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Red Rice Yeast is an extract referred to as RYRE that’s extracted from fermented rice. This rice goes through the fermentation process using a specific type of yeast called mocascus purpureus. China and other Asian countries have used RYRE for centuries as a dietary staple and in traditional medicine. Also, it’s been used for food coloring, as an additive, and as a preservative. In traditional medicine and modern supplements alike, Red Rice Yeast is used to lower levels of cholesterol. There have been several studies that support this claim. However, not enough for it to be universally true. So, you should talk to your doctor before using a Red Rice Yeast supplement.  But, does red rice yeast work?

Red Rice Yeast And Lowering Cholesterol

Red Rice Yeast supplements often target the levels of cholesterol in the body. RYRE contains monacolins. These compounds are largely known for blocking cholesterol production in the body. Studies show that it can lower overall cholesterol in addition to “bad cholesterol.” One of the compounds in RYRE is called monacolin K, and is identical to the active ingredient in the cholesterol-targeting drug lovastatin. Also, it can produce the same side effects of this drug.

However, not all Red Rice Yeast supplements contain monacolin K. These supplements can often be hit and miss, given this fact. The FDA currently considers this specific compound as a drug, so supplements using cannot be approved as a dietary supplement. Instead, they would have to be registered specifically as a drug. However, researchers are not certain that monacolin K is the reason for the success RYRE has delivered for those seeking to lower their cholesterol. These supplements contain less of the compound than the prescription drug, so further study is needed to officially determine its cholesterol-lowering properties.

Red Rice Yeast Research

Studies mostly focus on the Red Rice Yeast products that contain monacolin K. In these trials, people were able to lower blood levels of total cholesterol and low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol. LDL is known as the “bad cholesterol” because of its links to heart disease. These studies used products with significant amounts of monacolin K, the compound many believe is responsible for the cholesterol-lowering benefits of RYRE.

However, one trial saw results that exceeded expectations based on its monacolin K concentration. Therefore, research has not concluded whether or not this specific compound is responsible for the cholesterol-lowering abilities of Red Rice Yeast. Normally, statins are a popular drug form chosen to treat cholesterol issues. However, a couple studies have shown that people who cannot risk the side effects of those drugs had better outcomes using Red Rice Yeast products.

Red Rice Yeast Considerations

As you can see, the research behind Red Rice Yeast is promising. However, it is important to remember that its benefits are still up in the air. Talk to your doctor before purchasing a Red Rice Yeast supplement to be sure it’s right for you. Be sure not to use RYRE to replace or postpone seeing your healthcare provider. Also, if you are pregnant, do not consume RYRE supplements or products. Research has not yet been conducted with pregnancy. If you are already taking a statin, a drug used to treat problems with cholesterol, do not supplement it with Red Rice Yeast supplements. If you are looking to lower cholesterol or switch from a statin, talk to your doctor about using a Red Rice Yeast supplement.

Todd Ruggets
Todd Ruggets

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