Q. I am 73 and have had high cholesterol (240-270) all my life. I prefer to avoid statin drugs.
I am quite fit and stay active biking, swimming, hiking and playing tennis. I also watch my diet.
I’ve heard that a daily supplement of red yeast rice would help lower my cholesterol without side effects. Any information you could send me would be most welcome.
A. Several studies have shown that red yeast rice lowers cholesterol better than placebo (Scandinavian Cardiovascular Journal, Aug. 2010) and is less likely than a statin drug to cause unpleasant side effects (Annals of Internal Medicine, June 16, 2009). That said, some people do report muscle pain or other reactions to red yeast rice.
You’ll find more details on red yeast rice along with many nondrug approaches to reducing blood lipids in the Guide to Cholesterol Control and Heart Health we are sending you.