Red Yeast Rice – The Truth About This Fermented Rice Supplement
Looking for some info you can trust about red yeast rice?
Great, let's dive right in and see why this product has become so popular and controversial at the same time.
What is Red Yeast Rice?
Red yeast rice is a form of fermented rice made with the red yeast, Monascus purpureus.
It has been used in traditional Chinese medicine for over 1,000 years. And it's been a commonly used food in the Chinese diet for centuries as well.
Today, it's growing in popularity as a dietary supplement. (More on that in just a minute…)
Why Do Millions Across the World Use Red Yeast Rice?
Red yeast rice has been used for three main reasons:
- As a food, food coloring or additive
- To help manage cholesterol levels
- As a Chinese "medicine", to help improve blood circulation and to mitigate indigestion
First, as used in foods:
Red yeast rice has been a regular food staple in Asia for centuries. The first recorded use of it is during the Tang Dynasy which dates back to the 9th century.
It's commonly used to make pickled tofu and red rice vinegar. And it's also the reason for the dark red color you see on Peking duck.
It remains a popular food in Japan, China and across Asian communities around the world, with the average daily consumption estimated to be between 14-55 grams per person.
Over the past few years, it's popularity has exploded as many are now using red yeast rice to lower cholesterol.
If you are at risk for heart disease, the obvious question is this:
Is Red Yeast Rice Effective at Regulating Cholesterol Levels?
You might be surprised to learn that red yeast rice has been shown to help in the treatment of high cholesterol levels as well or better than prescribed medications.
It's effectiveness and safety have been confirmed time and time again in numerous double blind, placebo-controlled clinical studies.
Common red yeast rice benefits include not just lowering the "bad" LDL and triglycerides, but also raising the "good" HDL cholesterol.
How does it work to balance cholesterol?
It can sound a little complicated, but let's start with this:
HMG-CoA reductase is the most important enzyme responsible for cholesterol production in your body.
Red yeast rice helps suppress the activity of HMG-CoA reductase because it contains a variety of 9 different monacolins and a natural version of lovastatin.
Yes, the same lovastatin that many statin drugs are derived from. Now you understand why it's shown to be so effective with lipid management, right?
In fact, it's the same exact science that the cholesterol lowering statin drugs are based on.
Is Red Yeast Rice Safe?
The safety of red yeast rice is one of the more hotly debated topics in alternative health circles these days.
Some doctors are now eagerly suggesting it to their patients as a safe, effective alternative to prescription drugs.
Meanwhile, other doctors keep filling out the prescription pad because it's the drugs that have the full backing of the FDA. (Don't get me started on THAT subject.)
Despite the fact that it's been used safely for centuries in China and other Asian countries – not to mention a hearty recommendation from numerous clinical trials – the drug companies want you to believe that the potential for red yeast rice side effects are a reason to avoid using this supplement.
They've caused enough of a stir so that it's now illegal to sell red yeast rice that contain lovastatin in more than trace amounts.
This negative position has been taken…
- Despite no apparent medical evidence of these safety concerns from any unbiased research.
- Despite using the exact same science from natural red yeast rice to formulate an artificial version they sell to us in the form of statin drugs.
Were you aware that the pharmaceutical giant Merck got so concerned the public would find about the effectiveness of red yeast rice extract, that they actually filed a lawsuit to try and keep it off the market?
Thankfully that ruling went in the favor of "nature" vs. the wishes of the drug company to protect their profits.
That's not to say that all versions of this supplement are completely safe either.
There are potential complications of using red yeast rice if you're not careful.
There is one factor especially that you want to take into consideration when comparing different red yeast rice products.
You want to make sure that it has the citrinin REMOVED. Citrinin is a potentially toxic by-product that can occur during the fermentation process.
It's possible that low amounts of by-product may not be a problem for you. But why take a chance?
But just to be extra safe: If it doesn't say that the citrinin has been removed … stay away.
Some Final Thoughts…
The research from numerous double-blind, placebo-controlled studies suggest that red yeast rice is a gentler, yet still effective alternative to cholesterol-lowering drugs.
If you're looking for natural alternatives to drugs, you might not want to ignore or dismiss this popular Asian product any longer.
However, if you're considering using it to help with your cholesterol, it's recommended you use red yeast rice extract instead of any other form or variety. (Other varieties are mostly "dead" and have no real health benefit.)
Many suggest that the best combination of performance and safety is when it's used in conjunction with other natural, cholesterol-lowering substances and foods.
This way you can take lower amounts of multiple ingredients (meaning you don't have to worry about taking too large a dosage of any one thing), and create a synergistic effect with multiple substances working together.
Which is just the way your body likes it.
But as with most products, not all red yeast rice supplements are created equal. You'll want to do your due diligence to find a high-quality variety – remember to make sure the citrinin is removed – if you hope to see the type of results found in the many documented trials.