Red Yeast Rice (Chinese Supplement) May Cut Heart Risk

ABC News is reporting a study showing Chinese red yeast rice extract reduced the risk of repeat heart attacks by nearly one half. The researchers tested red yeast rice extract pills versus a placebo on nearly 5000 Chinese heart attack patients who were followed for 5 years.

Results showed those taking the red yeast rice pills had a one-third reduction in heart procedures such as bypass surgery or angioplasty, heart death and total death risk, as well as a a two-thirds reduction in cancer death risk.

My Take?

No surprise here. Why?

Because Chinese red yeast rice extract is actually a natural source of an active ingredient in many statin drugs called lovastatin.

However, since these products are NOT regulated in the U.S., the pills may contain unsafe doses of lovastatin or contain harmful ingredients.

I agree with Dr. Steve Nissen, Chairman of the Department of Cardiovascular Medicine at the Cleveland Clinic Foundation, who says, “Why would any sane human take dietary supplement containing an uncontrolled dosage of a statin, when the purified form of the statin is available as an inexpensive generic?”

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration even released a warning to consumers in August 2007 not to buy or eat three specific red yeast rice products promoted and sold on Web sites. The FDA found that since these products contained the same active ingredient as a prescription medicine, they are unauthorized to be sold over-the-counter or online.

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