Red Flags for Red Yeast Rice

Many individuals with excessive ldl cholesterol take purple yeast rice supple­ments as a “pure” various to statin medication. The principle com­pound in purple yeast rice, monacolin Ok, lowers manufacturing of ldl cholesterol within the liver and is marketed in purified type because the drug lovastatin (Mevacor and generics).

However how a lot lively ingredient do the dietary supplements include? As a lot as prescription lovastatin? Or too little to have a lot impact?

Within the largely unreg­ulated world of dietary supplements, it’s anybody’s guess. Labels not often listing this info, and merchandise aren’t standardized or their labeling verified. The truth is, merchandise that do disclose lovastatin ranges could be thought of unapproved—and thus unlawful—medication. That’s what occurred a decade in the past to the complement Cholestin, and its producer needed to take away the lovastatin.

Taking out the guesswork

Working with the testing firm ConsumerLab.com, analysis­ers from the College of Pennsylvania analyzed 12 purple yeast rice merchandise from main producers. The outcomes, revealed within the Archives of Inside Medication in late 2010, indicated “dramatic variation in lively components” among the many capsules. The quantity of lovastatin in a day by day advisable dose ranged from zero.2 to 14 milligrams.

Not solely are these low doses, in comparison with the 20 or 40 milligrams in every prescription lovastatin capsule, however the excessive variability in lovastatin ranges means the producers’ recom­mendations are fairly arbitrary. As well as, one third of the prod­ucts had been contaminated with citrinin, a possible kidney toxin.

A statin by some other title

Purple yeast rice, made by fermenting purple yeast (Monascus purpureus) on rice, has been used for hundreds of years in China as a coronary heart treatment. However that doesn’t imply it’s dependable or secure. It could appear extra pure as a result of it comes from a plant and is bought in well being­ meals shops—but it surely actually is a drug.

Furthermore, as a result of it isn’t standardized and accommodates substances apart from lovastatin, its results are much less predictable. As with statins, muscle and liver issues, although uncommon, are attainable, and grapefruit juice might work together with it. Bloating and gasoline might be unwanted side effects. Purple yeast rice shouldn’t be taken with different ldl cholesterol ­medication.

Backside line: When you want a statin, follow a prescription one. what you’re getting, and the advantages are nicely documented. When you do take purple yeast rice, you’ll have to have your blood examined frequently—as you’d with prescription statins—to verify it’s working and never having hostile ef­fects. Purple yeast rice capsules are cheaper than most statin medication, however generic lovastatin is usually even cheaper. Plus, well being insur­ance that covers pharmaceuticals pays for statins.

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