The most commonly cited health benefit of red yeast rice is its ability to lower cholesterol.
Because of this, many people have opted to use red yeast rice supplements as an alternative to statins, in order to avoid these adverse side effects.
Studies have shown that supplementing your diet with red yeast rice can indeed help to lower cholesterol levels. Red yeast rice have also been observed to offer a wide range of other health benefits such as improving digestion and circulation.
What Is Red Yeast Rice?
Commonly referred to as RYR, red yeast rice is a combination of rice and a fermented yeast known as Monascus Purpureus. When the two are combined, the resulting rice is usually bright red or purple in color thus the name. RYR extract is used to make RYR supplements.
So, what gives red yeast rice its cholesterol-lowering abilities? Red yeast rice has some naturally occurring chemicals known as monacolins that inhibit or reduce the production of cholesterol.
Recent studies have also shown that monacolins are not the only chemical substances in red yeast rice that help with cholesterol reduction. Other plant substances such as isoflavones and phytosterols as well red yeast rice’s high unsaturated fatty acid content also play a big role in giving red yeast rice its cholesterol-lowering abilities.
Health Benefits of Red Yeast Rice
1. Red Yeast Rice Lowers Cholesterol
Monacolins and other naturally occurring substances in red yeast rice have been seen to limit the action of an enzyme that is used in formation of cholesterol. By limiting the amount of cholesterol being formed, red yeast rice keeps various organs and pathways in the body cholesterol-free.
Red yeast rice can prove extremely beneficial to people who cannot tolerate statins or conventional cholesterol-lowering drugs. RYR supplements have also been found to be specifically useful in lowering LDL cholesterol or “bad cholesterol” in the body.
Indeed, not all cholesterol is bad. The main aim of taking any cholesterol-lowering drug or supplement should be to get rid of bad cholesterol while keeping the good cholesterol intact. RYR does this extremely well and with very few side effects.
2. Reduced Muscle Fatigue
A major side effects associated with statins is muscle fatigue. As a matter of fact, 10 to 15 percent of people who use statins complain of musculoskeletal issues such as muscle fatigue. People with high cholesterol are usually advised to exercise and stay active as much as possible.
However, this can be hindered if your body feels weak. A combination of RYR and exercise may be a better alternative.
3. Improve Insulin Sensitivity
A 2012 study by the World Journal of Cardiology showed that red yeast rice can also help to regulate blood sugar levels. The study focused on the effects of supplements such as red yeast rice, berberine and policosanol on insulin resistance in people suffering from metabolic syndrome. The people who took red yeast rice extract experienced lower insulin resistance as well as cholesterol and LDL levels.
Red Yeast Rice May Be An Effective Alternative
Many people are in search of cholesterol-lowering drugs or supplements that have minimal or zero side-effects.
Conventional cholesterol-lowering drugs like statins have been associated with numerous side effects such as high blood sugar, muscle pain, liver damage, memory loss and even type-2-diabetes.
Red yeast rice may be a safer alternative for people with elevated cholesterol levels.