Red yeast rice is an herbal supplement used instead of statins to lower cholesterol. The active ingredients in red yeast rice are mevinic acids. Mevinic acids act like statins by stopping the body’s ability to make cholesterol. One of the mevinic acids in red yeast rice is lovastatin, a statin available by prescription. There is no standard dose for red yeast rice; it varies widely from product to product.
Since red yeast rice contains statins the same side effects and interactions can occur. They include muscle pain or weakness. Although rare, it can also cause liver toxicity. Also similar to lovastatin, atorvastatin and simvastatin red yeast rice can interact with grapefruit juice. This can lead to higher levels of the drug in the body. For this to happen more than a quart of grapefruit juice must be consumed daily. Since red yeast rice contains statins it should be avoided in individuals already on a prescription statin. Combining them would increase the risk of side effects.
Unlike statins, red yeast rice therapy is not monitored by a physician. As a result adverse events may take longer to identify and treat. If you are considering using red yeast rice to lower your cholesterol, be sure to discuss this decision with your pharmacist or doctor so the best choice for your therapy can be made.
Blog by Sarah Livings
For additional information on red yeast rice visit Red Yeast Rice Extract Elite