Red yeast rice is a traditional Chinese medicine. It has been used in Asia for centuries, not only to heal but also to color or preserve food. Red yeast rice in an extract from rice fermented with a kind of yeast and it is famous of containing a plenty of ingredients that are very helpful in controlling cholesterol levels. Asians believes in benefits of red yeast rice for centuries. But should we believe too?
How effective is red yeast rice?
Red yeast rice seems to be a good choice for people whose level of “bad” cholesterol is too high. According to studies, it can lower LDL (which is medical term for “bad” cholesterol) level and total cholesterol level, as well. Reduction of LDL can reach 22% and total cholesterol level can be lowered by 16%. It refers to 12 weeks of taking 2.4 grams of red yeast rice per day. But results vary according to different studies. In another one LDL levels were reduced by 26% and it took four weeks less.
But before you enthusiastically swallow some red yeast rice to lower your cholesterol levels, you must know that studies have been quite limited so far. For example, we know just a little about long‑term effects. It seems like red yeast rice lowers cholesterol well, but you just need to be careful with taking it. It’s not just by accident that U.S. government tries to control sale of red yeast rice as they’re not certain if it should be treated as medicine or just diet supplement and how to use it most effectively and safely. What’s more, exact composition of red yeast rice pills you can find over the market varies depending on the producer. It’s not like you should avoid taking red pills, but it’s not a bad idea to ask your doctor first.
Statin drugs or red yeast rice
If you have ever tried to fight against some serious cholesterol issues, statin drugs are probably no stranger to you. You may have heard about its ability to lower bad cholesterol and possible side effects as well. When taking statin drugs you may end up with muscle pain and general weakness or gastrointestinal distress, as an example. Unfortunately, the number of individuals who suffer from side effect is really huge and this is the reason for researchers to seek for good alternative. The one found is red yeast rice. Researchers at Pennsylvania School of Medicine conclude their exploration positively: red yeast rice can decrease LDL cholesterol level without plenty of side effects that are typical to statin therapy, like increasing CPK enzyme levels or muscle pain and it can be used by individuals who are not able to tolerate statin drugs.
On the other hand, taking red yeast rice can lead to some side effects as well. The good news is they will be just mild ones, like a little upset stomach, headaches or heartburns. Researchers also admit that more studies is needed to see what long-term effects of using red yeast rice will be. What’s more, red yeast rice shares some part of side effects with statin and this is why you shouldn’t take it when pregnant, breastfeeding and having kidney or liver disease. It can also interact with some drugs.
Red yeast rice and weight loss
Red pills and Chinese extract within are the matter of interest not only to people with too high cholesterol levels, but also those who want lose a little weight. As we stressed above, not many researches have been done yet, but those done shows that red yeast rice can help lose redundant pounds. People that were included in the experiments were losing weight significantly but red yeast rice wasn’t the only nuance in their everyday routine. Experiments involved some physical exercises and diet changes. So if you want to be sure that in next few weeks you will lose some pounds, you need to not only take the supplement, but include some sport and healthier food in your schedule as well.