Red Yeast Rice for Lowering Cholesterol
Red yeast rice is a dietary supplement made by fermenting rice. Red yeast has been popularly used in china for adding color to food, preserving food and it is also used in making rice wine. Clinically, it is also called Monascus purpureus. Red yeast rice acts like lovastatin and helps to reduce cholesterol levels. Studies have shown that people who take red yeast rice supplements have lower LDL cholesterol level than those who take other supplements.
Benefits of red yeast rice:
According to research done in China, heart attack patients taking red yeast rice extracts experienced decreased frequency of heart attacks. It also reduced the death rate caused due to heart diseases by 50%. This is because of the cholesterol lowering compounds present in red yeast rice.
Red yeast rice when paired with fish oil supplements showed significant effects in reducing the high cholesterol level. But, this should be combined with regular exercise and a healthy diet. Apart from being an effective treatment for high cholesterol, it is also used to treat abdominal pain in China. Red yeast rice is also used to increase blood lipid regulation and as a digestive stimulant in the body. Red yeast rice raises the level of HDL cholesterol in the body. It is also used to reduce the unhealthy fats in the body.
Side effects and considerations:
Although, red yeast rice is known for its effect against cholesterol, it has side effects as well like changes in liver enzymes and mild gastrointestinal upset. Other side effects include conditions like rhabdomyolysis, which occurs rarely. This condition can lead to the breakdown of muscle tissue and can cause kidney failure.
Headache, gas and bloating, indigestion, dizziness, heartburn accompanied by muscle pain, inflammation of the liver, damage to peripheral nerves and joint pain are other possible side effects.
Nursing and expectant mothers are not advised to take this red yeast rice. People suffering from liver diseases are also not advised to take any red yeast rice supplements. Taking red yeast rice can also worsen the condition of kidney disease and acute infections.
Therefore, it’s always better to seek medical advice before you start taking red yeast rice supplements. The topic of cholesterol and red yeast rice remains one of the most debated topics in many medical studies.