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Can Red Yeast Rice Lower Cholesterol?

According to, a recent study supports previous research that suggests red yeast rice may lower cholesterol.

Red yeast rice is the product of yeast (Monascus purpureus) grown on rice. A staple in some Asian countries, it contains substances known as monacolins, which inhibit the accumulation of cholesterol. In fact, monacolin K is also known as mevinolin or lovastatin--generic for Mevacor, a drug produced by Merck and Company, Inc.,

Studies of red yeast rice's cholesterol-lowering properties date back to the 1970s. Red yeast rice has been shown to lower total cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein (also called LDL or "bad cholesterol"), and triglycerides. Products containing red yeast rice extract are available for purchase, but these products may not be standardized and the effects may not be predictable. Quality is important, and it is recommended that a healthcare provider be consulted before using red yeast rice.

In the study, researchers randomly assigned 52 physicians and their spouses with high cholesterol to either take red yeast rice extract or a placebo for eight weeks.

Natural Standard: