Red yeast rice is also known by the names red rice koji, red fermented rice, red kojic rice, red koji rice, anka, or angkak. It is a bright, reddish-purple fermented rice that acquires its color from being cultivated with the mold Monascus purpureus. This species of mold is used commercially in the production of blood cholesterol-lowering statins.
Extract from red yeast rice has been used in China and other Asian countries as traditional medicine. It naturally contains several ingredients that help in controlling cholesterol levels. These include a number of monacolins, most importantly monacolin K.
Red yeast rice naturally contains monacolin K, which is a secondary metabolite of the Monascus species that can inhibit cholesterol synthesis. It is chemically identical to the active ingredient of the cholesterol-lowering drug lovastatin. Red yeast rice inhibits the action of an enzyme in your body that helps produce cholesterol known as HMG-CoA reductase. This in turn helps keep cholesterol levels within the normal range. The mechanism of action of red yeast rice is similar to how statins (drugs that lower cholesterol levels) work.
By inhibiting the action of an enzyme in your body that helps produce cholesterol known as HMG-CoA reductase, red yeast rice lowers blood cholesterol levels. This beneficial effect is backed by a number of high-quality studies:
Studies show that red yeast rice can help improve heart health due to its lipid/cholesterol-lowering effects:
Evidence also suggests that red yeast rice may help prevent obesity by promoting fat loss:
The blood pressure-lowering effects of red yeast rice are backed by a number of studies:
Studies also show that the cholesterol/lipid-reducing effects of red yeast rice may offer protection against liver disease:
Strong scientific evidence supports the anti-cancer properties of red yeast rice:
Red yeast rice can also help prevent muscle fatigue compared to other cholesterol-lowering medications:
The ability of red yeast rice to lower cholesterol, lipid, and triglyceride (blood fat) levels has been shown to improve blood circulation according to studies:
Red yeast rice has also been shown to stimulate bone formation in animal models:
Red yeast rice side effects are very uncommon. There have been some side effects associated with the use of this traditional medicine wherein the patient had one of the issues listed below at some point while being on red yeast rice. However, these side effects weren’t confirmed to be associated with the treatment and could have been a coincidence and not related to the use of red yeast rice. Despite this, it was listed as a side effect associated with red yeast rice even though these associated side effects are very uncommon.
Side effects associated with red yeast rice may include the following:
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