Wellness Database: Red Yeast Rice
Red Yeast Rice improves cholesterol levels and reduces heart disease risks.
Red Yeast Rice Reduces Cholesterol
BACKGROUND: We examined the cholesterol-lowering effects of a proprietary Chinese red-yeast-rice supplement in an American population consuming a diet similar to the American Heart Association Step I diet using a double-blind, placebo-controlled, prospectively randomized 12-wk controlled trial at a university research center.
OBJECTIVE: We evaluated the lipid-lowering effects of this red-yeast-rice dietary supplement in US adults separate from effects of diet alone.
DESIGN: Eighty-three healthy subjects (46 men and 37 women aged 34-78 y) with hyperlipidemia [total cholesterol, 5.28-8.74 mmol/L (204-338 mg/dL); LDL cholesterol, 3.31-7.16 mmol/L (128-277 mg/dL); triacylglycerol, 0.62-2.78 mmol/L (55-246 mg/dL); and HDL cholesterol 0.78-2.46 mmol/L (30-95 mg/dL)] who were not being treated with lipid-lowering drugs participated. Subjects were treated with red yeast rice (2.4 g/d) or placebo and instructed to consume a diet providing 30% of energy from fat, <10% from saturated fat, and <300 mg cholesterol daily. Main outcome measures were total cholesterol, total triacylglycerol, and HDL and LDL cholesterol measured at weeks 8, 9, 11, and 12.
RESULTS: Total cholesterol concentrations decreased significantly between baseline and 8 wk in the red-yeast-rice-treated group compared with the placebo-treated group [(x+/-SD) 6.57+/-0.93 mmol/L (254+/-36 mg/dL) to 5.38+/-0.80 mmol/L (208+/-31 mg/dL); P < 0.001]. LDL cholesterol and total triacylglycerol were also reduced with the supplement. HDL cholesterol did not change significantly.
CONCLUSIONS: Red yeast rice significantly reduces total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, and total triacylglycerol concentrations compared with placebo and provides a new, novel, food-based approach to lowering cholesterol in the general population.
Am J Clin Nutr. 1999 Feb;69(2):231-6. Cholesterol-lowering effects of a proprietary Chinese red-yeast-rice dietary supplement.
Red Yeast Rice Supplementation May Lower Cholesterol in Patients Intolerant to Statins
In a retrospective observational study involving 25 statin-intolerant patients who received supplementation with red yeast rice for at least 4 weeks, results indicate that supplementation with red yeast rice may be a viable alternative to cholesterol-lowering statin drugs. The patients had experienced myalgias, gastrointestinal intolerance, and/or elevated alanine aminotransferase levels with previous use of statins. Supplementation with red yeast rice, on the other hand, was well tolerated, and was associated with a 13% decrease in total cholesterol and a 19% decrease in LDL cholesterol, in patients unable to tolerate daily statin use. Thus, the authors of this study conclude, "...Red yeast rice modestly decreased total and LDL cholesterol, was well-tolerated, and was an acceptable alternative in patients intolerant of other lipid-lowering medications."
"Lipid-lowering efficacy of red yeast rice in a population intolerant to statins," Venero CV, Thompson PD, et al, Am J Cardiol, 2010; 105(5): 664-6.
Red Yeast Rice and Policosanols Treat Hypercholesterolemia in Children
In a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, crossover study involving 40 children between the ages of 8 and 16 years, with heterozygous familial hypercholesterolemia and familial combined hyperlipidemia, supplementation with 200 mg/d red yeast rice extract (corresponding to 3 mg of monacolins) and 10 mg/d policosanols for a period of 8 weeks was found to significantly reduce total cholesterol by 18.5%, LDL-cholesterol by 25.1%, and apolipoprotein B by 25.3%. No significant changes in HDL-cholesterol and apolipoprotein-A-I levels were found. The authors conclude, "The treatment with a dietary supplement containing red yeast rice extract and policosanols has been for the first time successfully employed in hypercholesterolemic children."
"The treatment of hypercholesterolemic children: Efficacy and safety of a combination of red yeast rice extract and policosanols," Guardamagna O, Abello F, et al, Nutr Metab Cardiovasc Dis, 2010 Feb 10.
Supplementation With Red Yeast Rice May Reduce LDL Cholesterol
In a randomized study involving 43 adults with dyslipidemia and a history of statin discontinuation because of myalgia, results indicate that supplementation with red yeast rice is well tolerated and as effective as pravastatin in lowering LDL cholesterol. The patients were randomized to red yeast rice, 2,400 mg twice daily, or pravastatin, 20 mg twice daily, for a period of 12 weeks. At intervention end, the incidence of withdrawal from medication due to myalgia was 5% in the red yeast rice group, compared with 9% in the pravastatin group. Additionally, a 30% decrease in low-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels was observed in the red yeast rice group, compared with 27% in the pravastatin group. No significant difference in mean pain severity and muscle strength was observed between the two groups. Thus, the authors of this study conclude, "...red yeast rice was tolerated as well as pravastatin and achieved a comparable reduction of low-density lipoprotein cholesterol in a population previously intolerant to statins."
"Tolerability of red yeast rice (2,400 mg twice daily) versus pravastatin (20 mg twice daily) in patients with previous statin intolerance," Halbert SC, Becker DJ, et al, Am J Cardiol. 2010; 105(2): 198-204.
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