Red Yeast Rice & Its Multiple Benefits

Benefits for the Heart & Arteries 

Red yeast rice is a fermented rice that has been used in Chinese medicine as far back as the Tang Dynasty in 800 AD. It has been historically used for blood circulation, digestion and colon health as well as strengthening the arms and legs. It has a bioactive compound, monacolin K which has demonstrated positive benefits on cholesterol levels. 

Red Yeast Rice and Cardiovascular Health 

A meta-analysis review of Red Yeast Rice research that was performed from May 2019 to the current time with 7 studies with 10,699 individuals that had cardiovascular problems (Sungthong B et al, 2020). The analysis also reviewed the subjects after the study – the follow up periods which were from 4 weeks to 4.5 years. The investigators described the studies that were being analyzed as high quality with a low risk of bias. The results of the analysis of individuals that took red yeast rice and had abnormal cholesterol levels showed that there was improvement in cardiovascular outcomes and lipid profiles. 

One particular study was with 79 individuals between the ages of 23 to 65 years that had problems with blood lipids (Huang C-F et al, 2007). Red yeast rice or placebo was provided for 8 weeks. The study showed that there was a significant, greater reduction in the red yeast group versus the placebo group in all lipid levels including in low-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels, total cholesterol/high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, low density lipoprotein cholesterol/high-density lipoprotein cholesterol and apolipoprotein B/apolipoprotein A-I ratios. 

Elevated blood sugar causes problems with blood vessel health increasing problems in the artery walls, endothelial tissue. There is research that shows that red yeast rice helps to reduce blood vessel problems (Liu J-T et al, 2017). The research shows that red yeast rice has a major positive effect on the strong antioxidative enzyme, heme oxygenase-1 (HO-1). In addition, red yeast rice inhibited the harmful reactive oxygen species, as well as cellular senescence. 

Senescence is loss of cell replication and growth that occurs during the aging process.

Red Yeast Rice and Bone Health 

A review was performed looking at red yeast rice and its effects on bone formation in 11 randomized controlled animal studies (Wu B et al, 2020). The overall results of the meta-analysis demonstrated that red yeast rice significantly improved bone mineral density, enhance osteoblast (cells that make new bone) production and increase alkaline phosphatase (ALP) expression. An increase in ALP demonstrates that new bone is being made. 

Osteoblasts are cells that make new bone, therefore osteoblast proliferation means that there more bone cell growth and production. 

Therefore, it was determined that red yeast rice could promote bone formation in animals, which may be useful for humans with bone problems. 

As with any dietary supplements, one should check with their health care provider if they have any health conditions and or are taking prescription medication. One should be careful in taking the supplement if they have gastrointestinal or liver problems. 

In summary, red yeast rice has been used in traditionally in Chinese medicine for blood circulation, digestion and other problems. Research shows that it helps to maintain normal blood lipid levels. It also may be important in reducing aging problems such as cellular senescence. Animal research also shows it helps with bone formation.

This article is for educational purposes only and is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. It is not for advertising purposes. 

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