Lowering cholesterol may seem like a difficult feat, but a recent study found that a rice-based supplement could help to lower your LDL-cholesterol level by nearly 25 percent. The supplement, derived from red yeast rice, also appears to help fend off heart disease.
What is red yeast rice? It’s the fermented product of red yeast that grows on white rice. A substance that can be isolated from red yeast rice, monakolin K, is believed to be responsible for the beneficial effects, and is sold under the name lovastatin. Some people use lovastatin in place of traditional statins.
In the study, the test subjects who took red yeast rice capsules over a four month span lowered their LDL-cholesterol by 23 percent compared to those who took a placebo. Additionally, the red yeast rice users lowered their total cholesterol 15.5 percent more than the placebo group. The supplement did not have a significant effect on weight, however.
While that is a significant decrease in cholesterol, before you rush out to buy red yeast supplements, you should be aware that another study has warned of potential health risks such as kidney damage. Be sure to consult a doctor to weigh the pros and cons of this and any supplement you are considering taking.