Can Red Yeast Rice be Used to Lower Cholesterol?

An article published by the Penn State Hershey Medical Center looks at red yeast rice (RYR or Went yeast), its use for lowering cholesterol, and the need for further research. RYR acts similarly to statins, particularly monacolin K (Lovastatin). It is not yet determined whether RYR lowers cholesterol because of its statin-like properties or other properties. Studies conducted on RYR support the fact that RYR lowers LDL (“bad”) cholesterol levels. Red yeast (Monascus purpureus) stops the action of an enzyme in the body that helps make cholesterol.  One of the proprietary products most often studied was Cholestin, which contained monacolin. However, current Cholestin products do not contain RYR. Asia, and Chinese communities, use powdered RYR as a food coloring for fish, alcoholic beverages, and cheese. RYR supplements should not be taken by people under 20yrs but for adults, the dosage depends on the formula. Most studies have used 600 mg, 2 to 4 times daily. There are precautions, side effects, and interactions relating to RYR that need to be considered.

Source: Complementary and Alternative Medicine Penn State Hershey Medical Center – Red Yeast Rice