Q. Is it harmful to take Crestor with red yeast rice?
My doctor prescribed Crestor, but I have also been taking red yeast rice. I would like to get my cholesterol level lower so I do not need to take the Crestor.
A. Do not combine red yeast rice with rosuvastatin (Crestor).
Red yeast rice contains natural statin-type compounds, so you are duplicating your efforts and increasing your risk for statin side effects.
Side effects from statin drugs include muscle or joint pain, headaches, mental cloudiness, digestive distress and diabetes.
This herbal medicine has been used in China for a thousand years, but it occupies an odd limbo position in the US today. The FDA has declared that red yeast rice is an unapproved drug, but it is still allowed to be sold as a supplement.
Unanticipated Benefits of Red Yeast Rice
People who are not taking a statin-type drug have sometimes found that red yeast rice together with a cholesterol-lowering diet is enough to get blood lipids under control. Occasionally, readers report additional benefits, as Greg did:
“I initially took red rice yeast for high cholesterol and found that it lowered the bad cholesterol within a month by nearly 60 points. I did this without changing my diet (bad) and exercise (none). I still had low good cholesterol after two months, so I added fish oil for Omega 3. I always hated taking fish oil due to the burping, but found if I froze it and took it at night I do not have this problem.
“The great side effect… I have suffered from ophthalmic migraines for 20 years. Not really bad migraines, but fractured vision like staring into a light bulb and looking away, but it would stay in my vision for 20 minutes, and after that I felt like I had run a marathon, no pain, just very tired. I found that taking red yeast rice with the addition of CoQ10 stopped the migraines.
“The past two months I have been eating a lot better – no fatty foods, no fried foods, basically no junk (some ice cream now and then), no soda and have added green tea (fresh brewed at home) and peppermint tea (for focus and stress). I eat mostly chicken breast, fruits and veggies, and exercise three times a week. I have been doing this for four months. Today I am 25 lbs lighter, lost four inches off my waste, have dropped my cholesterol by 100 points, have no migraines and feel great. I had a stress test today and results came back very positive.”
We are sending you our Guide to Cholesterol Control and Heart Health with additional details about red yeast rice and other ways to lower cholesterol naturally.