Red Rice Yeast

Red Rice Yeast is a traditional Chinese herbal remedy that has been shown in animal and human studies to lower serum cholesterol levels. Red Rice Yeast is derived from a strain of yeast (M purpureus Went) that is prepared by a traditional rice fermentation process. The yeast has been shown to contain compounds that posses the same activity as found in the statin drugs, which is responsible for inhibiting cholesterol synthesis in the liver.

Red Rice Yeast Extract contains a number of cholesterol-lowering compounds known as statins, among them lovastatin, the same active ingredient that’s in Mevacor. Other red yeast compounds are similar to those in other cholesterol medications, such as Lipitor (atorvastatin) and Zocor (simvastatin). The UCLA study was published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition in 1999 and confirmed that a supplement known as Red Rice Yeast Extract reduces cholesterol levels by an average of 40 points in 12 weeks when combined with a low-fat diet. That’s about the same result you’d expect from a low dose of the popular cholesterol drug, Mevacor.

For people with high cholesterol (240 mg/dl or above), the choice among conventional physicians is usually to prescribe one of the statin drugs. These tend to be safe, although there is a slight risk of serious side effects, such as liver problems or severe muscle aches. The most common medications are lipid-lowering agents known as statins. However, due to the potential side effects of statin drugs and their expense, people continue to be interested in natural alternatives.

For those with borderline cholesterol (200 to 239 mg/dl), the decision is trickier. A five-year study showed that statin drugs cut the risk of heart disease in this group, too. But some experts believe that natural supplements may offer similar benefits, with fewer adverse effects. However, long-term studies are lacking. Several trials in China have shown that red yeast products have no toxic effects, and in the UCLA study, the liver tests of people taking the supplement remained normal. Cost may be a deciding factor as well.


Red Rice Yeast can help with the following

Lab Values  


May do some good



A single-cell organism that may cause infection in the mouth, vagina, gastrointestinal tract, and any or all bodily parts. Common yeast infections include candidiasis and thrush.


Herbs may be used as dried extracts (capsules, powders, teas), glycerites (glycerine extracts), or tinctures (alcohol extracts). Unless otherwise indicated, teas should be made with one teaspoon herb per cup of hot water. Steep covered 5 to 10 minutes for leaf or flowers, and 10 to 20 minutes for roots. Tinctures may be used singly or in combination as noted. The high doses of single herbs suggested may be best taken as dried extracts (in capsules), although tinctures (60 drops four times per day) and teas (4 to 6 cups per day) may also be used.


The cell-free fluid of the bloodstream. It appears in a test tube after the blood clots and is often used in expressions relating to the levels of certain compounds in the blood stream.


A waxy, fat-like substance manufactured in the liver and found in all tissues, it facilitates the transport and absorption of fatty acids. In foods, only animal products contain cholesterol. An excess of cholesterol in the bloodstream can contribute to the development of atherosclerosis.


(mg): 1/1,000 of a gram by weight.

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