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Red Yeast Rice Supplements Reviewed by ConsumerLab.com

Red Yeast Rice with Niacin?

Question:
If I already take red yeast rice, would adding high-dose niacin help further reduce my cholesterol levels, and would this be safe?

Answer:
Red yeast rice is effective because it naturally contains cholesterol-lowering "statin" compounds, such as lovastatin. However, studies in which statin drugs have been given with high-dose niacin therapy suggest that this is not a helpful combination for most people and there are safety concerns. The same issues are likely to arise with the combination of red yeast rice and high-dose niacin therapy, so this combination should be carefully evaluated. For more details about the effects of statins given with high-dose niacin, see the Niacin section of the B Vitamins Product Review (which includes our tests of niacin and other B vitamins) >>

For more information about red yeast rice (including ConsumerLab.com's product tests), see the Red Yeast Rice Supplements Review >>

Learn more about red yeast rice supplements:



Are red yeast rice supplements legally permitted to contain statins, like lovastatin, since these are drugs? >>

For two years, I used a red yeast rice brand which ConsumerLab.com's report showed to contain the highest amount of lovastatin. With just one pill per day, it kept my cholesterol lower (down to 205 from 260 before starting). I switched to a supermarket store brand because it was cheaper and my cholesterol jumped to 278 (taking 2 pills per day)! I don't think the store brand had anything in it -- is that possible? Can you test it? >>

I started taking red yeast rice and soon after developed insomnia. Could my red yeast rice supplement be the problem? >>

When is the best time of day to take red yeast rice? >>

What are the side effects of red yeast rice? >>

See other recent and popular questions >>
COMMENTS

Simon16351   January 14, 2018
I once took a dose of Lo & Slow Niacin (I think about 750 mg) along with 600 mg of Red Yeast rice, about an hour after taking Viagra, and while on a course of the antibiotic Bactrim. The next day I lost my ability to speak, and could not identify a stethoscope hanging around my doctor's neck. I was rushed to the hospital and treated for a TIA (mini stroke). My liver enzymes soared from the 20's to the 500's. Though overt symptoms disappeared within 30 minutes of their onset, and scans revealed no brain damage, my doctors declared me to be an afib patient, and put me on a blood thinner for the rest of my life - even though I suspect the event was evidence of hepatic encepalopathy (sp?). So - I would definitely not recommend mixing red yeast rice with high dose niacin - especially if you use ED drugs. Hope this is helpful.

Jim16346   January 10, 2018
My doctor has had me taking both Red Yeast Rice and SloNiacin for nearly a year and the resulting decreases in both cholesterol and triglycerides have been remarkable. The combination is producing a better result than I had from a popular prescription statin drug and the leg pains I was having with the statin no longer occur.

LINDA11106   July 27, 2016
Consumer Reports says Red yeast rice is one of the fifteen worse supplements we can take. See the September 2016 issue on supplements.

ConsumerLab.com   July 28, 2016
Hi Linda - The reasons given by Consumer Reports for "avoiding" this supplement relate to the effects of the cholesterol-lowering statin compounds it naturally contains. The warnings are similar to those for statin drugs. CR also notes that red yeast rice can, not surprisingly, increase the effects and side-effects of statin drugs.

Red yeast rice has been shown to be very effective, with minimal side effects, in well-performed, independent clinical studies, so we do not agree that it is supplement to avoid. However, it is certainly one that must be carefully selected (due wide variations in lovastatin content and the potential for contamination) and properly used, as discussed in detail in our Red Yeast Rice Supplements Review.


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This CL Answer initially posted on 9/13/2013. Last updated 8/8/2017.
ConsumerLab.com members may submit questions to CLAnswers@ConsumerLab.com. We read all questions and try to answer those of popular interest.

 
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