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Red Yeast Rice & Liver Damage

Question:
My doctor warned me that red yeast rice can cause liver damage - is that true?

Answer:
Red yeast rice naturally contains lovastatin, the same key ingredient found in the cholesterol-lowering "statin" drug Mevacor. Increases in liver enzymes and rare cases of liver injury are associated with lovastatin, and the same is true with red yeast rice. Red yeast rice supplements also have the potential to be contaminated with a toxin which may be damaging to the liver and kidneys, which is why ConsumerLab.com tests products for this toxin. For more details, see the "Concerns and Cautions" section of the Red Yeast Rice Supplements Review >>

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Learn More About Red Yeast Rice



When taking a statin drug like Lipitor or Crestor, are there supplements I should avoid, or be taking? >>

Is there a risk of liver toxicity with certain supplements? >>

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

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



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Comments
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Lynn8655   April 25, 2016
I tried Red Yeast Rice and it dramatically lowered overall cholesterol (50 points) but not LDLs. I did not realize that any form of Statin blocks the circulation of the brown muscles that are found in the legs. I realized very late that the extreme leg cramps were due to Red Yeast Rise (also artichoke, which was worse). By the time I stopped, the muscles in my legs were very weakened. I am still exercising my legs and taking acupuncture to improve my weakened leg muscles. Yet, I have friends to take this with no symptoms.

Marsha8649   April 20, 2016
I've been taking Nature's Plus - Red Yeast Rice Extended Release extract, it's one that was approved by Consumerlab and it works just like a statin pharmacetical. And you only take one 600mg tablet in the evening. And it's very consistent too. I first started with NOW red yeast product and it wasn't consisitent, my cholestrol blood labs would vary. But, I've been very happy with the Nature's Plus product.

George8648   April 20, 2016
I started using HPF Cholestene (approximately 3 months prior to scheduled doctors appointment) after the review by Consumer Labs. I was using a previous product and my cholesterol did not decrease. I suspect no active ingredient. I use the recommended dosage of three capsules per day in the evening with dinner. LDL dropped from high 90's/low 100's to 66. Overall cholesterol is 145 with a HDl of 57 and very low triglycerides ( 1gm niacin/daily). Labs all good. No impairment in liver or kidney function.

Bill8651   April 21, 2016
Total Cholesterol of 145 is too low!!! Really. We need cholesterol as a building block for many hormones and other functions in our body including cell wall structure. TC levels below 150-160 have been correlated with increased suicide, car accidents, and all cause mortality.

Bill Caradonna, R.Ph., N.D.

Christel11258   September 7, 2016
What is the "normal" for cholesterol?

ConsumerLab.com   September 8, 2016
Hi Christel - According to the NIH, a total cholesterol of less than 200 mg/dL and an LDL cholesterol of less than 100 mg/dL is best. You can find the complete NIH reference ranges for total, LDL and HDL cholesterol here: https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/resources/heart/heart-cholesterol-hbc-what-html

Barbara8646   April 20, 2016
I take Cholestene, which is the only brand I found that works for me off and on for more than 10 years...have had no problems with it and my liver function studies have been fine. It really does the job...lowered my Cholesterol from 242 to 180 in a short period of time. I only take 2 capsules in the morning and don't take it on weekends...still it works...and I don't take is every month...If my cholesterol goes up I'll add it back to my supplement regimen....

This CL Answer initially posted on 4/20/2016. Last updated 8/2/2017.

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