Many people who prefer not to take statin-type medications such as Lipitor to lower their cholesterol have turned instead to red yeast rice. Although some doctors are dubious about the benefits of this nutritional supplement, a new study shows that it offers a viable alternative for many patients.

People with high cholesterol who had reacted to statins by developing muscle pain participated in the 24-week trial. They took red yeast rice or a placebo twice daily. They were also coached on healthy lifestyle changes. The people taking red yeast rice were able to reduce cholesterol and bad LDL cholesterol levels much more than those who were on placebo. The supplement did not trigger increased muscle pain.

[Annals of Internal Medicine, June 16, 2009]

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  1. David Zahrt

    I quit the statins and began a regime of: heaping tablespoon of metamusil before breakfast; home-made granola with home-ground flax, barley flour, and sesame seed; 500 mg of niacin 2/day; 600 mg of red yeast rice 2/day.
    My overall cholesterol was 154 but my HDLs were 24. With the new diet & combination of pills it moved to 150 overall and 39 HDLs. I’m satisfied with the results. I’ve been purchasing OTC medicines from Puritan’s Pride. I don’t know how to evaluate their brand of Red Yeast Rice, or where to go to find a way to get comparisons.

  2. LLA

    kds, did you ever get an answer to your question? I too seem to have a genetic predisposition to high cholesterol. I became a vegan, exercised more etc. and it did not affect my “numbers”. My dietitian told me on my first visit that I probably just had an over efficient liver. So, I’m on lipitor and niaspan and it has helped a lot. There is a lengthy discussion on this site about how awful statins are but nowhere do I find an alternative successful treatment.

  3. GJD

    WebMD claims that the naturally occurring statins in Red Yeast Rice have been removed when the product is sold in the US. This would seem to eliminate any benefits in this supplement. What is the real story??

  4. kds

    I am 54 and have a total cholesterol of 290, HDL of 174 and LDL of 88.
    After 3 and 1/2 months of intense dieting and loosing 23 pounds, My levels are Total 281, HDL 173 and LDL of 80.
    I cannot believe with all that I have done has only lowered by total by 9 and HDL by 1.
    My father had 2 open heart surgeries in 10 years and he ate like a rabbit.
    When I was 34, my cholesterol was 200-225.
    Did my father and now me manufacture cholesterol? He walked 5 miles every day.
    My Dr wants to put me on Lipitor and I am resistant because I do not have a SPLEEN.
    I have been looking at other alternatives such as plant sterols, sytrinol and red yeast rice. I have been taking fish oil and flax seed oil these last 3 months and they have not worked.
    What do you suggest? Will Red rice yeast work for the levels that I have or do I need to go on a statin?
    Thank you for your time.

  5. A

    Does anyone ever respond? I would like to know the answers.

  6. Lottie B.

    where do I get red yeast rice ?

  7. c hunt

    I have started taking 1800mg of red yeast rice. Is it safe to mix red yeast rice with the following: evening primrose oil, coq10, milk thistle, and centrum for women.

  8. sh

    I would be careful here.
    If you are concerned about statins, red yeast rice has the same mechanism of action, so the same side effects would seem likely.
    I would certainly NOT add it if taking a statin. Your liver may not be able to handle that. Dangerous thing to do.

  9. sanang

    Red Yeast didn’t help my cholesterol levels, my problem is solely genetic, so altering my diet doesn’t help that much either. Aren’t statins composed of high quantities of red yeast rice? I guess it would take a LOT of red yeast rice to equal a statin pill?

  10. SAB

    Question: Can Red Yeast Rice be used concurrently with Statins? If so, what dosage and frequency?

  11. Sandra G

    How much red yeast rice should be taken daily? Should the dosage be taken all at once every day or in several small doses? Are there foods that neutralize the benefit? Thank you.

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