Red Yeast Rice Benefits
Red Yeast Rice Side Effects
Red yeast rice benefits spans back to China as it was used for centuries as both a food and as a medicinal substance. In Chinese medicine, red yeast rice is used to promote blood circulation and to soothe an upset stomach.
More recently, red yeast rice extract, taken in a supplemental form, has been found to lower cholesterol.
What is it?
Red yeast rice is made by fermenting rice with a strain of red yeast called Monascus purpureus. The extract is a source of a number of compounds known as statins - the compounds largely held responsible for reducing cholesterol levels. It appears to accomplish this by blocking a key enzyme in the liver. As such, red yeast rice gained recognition in the United States as a cholesterol-lowering agent. However, in 2001 red yeast rice extract, a "natural" unregulated nutritional supplement was withdrawn by the FDA when it was determined that red yeast rice supplements were too similar in chemical structure to the strictly regulated prescription statin known as Mevocor.
As a result, supplements containing red yeast rice extract, originally sold in a product that went by the name "Cholestin" have basically disappeared from retail stores. In fact, the original product, Cholestin, has been reformulated without red yeast rice. However, it's likely, despite this withdrawal by the FDA that red yeast rice is still being sold on the Internet by various marketers. If by chance the product does return to the market in the future, it will probably be only available by a written prescription from a physician.
Red Yeast Rice Benefits
Red yeast rice benefits the heart as it seems to help reduce total cholesterol levels, lower levels of LDL ("bad") cholesterol, increase levels of HDL ("good") cholesterol, and lower levels of unhealthy fats called triglycerides. By normalizing high blood lipids, may prevent heart disease, which is the leading cause of death in the Western world today.
So, are there any red yeast rice side effects or other red yeast rice dangers? Yes, let's discuss those now.
Red Yeast Rice Side Effects
Although red yeast rice benefits are substantial, it also has potentially dangerous side effects and, as such, many individuals are now investigating other natural alternatives like policosonol. However, before we address red yeast rice or policosonol, let's discuss red yeast rice side effects.
It's important to understand that taking a substance that acts identically in the body to the prescription statin drugs can cause the same side effects.
For example, red yeast rice is almost identical to lovastatin, which is the key ingredient in the statin drug Mevacor.
Therefore, some of the possible side effects of red yeast rice include a range from the less serious side effects such as gastrointestinal upset to potentially serious to the point of life threatening side effects like elevated liver enzymes and muscle wasting rhabdomyolysis.
In addition, statin drugs have demonstrated that they can deplete and/or lower the levels of CoQ10, which is a vital nutrient our bodies need to function properly. Click here to learn more about CoQ10 and Statins or here for the Benefits of CoQ10.
Statin medications include: (Lipitor), fluvastatin (Lescol), lovastatin (Mevacor), pravastatin (Pravachol), rosuvastatin (Crestor) simvastatin (Zocor).
Red Yeast Rice or Policosonol?
Which one is better, the cholesterol lowering red yeast rice benefits or the cholesterol lowering policosonol benefits?
We believe that the potential red yeast rice side effects and dangers is a big price to pay for trying to lower your cholesterol. Therefore, given these harsh challenges that red yeast rice has to offer, natural cholesterol lowering policosonol is our supplement of choice.
Moreover, according to the well-renowned tome The Pill Book Guide to Natural Medicine by Michael Murray, N.D.:
"Policosonol has exceptional clinical documentation demonstrating efficacy, safety, and tolerability in lowering cholesterol and triglyceride levels." (page 765)
In fact, some studies indicated that policosanol is equally as effective and may possibly even be somewhat more effective than statins or fibrates in lowering total and LDL cholesterol and increasing "good" cholesterol, or HDL.
Policosanol is a mixture of natural substances derived from the wax of such plants as sugar cane and yams -- as well as beeswax. However, most of the clinical studies have only validated the sugar cane version of policosanol. And, although this extract is derived from sugar cane it does not raise blood sugar levels.
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We hope this webpage discussing red yeast rice benefits was useful to you.
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