Red Yeast Rice May Lower Cholesterol
Study Shows Supplement Reduces LDL Cholesterol Levels
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Differences in Concentrations of Red Yeast Rice continued...
The newly published study included 62 people with high LDL cholesterol who had stopped taking statins because of muscle pain.
Half the study participants took three 600-milligram capsules of red yeast rice a day and half took placebo capsules that were identical in look and smell to the red yeast rice. And both treatment groups were enrolled in a 12-week lifestyle program, which included once-a-week, three-hour educational sessions encompassing diet, exercise, and stress management.
The red yeast rice supplements used in the study were independently analyzed to ensure that the dosage was accurate.
Red Yeast Rice vs. Placebo
After six months, patients who took the red yeast rice had lowered their LDL cholesterol by an average of 35 mg/dL, compared to 15 mg/dL among the placebo group.
Total cholesterol levels also improved more in the red yeast rice group. Muscle pain scores, weight loss, and liver and muscle enzyme levels did not differ significantly between the groups.
The study appears in the latest issue of the journal Annals of Internal Medicine.
Cardiologist Robert Eckel, MD, runs a lipid clinic at the University of Colorado and is a past-president of the American Heart Association. He tells WebMD that statin-related muscle pain is a common problem that has not received enough attention.
Eckel says muscle pain issues often resolve when patients are switched to a different statin or when dosages are lowered. There are also non-statin drugs that lower cholesterol, such as the cholesterol-blocker Zetia.
"It isn't clear if the patients in this study were taking very large doses of statins," he says. "If they were, their muscle pain might have gone away with lower doses or by switching to a low-end statin."