Rice is a plant. The outer layer of the grain (bran) and the oil made from the bran are used for medicine. Rice bran oil is popular as a “healthy oil” in Japan, Asia, and particularly India. Be careful not to confuse rice bran with other forms of bran such as oat and wheat bran.
Rice bran is used for treating diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, alcoholism, obesity, and AIDS; for preventing stomach and colon cancer; for preventing heart and blood vessel (cardiovascular) disease; for strengthening the immune system; for increasing energy and improving athletic performance; for improving liver function; and as an antioxidant.
Rice bran oil is also used for high cholesterol.
Some people apply rice bran directly to the skin for an allergic skin rash called eczema (ectopic dermatitis).
How does it work?
Rice bran might help lower cholesterol because the oil it contains has substances that might decrease cholesterol absorption and increase cholesterol elimination. One of the substances in rice bran might decrease calcium absorption; this might help reduce the formation of certain types of kidney stones.
Possibly Effective for:
- High cholesterol, when added to a reduced-fat diet. Following a low-fat diet and taking 85 grams of full-fat rice bran per day seems to lower total cholesterol by 8% and “bad” low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol by 14%. Rice bran does not seem to affect other blood fats such as triglycerides or “good” high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol. Taking 11.8 grams of rice bran in a reduced-fat form doesn’t work as well. Both full-fat and reduced-fat rice bran work about as well as oat bran for reducing high cholesterol.
Rice bran oil also seems to be effective for high cholesterol. There is some evidence that rice bran oil can reduce total cholesterol by 14%, LDL by 20%, triglycerides by 20%, and increase HDL by 41%.
- Preventing kidney stones in people with high levels of calcium.
- Allergic skin rash (atopic dermatitis).
- Preventing stomach cancer.
Possibly Ineffective for:
- Preventing cancer of the colon (bowels) or rectum.
- High blood pressure.
- Weight loss.
- Strengthening the immune system.
- Increasing energy.
- Enhancing athletic performance.
- Improving liver function.
- Preventing heart and blood vessel disease.
- Other conditions.
Side Effects & Safety
Rice bran is safe for most people when taken by mouth. Increasing the amount of bran in the diet can cause unpredictable bowel movements, intestinal gas, and stomach discomfort during the first few weeks.
Rice bran is POSSIBLY SAFE for most people when added to baths, but it can cause itching and skin redness. People have experienced rash and itching from rice bran infested with a pest called the straw itch mite, but this is rare.
Special Precautions & Warnings:Pregnancy and breast-feeding: Rice bran is safe in amounts found in food, but there's not enough information to know if it's safe in the larger amounts that are used as medicine.
Gastrointestinal (GI) conditions: Don’t use rice bran if you have a digestive tract problem such as intestinal ulcers, adhesions, conditions that cause narrowing or blockage of the digestive tract, slow digestion, or other stomach or intestinal disorders. The fiber in rice brain could block your digestive tract.
Swallowing: Use rice bran with caution if you have trouble swallowing. The fiber it contains might cause choking.
Moderate Interaction Be cautious with this combination
- Medications taken by mouth (Oral drugs) interacts with RICE BRAN
Rice bran contains a large amount of fiber. Fiber can decrease how much medicine the body absorbs. Taking rice bran along with medicine you take by mouth can decrease the effectiveness of your medication. To prevent this interaction take rice bran at least one hour after medications you take by mouth.
The following doses have been studied in scientific research:
- For lowering high cholesterol: 12-84 grams rice bran per day or 4.8 grams rice bran oil per day.
- For reducing the risk of kidney stones: 10 grams rice bran twice daily for 3 to 5 years.