Red yeast rice, fish oil fight high cholesterol

Reuters Health is reporting new research showing that a regimen of supplements and lifestyle coaching is just as effective as a statin medication for reducing levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) or “lethal” cholesterol. Not only that, the combination was shown to be more effective in helping people lose weight.

My Take?

In the study, people with high cholesterol who took red yeast rice and fish oil daily AND received counseling on diet, exercise, and relaxation techniques showed the same 40 percent drop in LDL cholesterol seen among people taking 40 milligrams of simvastatin (Zocor) daily.

Furthermore, they lost an average of 10 pounds over 12 weeks, compared to less than a pound for patients taking the statin.

With a grant from the state of Pennsylvania, Becker and his team randomly assigned 74 patients to receive 40 milligrams of simvastatin (Zocor) daily along with printed information on lifestyle changes, or to three capsules of fish oil twice daily and 600 milligrams of red yeast rice daily along with the 12-week lifestyle program.

First, let’s look at the weight loss. 

I do NOT think it is from the red yeast rice or fish oil. Rather, I believe it resulted from the counseling the intervention group received. 

But, why was a combination of red yeast rice and fish oil just as effective as the prescription stain?

Simple. It’s because red yeast rice contains natural statins. 

Red yeast rice comes from fermenting red yeast with rice. Known as hong ku, the substance has been used as a medicine and food garnish in parts of Asia for centuries.

But, red yeast rice contains a substance called monacolin-K that is identical to the cholesterol-lowering drug lovastatin (Mevacor). 

In addition, red yeast rice contains several other monacolins that may also have cholesterol-lowering properties.

But, in the U.S., I do NOT recommend anyone take red yeast rice. 

Why? A recent analysis by ConsumerLab found red yeast rice products varied sharply in their potency, and some were contaminated with a toxic byproduct called citrinin. 

This is not true of the statins, which are regulated by the FDA. And, with prescription drugs you can be sure:

There are no contaminants,

The pills are the same from lot to lot,

The pills can be absorbed into your body, and 

The pills are made with approved manufacturing processes.

Unfortunately, in the U.S., the same is not true of most supplements.

However, there is one protection for the American consumer, when it comes to dietary supplements – and that is to see if it has been evaluated by an independent testing lab.

And the lab that has tested more supplements than any other is ConsumerLab. Check them out. 

 

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