Lovastatin in Over-the-Counter Red Yeast Rice Lowers Cholesterol, Reports Say

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Now this is interesting. A new report confirms that the natural food supplement Red Yeast Rice (sometimes erroneously called “Red Rice Yeast”) lowers cholesterol because it contains lovastatin, which is one of the naturally occuring statins that is also used in manufactured statin drugs used to lower cholesterol. Red Yeast Rice is available over the counter, and even from places such as Amazon. The averge cost for a bottle of Red Yeast Rice capsules is $12.00 to $15.00; the average cost for the same number – or fewer – of Mevacor starts at $45.00 for the lowest dose, and goes up to as much as $125.00 for higher dosages.

The report on Red Yeast Rice and its lovastatin component also went on to say that levels of lovastatin in Red Yeast Rice supplements vary widely, and that some brands also contain citrinin, “a mycotoxin with possible nephrotoxicity,” (which means it’s toxic to your kidneys).

The report, from Consumer Labs, said that “Red yeast rice is made by fermenting rice with Monascus purpureus, a species of yeast; it naturally contains compounds known as monacolins, including lovastatin, which is the active compound also seen in some pharmaceutical cholesterol-lowering medications. Published studies have shown daily supplementation with red yeast rice may lower total cholesterol and triglycerides. Recently, a study out of China found people with a previous heart attack who took red yeast rice could reduce recurrent heart attack as well as reduce cholesterol levels.

ConsumerLab.com purchased 10 red yeast rice dietary supplements sold in the United States and tested them for levels of monacolins, citrinin and lead. None of the products were found to contain lead. Four products—from Solaray, Natural Balance, VegLife and Walgreens—were found to contain citrinin, a mycotoxin with possible nephrotoxicity. Those four products also were found to have the lowest levels of monacolins; levels between 3.1 mg and 10.6 mg of monacolins per pill were reported for products from 21st Century, Cholestene, Chole-sterin, Healthy America, Nature’s Plus and Schiff.”

The bottom line is that if you are going to take Red Yeast Rice supplements, you should avoid the ones with the citrinin, and take one of the four that ConsumerLab found to contain demonstrable levels of monacolins.

The Red Yeast Rice supplements which ConsumerLab found to contain monacolins but no bad citrinin include:

Nature’s Plus Red Yeast Rice supplement (you can purchase Nature’s Plus Red Yeast Rice from Amazon here)

Schiff Red Yeast Rice supplement (you can purchase Schiff Red Yeast Rice from Amazon here)

Cholestene Red Yeast Rice dietary supplement (you can order Cholestene Red Yeast Rice dietary supplement from Amazon here)

21st Century Red Yeast Rice supplement (you can purchase 21st Century Red Yeast Rice supplement from Amazon here)

You may also find these books of interest:

Chinese Red Yeast Rice (Woodland Health)

Reverse Heart Disease Now: Stop Deadly Cardiovascular Plaque Before It's Too Late

4 thoughts on “Lovastatin in Over-the-Counter Red Yeast Rice Lowers Cholesterol, Reports Say

  1. Thanks for your information on Red Yeast Rice. I was having problems deciding which are the better brands to purcahse and your article was very informative. Thank again!

  2. Thank you for the useful and important information. Are the four brands listed to contain demonstrable monacolins listed in order of the amount of monacolins they contain?

  3. In answer to the amounts question they are as follows, from highest to lowest with Natures Plus being significantly higher:
    Natures Plus
    21st Century

  4. I recently started taking one Puritan’s Pride Red Yeast Rice 600 mg twice a day. Would Citrinin be an ingredient in this brand? It’s not listed – but I don’t suppose that means anything.

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