Q. What is your opinion on red yeast rice for lowering cholesterol? I have tried statins and cannot take them.

A. Red yeast rice contains natural statins at a low dose and can lower cholesterol (Annals of Internal Medicine, June 16, 2009). In that study, most (but not all) people who did not tolerate statins were able to handle red yeast rice (RYR).

A more recent study demonstrated that combining red yeast rice and a Mediterranean diet is even more powerful than RYR alone, especially for people with type 2 diabetes (Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, online Dec. 23, 2013).

For more details on RYR and other ways to lower cholesterol and reduce the risk of heart disease with or without drugs, we are sending you our Guide to Cholesterol Control and Heart Health. If you decide to try RYR, be alert for symptoms such as muscle pain, weakness or nerve pain (neuropathy) that may crop up in people who are sensitive to statins.

Because supplements are not regulated, we suggest checking ConsumerLab.com before you purchase a red yeast rice product that might not live up to its billing. ConsumerLab.com tests products to make sure they have the claimed ingredients at the labeled amount and that they are not contaminated. The report costs money but could end up being worth it by saving you from spending money on a substandard RYR product.

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  1. Mo Brann
    Reply

    The Red Yeast Rice sold in this country is not natural. it’s made in a lab.
    The USA outlawed natural red yeast rice because that’s what big pharma uses (used) to make the statins….and even if they make it in the lab now, they sure dont want us to have it over the counter!
    If you had muscle aches with the prescribed statins, you’ll likely have pain with the lab created statins also….as I did.
    Eat Cherrios and such!
    People’s Pharmacy response: Many people who react to statins can tolerate red yeast rice at low doses, although some cannot. Here’s a little extra info:
    http://www.peoplespharmacy.com/2010/12/25/760-natural-cholesterol-control/

  2. fbl
    Reply

    ATaylor, you might try a vitamin K supplement. Make sure it has the multiple Ks. It does wonders for the skin and bruising.

  3. ATaylor
    Reply

    I have been having a terrible time with bruising on my arms and legs. This started about the same time I started taking Red Yeast Rice capsules. Any connection?

  4. CD
    Reply

    Years ago, I ended up with statins. Horrible side effects. Tried them all. I went on line and found a “plant sterol by the name of “cholest-off”. No side effects what so ever and arteries are clean and clear. You can buy them over the counter. Costco has the best prices and sells this product by the “truckloads.” I take 1 capsule in the morning, 1 at noon and 2 with my supper. Works great.
    Good luck to you all!

  5. Madeline Mayse
    Reply

    Nopalitas, cut up cactus slivers help reduce cholesterol. You can eat them raw, put them with fried eggs or put them in soup. Red pinto beans eaten regularly also help.

  6. fbl
    Reply

    My hubby’s cholesterol number went down over 100 points after we made some drastic changes to his diet. Yup, he’d been on the regular non saturated “cholesterol diet” for years and saw the number continually increasing.
    What did we do? Told our Dr. we were going back to the way our ancestors ate and he approved. We threw out the margarine and veggie oils. We kept the olive oil and started using bacon dripings from organic bacon, palm oil, butter, coconut oil and mayonnaise made with avocado or a nut oil. Yes, homemade mayo!
    We buy very few packaged foods but he is careful with the shopping and reads labels for the ones we do buy. No, the number didn’t go down overnight but gradually and now it is a healthy 225 and stays within a few points.

  7. oualum
    Reply

    I am unable to take statins due to muscle pain and weakness. I took a good brand of red yeast rice from the health food store. My number went down and my doctor was amazed. However; during the five months I took it I had three severe bronchial infections and developed severe asthma. I looked up red yeast rice and found it is related to a form of fungus and discontinued it. My asthma was not being controlled and I went to allergy clinic. I am allergic to three of the molds I was tested for and have been taking shots since last summer. Asthma is controlled with steroid inhaler.
    Another thing I am allergic to is ragweed. Chamomile tea and daises are in same family. I don’t know if my ten foot bed of daisies affected me but I removed them this winter.

  8. Barbara
    Reply

    Thank you for this information. A friend recommended Red Yeast to me as I was taking 20mg of Simvastatin and I read in the side effects that it affects your memory. I have been on it for two years now…I do perspire in the night. I think it’s from the Red Yeast but it’s better than loosing my memory. I have a son who is schizophrenic and they have given him 60mgs and I saw his memory is failing… he is 56 and was 209 lbs but he is now 185 and trying hard to loose more weight… but they would not take him off it… said he might get a stroke.
    I will print this out and the connected webs like buying from the right manufacturer… and give a copy to our GP. I live in Long Beach, Ca and have read your articles in the Press Telegram for years and forward them to my family. Have a Happy Easter

  9. Paul C. G.
    Reply

    Hi, I took Red Yeast Rice for chloesterol. It caused Rhabdo myo and I stopped taking it. I found garlic worked better. FYI pg

  10. tacitus
    Reply

    I tried RYR and I got horrible muscle cramps after using it for a couple of days; I stopped it and after a few days I was back to normal. I was later put on pravastatin – which seems to work great – no muscle issues and great lowering of LDL – total cholesterol >250 to ~170. BTW my Doctor did suggest RYR; I took it on the theory that it has a mixture of statins and might be a bit easier on my system.
    So, your mileage may vary.

  11. Lb
    Reply

    What Is the recommended dosage?

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