Every day we look for things to help us with our health without being prescribed prescriptions from our physicians. And if you’re not, you should be! I know I am concerned about my health, as I am getting older. Rather than going to doctors all the time, I changed my diet years ago. I watch what I eat instead of just taking a pill that the big pharma has concocted.
I think in this day and age we are learning that when our grandparents or maybe even our parents were young, they were raised with whole foods. Whole foods are much more nutritious and healthier than processed. This is why you are seeing more and more people turn toward organic and watching out for pesticides and GMO’s. I’m going to touch on red yeast rice and red yeast rice supplements to hopefully engage you and take some things into consideration. One being, that if you are taking red yeast rice supplements, be aware of what ingredients and how much are in them. And two, if you are eating red yeast rice, beware of who you are purchasing it from.
Red yeast rice is a Chinese rice that is fermented, also called “Went Yeast” and is colored by the anthocyanin content. People in China have used it to improve blood circulation, improve digestion and as an anti-inflammatory in Eastern medicine.
Researchers are not sure if red yeast rice lowers cholesterol because of the statin-like chemical or, because of other things in red yeast rice like Monacolin K, unsaturated fatty acids, isoflavones, and phytosterols.
The French have issued the following warning regarding red yeast rice.
Brown rice and red rice are very similar as they both have fiber, B vitamins, calcium, zinc and iron, manganese, selenium, magnesium and other nutrients. You may find that you like the taste of brown rice better than red rice as it is very bitter tasting. Red rice is different, though, because it being enriched with antioxidants, which helps fight damaging free radicals in our bodies.
Now according to WebMD, it was withdrawn from the market because it contains monacolin K, which is found in lovastatin. Lovastatin is considered a “Statin drug” for lowering cholesterol and many people are finding it hard to purchase. Lovastatin is normally very well tolerated however, it can give you abdominal pain, constipation, muscle aches or pains, nausea, diarrhea, indigestion, weakness, blurred vision, rash, dizziness and muscle cramps.
People are still able to purchase it on the internet though or from other countries, despite the FDA’s attempts.
According to the National Center for Complimentary and Integrative Health (NCCIH), not all red rice has monacolin K in it.
You need to keep in mind from whom you are getting the red rice from. You need to know that the product uniformity, purity, labeling, and safety cannot be guaranteed.
The research on RYRE (Red Yeast Rice Extract) (dietary supplement) is in its early stages of research. And the NNCIH’s clinical trials, (studies on people) “the products lowered blood levels of total cholesterol and low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol (the so-called bad cholesterol that is linked to increased heart disease risk). It is important to emphasize that all of these clinical trials used products that contained substantial amounts of monacolin K. A 2011 analysis showed that some of the red yeast rice products on the market contain very little monacolin K. These products may have little or no effect on blood cholesterol levels. Therefore, even though the participants in the clinical trials were able to lower their cholesterol levels by taking red yeast rice, you might not be able to achieve the same results”. NNCIH also found that “In one of the clinical trials, the tested product produced a cholesterol-lowering effect greater than would be expected based on its monacolin K content. Further investigations, supported by the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH), suggested that other monacolins or other substances present in the product may have contributed to its cholesterol-lowering effect.”
The University of Maryland Medical Center gives an overview of their findings and thoughts.
Is this “red rice” even worth it? I know of many other things that can lower your cholesterol without having to worry all the problems associated with red rice. Try eating some of these examples:
- oat bran
Safety – Many people in Asian countries have been eating red rice for centuries and aren’t scared of it and are very healthy. Since there are so many varieties of red rice and red rice supplements on the market, my concerns would be what amounts are safe for one to take, and where I am getting it? I suggest speaking with your physician.