In the News
June 15, 2009, 6:29 PM ABC News
"An Ancient Remedy to Lower Cholesterol"
For over a thousand years Red Yeast Rice has been used throughout Asian countries. We are all familiar with the Chinese dish, Peking duck (noted for the red color) but something we may not have known about was its use as an herbal medicine to lower cholesterol.
The production of red yeast rice occurs when yeast grows on rice. A study was released and published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, June 16, 2009 entitled "Red Rice Yeast for Dyslipidemia in Statin-Intolerant Patients". The study was a randomized, controlled trial performed on 62 patients. The authors of the study are: David J. Becker, MD; Ram Y. Gordon, MD; Steven C. Halbert, MD; Benjamin French, Ph.D.; Patti B. Morris, RD; and Daniel J. Rader, MD.
To see the study abstract from the Annals of Internal Medicine follow the following link: RED YEAST RICE for Dyslipidemia in Statin-Intolerant Patients
The Natural Products Association use to provide an excellent background on this dietary supplement which was accessible to the public. However this link is now a member benefit. To see information about the background on RYR we now defer to the following link provided by MedicineNet.com: http://www.medicinenet.com/red_yeast_rice
The above scientific backgrounder narrows the focus to monacolins which are the substances of interest in red yeast rice. Monacolins are a group of fungal metabolites. There are ten different monacolins that have been identified. Here in is the problem monacolin K is chemically identical to the prescription medication lovastatin. The manufacturer of lovastatin was able to synthetically create monacolin K and therefore submit this to the FDA as a new drug and obtain a patent.
As the late, Paul Harvey would say "and now, the rest of the story."
In 1998, the FDA sought to regulate a red yeast rice extract that was marketed as a dietary supplement. The FDA took the position that the red yeast rice dietary supplement contained elevated levels of the active ingredient monacolin K which appeared to be identical to the synthetic monacolin K found in the prescription medication lovastatin. The FDA made the claim that the naturally occurring ingredient monacolin K was therefore an unapproved new drug.
The company that manufactured the red yeast rice extract filed a law suit contending that in fact there product was a dietary supplement and not subject to FDA drug regulation. Despite an initial ruling, in 1998, the courts ruled in favor of the naturally occurring monacolin K. This was appealed and on March 30, 2001 the Court of Appeals affirmed the FDA's position and held that products containing "significant" amounts of the ingredient monacolin K are drugs subject to FDA regulation. The manufacturer of the dietary supplement may have lacked the deep pockets and may have not wanted to deal with the obvious political headaches and decided not to pursue an additional appeal.
At present, and since 2001, red yeast rice dietary supplements are available for purchase in the United States. Caution should exercised as not all red yeast rice products are identical with respect to there chemical make-up and vary from brand to brand. These differences may impact both safety and efficacy of those product formulations that have not undergone clinical testing.
It is advisable to both consult with your physician and insure that the product you choose is manufactured by a company that uses a facility that is quality assured: GMP certified by NSF and NPA.
It is strongly suggested that you consult with your health care provider regarding the use of any product.
If you are experiencing side effects contact your physician.
"Heart attack patients who stop statin risk death, say McGill researchers"
Aug. 27, 2008
Study finds doubled mortality risk if treatment is discontinued
To see this news article from McGill University click on the McGill icon
The following links below contain additional information regarding taking a natural approach to cholesterol management. Again it is most important to consult with your health care provider before initiating or making any changes in a cholesterol management regimen.