Red Yeast Rice Extract
Red yeast rice extract comes from yeast, a type of fungus, which grows on rice. The yeast has been used for hundreds of years in China both as a food source and as a traditional form of natural medicine. It's popular as a natural alternative to cholesterol-lowering medications. A number of studies support the health benefits of red yeast rice for lowering cholesterol. A study published in the American Journal of Cardiology showed it has similar cholesterol-reducing benefits to the popular prescription medication pravastatin. Doctors often prescribe pravastatin for people with a cholesterol level that's too high. Red yeast rice contains natural compounds called monacolins. These block the production of cholesterol in the same way statin medications do. However, sometimes the monacolins are removed from red yeast rice extract products. Consumers wishing to lower their cholesterol need to check the ingredients to make sure the monacolins are present in the product. Some doctors recommend red yeast rice extract for patients that experience side effects from prescription cholesterol treatment. More research is needed to determine if red yeast rice is truly effective at lowering cholesterol. It's important to check with your doctor before taking red yeast rice to make sure you're a good candidate.
What You Should Know Before Taking Red Rice Yeast Extract
The effects of red yeast rice extract vary from person to person. It's possible to experience side effects from red yeast rice extract. However, they're typically mild. Side effects may include nausea, heartburn, dizziness or headache. Most people tolerate red yeast rice well. There are concerns that some formulations of red yeast rice extract could contain high levels of monacolin K. Monacolin K is identical to the active ingredient in Lovastatin, a prescription statin medication. Therefore, the side effects could be similar. Possible side effects of statins include muscle pain or weakness. An elevation in liver enzymes is also possible. On the other hand, some people who experience side effects on prescription statins are able to tolerate yeast rice yeast extract without problems. It depends on the particular red yeast rice you take and your individual chemistry. Women who are pregnant, plan on becoming pregnant or are breastfeeding shouldn't take red yeast rice extract. Consult with your doctor before taking any supplements to make sure they are right for you.
This summary is intended for general informational purposes only, and should not be interpreted as specific medical advice. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration does not strictly regulate herbs and supplements. There is no guarantee of purity, strength, or safety of the products. As a result, effects may vary. You should read product labels. In addition, if you are taking medications, herbs, or other supplements you should consult with a qualified healthcare provider before taking a supplement as supplements may interact with other medications, herbs, and nutritional products. If you have a medical condition, including if you are pregnant or nursing, you should speak to your physician before taking a supplement. Consult a healthcare provider if you experience side effects.