The following article concerning red rice yeast simply states the facts relating this product. Moderation is the key and consulting your physician is also extremely important.
There is no doubt that yeast reduces cholesterol levels. Used in China as a food and medicine for thousands of years, red yeast rice is the fermented product of the fungus, Monascus purpureus, grown on rice. It was first marketed as a dietary supplement in the United States by Pharmanex under the trade name Cholestin.
The reason for its cholesterol reducing qualities is that the chemical structure found in red yeast rice contains an active ingredient called monocolin K, which is the same as one of the popular statin drugs (lovastatin). Statins are currently the most effective cholesterol-lowering agents used in medicine today.
A number of clinical trials have clearly illustrated the effectiveness in using red yeast rice preparations for reducing cholesterol levels in patients with high cholesterol levels.Tests of several preparations of red rice yeast revealed that many contained citrinin, a toxic fermentation by-product. People with recorded liver disease, pregnant women and persons under the age of eighteen should not use red yeast rice.
In fact, when red rice yeast was found to contain the basis of one of the statin drugs, the FDA decided to take action in order to classify red rice yeast a drug, and then remove it from the unregulated shelves of the health food store. However, the FDA ruling on red rice yeast was overturned by the court of the District of Utah, and as a result, red rice yeast can be purchased over the counter in completely unregulated quantities in the form of dietary supplements.
We advise caution with any kind of dietary supplements, as manufacturers of supplements are free to make whatever claims they choose about their products, obviously without needing scientific support. Moreover they are not obliged to guarantee the purity and the quantities that are claimed on their labels.
Statins are effective cholesterol-lowering agent, and as a consequence red rice yeast really does seem to lower cholesterol levels. However, statins are prescription drugs, used by cardiologists, with potentially serious side effects which can include muscle or liver damage.