Clayton's Health Facts: Red Yeast Rice.

Clayton South, SPN (ISSA), is a recognized expert in the bodybuilding / fitness industry with over 150 bodybuilding, fitness and nutrition publications to his credit.
What is it and where does it come from?

Red yeast rice is produced by fermenting monascus purpureus yeast over red rice. Red yeast rice is a product native to China and Asia, and has been used for over three thousand years in traditional Chinese medicine systems.

What does it do and what scientific studies support this?

Red yeast rice has been used as a food flavoring agent, but also as a traditional medicine to promote circulation and heart health.

Modern science has validated the use of red yeast rice for these purposes. Research has shown that red yeast rice contains mevinolin- a chemical known to reduce cholesterol and promote cardiovascular health. In fact, mevinolin is the main ingredient in cholesterol-lowering drugs like lovastatin, sold under the trade name Mevacor®. While red yeast rice may work as well as some cholesterol lowering drugs, it has no harmful or potentially harmful side-effects, thus making it a safer Mevacor® alternative.

How does red yeast rice inhibit cholesterol increase? The monascus purpureus inhibit the action of HMG-CoA reductase which is known to raise cholesterol levels. By inhibiting the livers production of cholesterol, red yeast rice helps keep cholesterol levels in check.

But, red yeast rice is a selective cholesterol inhibitor - meaning that it does not inhibit all cholesterol production. It does inhibit LDL (so-called "bad" cholesterol) cholesterol production that can lead to health complications, while simultaneously promoting HDL (so-called "good" cholesterol) production.

But, this cholesterol regulating action of red yeast rice has one further effect: it helps prevent atherosclerosis - a condition that can lead to the "silent killer" - coronary heart disease. Coronary heart disease claims 1,000,000 Americans annually. This cholesterol regulating action of red yeast rice helps to improve circulation, thereby further contributing to heart health and overall immune function. It is not known how many lives would be saved annually by supplementing with red yeast rice.

Cholesterol production is influenced by genetic history and diet. Red yeast rice has been shown to drastically alter cholesterol levels when used in conjunction with dietary reform and exercise.

Who needs it and what are some symptoms of deficiency?

Because cholesterol production is genetically regulated, all persons should supplement with red yeast rice. Even a sound diet may not be enough to overcome genetically regulated cholesterol production.

The powerful effect of red yeast rice on cholesterol production may drastically improve health and immune function.

Red yeast rice is not a required nutrient and therefore no symptoms of deficiency exist.

How much should be taken? Are there any side effects?

Strictly follow label directions.

Red yeast rice is safe for use by health adults.

Side effects are mild and rare, but can include headache, dizziness, heartburn, gas, and stomach ache. Side-effects disappear when use is discontinued.

Red yeast rice may be used with niacin for even greater reductions in LDL cholesterol levels.

Persons on statin-lowering drugs (cholesterol lowering medication like atorvastatin, fluvastatin, simvastatin, pravastatin, cerivastatin) should not use red yeast rice.

All persons should consult a physician prior to use.