice & Cholesterol?

In rare instances, red yeast rice can cause Rhabdomyolysis. Rhabdomyolysis is a muscle disease where the tissues degenerate at a rapid pace, ultimately leading to kidney disease. Myoglobin, one of the ingredients of muscle fibers, gets naturally extracted from your muscles and sent into the bloodstream, where it gathers in the kidneys and acts like a harmful toxin.

Finally, red yeast rice has also been shown to contain citrinin, a toxic substance that is harmful to the liver.

Should I Take Red Yeast Rice for Cholesterol?

Because of the problematic regulatory and legal status of red yeast rice usage in supplements, it is not a component of Vasacor's proprietary cholesterol-lowering formulation. For more information about red yeast rice extract, click here.

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