Answer:

Red yeast rice supplements contain naturally occurring statin compounds (or monacolins), such as lovastatin, that can help lower elevated cholesterol and triglyceride levels. Like prescription statin drugs, red yeast rice supplements can cause side effects such as altered liver enzymes, muscle pain, and digestive upset. However, studies suggest certain side effects may be less likely to occur or be less severe with red yeast rice than with prescription statins, likely due to the natural combination of statins in red yeast rice as opposed to a single statin compound in prescription drugs. (Be aware that combining red yeast rice with prescription statin drugs increases the risk of side effects and should be avoided.)

It's important to keep in mind that ConsumerLab.com has found the amount of lovastatins in red yeast rice varies widely across products. Some also contain citrinin, a potential kidney toxin. This likely affects potency and the potential for side effects.

To get ConsumerLab's test results for red yeast rice supplements, as well as more details about side effects, potential drug interactions, and the best way to take red yeast rice, see the Red Yeast Rice Supplements Review >>

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4 Comments

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Matt18606
November 6, 2019

I took red yeast rice for a couple weeks to help with my hypertriglyceridemia (yet really low LDL @ ~80 and HDL @ ~30). My triglycerides were hovering around 1100 always, even after cutting out sugar, junk food and a lot of carbs..

I noticed almost immediately that I was suffering "amnesia" type symptoms reported when using other statins. Things that would come to me without thinking, I now had to stop and think about for a few seconds An example would be trying to remember the main passwords on my computers that I'm using several times a day. I think for many, stopping to think for a few seconds, is not that alarming or noticeable depending on what you do all day, but with my work, it was very noticeable.

I stopped taking the red yeast rice and the "symptom" went away. Unfortunately, I never got my lipids panel to see if it helped at all with the triglycerides, but it wasn't something I was prepared to continue taking, even if it was helping. It's not a side effect I could live with.

Susan17155
September 9, 2018

I have been taking Red Yeast Rice for over a year with no side effects. True I have to take two capsules twice a day but then again my Cholesterol went from 236 to 186 and my HDLs,
LDLs and Triglycerides are all within normal range. My Liver Function tests are also normal. Well worth taking this supplement.
Long ago I took a Statin and though it did work I felt I had brain fog. With RYR this does not occur.
I love love love ConsumerLab for many reasons-this is only one of them.

ConsumerLab.com
September 10, 2018

Hi Susan - Thank you for sharing your experience with red yeast rice, and for your kind words.

Adil16345
January 10, 2018

In terms of white flour's negative effect on cholesterol - how about sourdough bread, does that count as not being white flour? What about brown pasta?

Donald18608
November 7, 2019

The only certain way to determine how something affects you is to test it on yourself. I've compared the blood sugar effects of regular and whole wheat pasta and found no detectable difference. The fiber in the whole wheat probably did mitigate the rise in blood sugar, but not enough for me to detect it. My experiments on myself (I'm not diabetic) have convinced me that grains are bad news, whether whole or refined.

michelle16342
January 10, 2018

Best way to reduce cholesterol, is to reduce your intake of white flour, and added sugar. Try ti for 2 months--no white flour, no added sugars, and check your cholesterol level
Michelle Scott, MA, RD/RDN practicing dietitian and adjunct professor

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