Rice Red yeast rice dangers is an important topic to discuss especially as the U.S. FDA forced its removal from the market in 2001.
Before we discuss the side effects of red yeast rice, let’s discuss what it is, what potential replacements there may be to it, and other relevant pieces of information.
Red yeast rice extract has been a Asian dietary supplement for many years. It’s made by fermenting red yeast on rice.
Its popularity grew quickly in the West undoubtedly due to its reported cholesterol-lowering effects.
As mentioned, it was subsequently withdrawn in 2001 as it was believed it was chemically too similar to a statin prescription drug called Mevacor.
It has since disappeared from retail shelves but it is still available on the Internet, though. Since it’s been removed from the market, those seeking lower cholesterol have continued looking for another cholesterol lowering supplement.
So, in answer to the question does red rice yeast have any side effects?
According to many clinical studies, yes it is.
Red Yeast Rice Extract Key Info
While many cholesterol lowering statin drugs like Zocor, Lipitor, and Mevacor may do much good, research has validated that statins actually deplete the body of Coenzyme Q10 (COQ10), a key compound needed for proper metabolic functioning as well as heart health.
This is actually extremely dangerous to your heart health! Dr. Peter Langsjoen is a recognized authority on COQ10 and statins. He believes COQ10 lowering effects of statins actually contribute to the increase of congestive heart failure that has plagued the U.S. in the last few years.
Bear in mind cholesterol lowering drugs are a $20 billion a year industry, so change will not come easily. In fact, many doctors don’t even know of the connection. It is interesting to note that statin drugs combined with red yeast rice poses potential dangers as well.
Whether you take prescribed cholesterol lowering drugs is your choice, of course, but given the documented dangers involved, and the fact that there are alternatives available that lower bad cholesterol (LDL) while increasing good cholesterol (HDL) without side effects.
Does Red Rice Yeast Have Any Side Effects?
In one study, researchers traced a patient’s myopathy (muscle tissue problems) to red yeast rice. You can read about it here. Less benign side effects include headaches, gas, stomach upset, and heartburn. The chief red yeast rice dangers are increased liver enzymes and myopathy (muscle tissue destruction), and kidney toxicity. In time, more research will perhaps persuade the FDA to allow it to again be resold, but in the meantime, a safer substance is recommended.
In a study done at UCLA School of Medicine, a double-blind, placebo-controlled, 12-week controlled trial was initiated, proving red yeast rice “significantly reduces total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol [the bad cholesterol], and total triacyglcerol concentrations…” However, the side effects are such that it is our recommendation that you abide by the FDA’s warning and avoid it.
I suggest an alternative that gives the same cholesterol lowering effects without the side effects. Policosonol is just such a substance. One researcher claims that Policosonol is perhaps the most studied substance of recent memory. It’s even been studied in Cuba. Policosonol’s proven cholesterol lowering capabilities is now known the world over so its growing popularity is no accident. Another substance that is proven to lower cholesterol is guggulipid.
Risks of Red Yeast Rice — Part II
Continuing our discussion about Risks of Red Yeast Rice… In theory, other red yeast rice extract risks include the possibility of serious reactions with statins including kidney toxicity, liver damage, and even skeletal muscle damage. Why is this? Due to the statins in the red yeast rice extract. Some of the symptoms may also be muscle pains, muscle tenderness, flu-like symptoms, and fatigue.
One 12-week study, though, showed no liver or kidney problems with organ functions remaining normal. It is also ill advised to take red yeast rice extract if you’re 20 or younger, and as always drinking alcohol in large amounts while undergoing red yeast rice extract. Doctors also recommend that if you’re drinking large amounts of grapefruit juice, avoid red yeast rice extract. The two are incompatible.
BOTTOM LINE: Avoid red yeast rice. Its side effects are too pronounced. Instead, choose a substitute that isn’t as dangerous while still providing the same reported cholesterol-lowering capability. We also recommend you avoid statins and cholesterol drugs due to their side effects as well.
Alternative Cholesterol Lowering Supplement
After a lot of research, we came across a substitute product that doesn’t pose the side effects or risks of red yeast rice. A New Zealand company has a product that has both policosanol and guggulipid as well as other known bad cholesterol fighters. The fact that this company is headquartered in New Zealand caught our eye as their government requires the same rigorous adherence to quality as the US does do for prescription medications. In fact, their standards even exceed the U.S. FDA.
Their products are pharmaceutical quality grade, properly earning the designation nutraceutical. Their Natural Cholesterol Lowering Formula product is what we take.
Red yeast rice dangers are such that while it lowers cholesterol, it is logical to use proven substitutes like policosonol, gugulipid, and theaflavin extract, among other ingredients, that give the same tremendous benefits without the dangerous side effects.
I hope this Risks of Red Yeast Rice web page has been useful to you.
Yours in health, hope, and harmony,