As one of the top natural remedies for high cholesterol levels, red yeast rice is one of the few natural supplements that contain active ingredients almost identical to those found in prescription medications.
The benefits of red yeast rice extend beyond correcting cholesterol levels, with new research showing that it may also support inflammation, metabolic syndrome and blood sugar levels.
What Is Red Yeast Rice?
Red yeast rice is a type of fermented rice that is produced using a specific species of mold (Monascus purpureus).
It’s been used in traditional Chinese medicine for hundreds of years for its potent therapeutic properties.
Red yeast rice contains a compound called monacolin K — the same active ingredient found in prescription cholesterol-lowering medications known as statins.
For this reason, it’s often used as a cost-effective alternative to pricey medications to help reduce cholesterol levels and support heart health.
Research has shown other beneficial effects as well, ranging from reduced cancer risk to improved blood sugar and insulin levels.
Today, red yeast rice is commonly sold as an over-the-counter supplement. Here is our top pick for red yeast rice.
May Promote Heart Health
Heart disease is a serious disease and is the #1 cause of death in the US.
High cholesterol — one of the main risk factors for heart disease — can lead to atherosclerosis, causing arteries to narrow and stiffen, leading to an increased risk of heart attack and stroke.
Red yeast rice is commonly used as a natural remedy to help lower cholesterol levels and promote heart health, often with less adverse side effects than prescription drugs used to treat high cholesterol.
One study in 25 people showed that red yeast rice lowered total cholesterol by an average of 15% and “bad” LDL cholesterol by 21% over about two months of treatment.
Similarly, an eight-week study with 79 participants reported that taking 600 mg of red yeast rice twice daily significantly reduced “bad” LDL cholesterol levels, compared to a control group (those who did not take red yeast rice).
Another review of 21 studies found that red yeast rice was effective at lowering levels of total and “bad” LDL cholesterol, as well as triglycerides and blood pressure, when combined with statin drugs.
The Bottom Line
Red yeast rice can be taken in both capsule and tablet form. It’s been studied in doses ranging from 200–4,800 mg, but most supplements recommend 1,200–2,400 mg daily for best results.
Our recommended red yeast rice supplement is Designs for Health Red Yeast Rice.
The red yeast rice in the product is USDA certified organic and grown in the US.
Designs for Health takes great care to test their red yeast rice to assure that there are substantial levels of naturally-occurring monacolin compounds, especially monacolin K.