red yeast rice, risk of red yeast rice, red yeast rice safe

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.

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  1. Helen M
    Modesto, CA
    Reply

    I thought the only red yeast rice that was allowed to be sold in this country had all the statin like compounds removed??

  2. J. David A.
    Springfield, MO, USA
    Reply

    Lovastatin is a problem drug. Most docs have forgotten about the sleep problems and memory/dementia problems which led the docs, who listened to their patients, to quit using lovastatin in favor of pravastatin and simvastatin which had sleep problems at <1% and <5% in studies.
    Sleep studies have not been done with lovastatin even now. It should be taken off the market.

    The interesting question is whether the red rice yeast product with the same compound as lovastatin causes the same problems – or why not. There is no big money to fund this research from the corporate side – I guess we can forget about the government too.

  3. Nancy
    Shiloh, il
    Reply

    I am confused about what is available in red yeast rice. I have read that it is not longer a legal supplement in the United States, yet I still see it in stores. I was taking Drs. Best Red Yeast Rice but can no longer get it and I read that it was pulled off the shelf.

    Is there a brand you would recommend? I bought your paper on lowering cholesterol several years ago and wonder if there is any new information on it to make it worth purchasing again?

    Thank you.
    Nancy

  4. harry l.
    407 murdock rd baltimore md 21212
    Reply

    Without treatment, my cholesterol was 380. So I have tried many treatments. Some caused terrible muscle cramps and mental clouding.
    Now before bedtime I take 5 mg Crestor, one red rice yeast, one ‘Slo Niacin’ [nicotinic acid – the other forms of niacin were not effective]
    and an aspirin, which my internist suggested [the aspirin prevents the hot flash I’d get without it],
    my cholesterol is about 170. My good HDL is up. I am at long last where my doctor wanted me to be 25 years ago.
    I will continue this combination as long as it continues to work for me.

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