Don’t Buy Red Yeast Rice Until You Read This Article

If you learned about a natural product that could help lower your cholesterol, wouldn’t you want

to buy it? Of course you would. Well, guess what. There is such a product. Because of

government controls, however, you can’t get this product anymore, at least not in its original

cholesterol lowering form. Why would the government do that, you may ask. Here’s why.

Red yeast rice is a form of rice fermented using red yeast. The Chinese have used this rice for

years as a spice, food preservative and colorant, as well as a dietary supplement. For more than

1,000 years, these people have also used red yeast rice medicinally claiming it improved blood

circulation, and relieved indigestion and diarrhea.

Active Ingredients

More recently, scientists have found that one of the active ingredients naturally produced when

rice is fermented by red yeast is Monacolin K, or Lovastatin. For those of you not familiar,

Lovastatin is the generic equivalent of one of the statin drugs; a class of the strongest, most

effective cholesterol lowering prescription medications. Unlike prescription Lovastatin which

contains 10 mg or more of this active ingredient, red yeast rice contains less than 2.5 mg of the

cholesterol lowering medication per 600 mg capsule. Red yeast rice has been marketed as a

dietary supplement under the names Cholestin and HypoCol.

Until 1999, red yeast rice was readily available as a dietary supplement. However, it was in that

year that clinical studies confirmed the effectiveness of red yeast rice with Lovastatin as one of

its ingredients in lowering cholesterol. When the Food and Drug Administration caught wind

there was a dietary supplement being sold that included a prescription medicine, they decided to

pull the supplement from the market. They defended their decision by claiming that since the

supplement contained a drug that normally required a doctor’s prescription; the red yeast rice

could not be sold over-the-counter in an unregulated form.

The Big Stick of the FDA

The FDA’s decision met with some controversy and was actually overturned later that year by the

court of the District of Utah. In 2000, however, the FDA triumphed when the 10th U.S. Circuit

Court of Appeals ruled that since red yeast rice does contain the prescription medicine

Lovastatin, even though it does occur naturally, it is subject to FDA rules.

After that time, most forms of red yeast rice disappeared from the shelves of pharmacies and

health food stores, in its original form anyway. You can still buy the supplement but because of

the FDA order red yeast rice is made using a different fermentation process which does not

produce Lovastatin.

So, that is the story of red yeast rice. Used by the Chinese for hundreds of years as a way to

increase blood circulation, federal government regulations forced vendors to clear this natural

supplement from their shelves. You can still buy red yeast rice, but don’t expect it to have any

big effect on your blood pressure. To have the benefits of the cholesterol lowering ingredient of

red yeast rice, you must get a doctor’s prescription.