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The Ultimate Solutions to Heart Disease, Stroke and Alzheimers, part 2 -Red Yeast Rice

26th March 2007 by Arrow Durfee Posted in Uncategorized

How does Red Yeast Fermented Rice Extract Work?

Notes from the internet:
Red Yeast Fermented Rice Extract is known to work in two ways: it inhibits the action of HMG-CoA reductase, the enzyme that the liver uses to make cholesterol (the cholesterol produced by the liver accounts for about 80% of the cholesterol in the body, the other 20% is consumed in the foods we eat), and it has recently been discovered that it ramps the production of HDL lipoprotein(a). This helps stabilize arterial plaque. Since Monascus purpureus reduces production of CoQ10, you should take 60mg per day of CoQ10 to offset the loss whether you are using any statin drug or RYR. (please see comments area below for cautionary note)

Despite its effectiveness and safety track record as an Asian cuisine condiment, most manufacturers of Red Yeast Rice in the United States have discontinued its production due to the FDA classifying it as a drug. Instead, we are recommending new visitors and established customers to consider taking Niacin as an alternative since Niacin was the original treatment for high cholesterol. (see the chart on another page)

The above note is typical of those found at the other sites I previously bought from since the FDA classified it as a drug. This is why I had to find the China source. From the time I first found out that my heart arteries were plugging up fast, ( 3 in 9 months), I decided to do extensive research into stopping it.

My cardiologist said that the process was not reversible and placed me on some drugs to help prevent attacks. He also told me to lower my Triglicerides by diet and exercise. I had been taking Vitamins and herbs for years from several reputable firms whose product efficacy was confirmed by the consumer’s lab tests (which are available on the Internet showing the firms who passed.) By the way, I have found out that some blockage of arteries is reversible. Check out “Heal Your Heart” by Dr. Lance Gould and “Reversing Heart Disease” by Dr.Dean Ornish.

Internet Note:
Research showed that a group of statin drugs proved useful in lowering cholesterol; however they are toxic to the liver and expensive. For many years these drug researchers searched for a promising way to reduce cholesterol safely and effectively. Amazingly it was the research conducted on a spice used in the preparation of Peking duck that showed the most promise. This spice was shown to have a group of naturally occurring statins and appeared to partially block one of the enzymes required to manufacture cholesterol in the liver. The spice is called Red Yeast Rice and has been used by Asians for a spice and making rice wine for 1800 years. It costs about 25 to 38 cents depending source and if it is combined with other things.

NOTE: Some stores and some internet sites are still selling RYR but it is the condiment and is not standardized. This is the same that the Chinese restaurants buy in bulk. To standardize a product, a lot is selected for extraction of the active ingredient. This concentrated part is then blended back into the bulk product so that the strength can be controlled and it is labeled as standardized and sells for a higher price. Some of the folks who started on RYR have replaced it with the condiment because they see the label says 1230mg and don’t realize that this is the weight of powder in the capsule and has no relationship to the strength of the active ingredient and their Cholesterol goes up. They soon come back to the standardized version. I started out with a strength of 8mg and now buy 10mg. My wife and I take 2 in the AM and 2 in the PM. She stopped taking RYR last fall and her numbers went up. Her doctor asks her why and she said she wanted to see if it was the RYR keeping them down. She found out that it works for her.

Red Yeast Rice Research

Red Yeast Rice is a natural nutritional supplement that has been part of the Asian people’s diet for 1800 years. It has been proven to inhibit the key enzyme (HMG-CoA reductase) responsible for producing cholesterol in the liver. “Many people in Asia eat between 14 and 55 grams a day,” says Dr. David Herber M.D., Ph.D., director of UCLA’s Center for Human Nutrition. “They sprinkle it on tofu for breakfast.” “It really works,” says David Kritchevsky, Ph.D., cholesterol expert at the Wistar Institute at the University of Pennsylvania. (This is the powered condiment not the Standardized version). More than 20 studies have been conducted in China on the effects of Red Yeast on thousands of people. The studies show an average of 25% to 40% drop in cholesterol levels. Two studies have been conducted recently in the USA. The first was conducted by Dr. Heber at UCLA. Before completing his study, he anticipated that the benefits seen in his patients are clearly beyond what would be seen with exercise and diet alone.

The second study conducted at multiple centers through-out the United States was directed by Dr. James Rippe, M.D. associate professor of medicine at Tufts University School of Medicine in Boston . The recommended dosage of Red Yeast Rice is two 8 mg caps twice a day. A month’s supply costs about $25.
Recommend that you search the internet for latest research on these treatments!

For What, and How is Red Yeast Fermented Rice Extract Used?
Simply: to lower cholesterol and dangerous low-density lipoproteins, lovastatin is prescribed at the level of 20-80mg/day. As a dietary supplement, Red Yeast Fermented Rice Extract is typically taken at much lower amounts – in the range of about 2.5-10mg of Lovastatin 2 to 4 times a day.

Is Red Yeast Fermented Rice Extract Safe?

This is a drug. Some people are inclined to think that “over-the-counter” means “safe”; this is a bad assumption and can be a dangerous one, too. You should discuss taking Red Yeast Fermented Rice Extract with your physician. There is a risk of liver damage and also of rhabdomyolysis, a condition that includes muscle deterioration. People taking this or any statin drug should have a baseline liver enzyme check and have their liver enzymes checked periodically thereafter. Both risks are small (about 2%) but present. Red Yeast Fermented Rice Extract should not be combined with any other cholesterol or lipid-lowering drugs. DO NOT TAKE WITH GRAPEFRUIT JUICE. Grapefruit juice can cause a buildup of lovastatin in your body, which can be dangerous. Also, though small amounts are beneficial in reducing cholesterol levels, Red Yeast Fermented Rice
My Note: My research on the above statement found that Statin drugs require the action of two liver enzymes to restrict the production of cholesterol. This was found to be the cause of lowering these enzymes and causing liver damage with some people. The Red Yeast Rice; however does not require the action of these two enzymes to work. Thus, no reaction from the liver.

Dr. Douglas Campbell speaks out:
How the FDA is playing “hired gun” for the drug biz…By banning a natural cholesterol-lowering secret that’s better than statin drugs
The drug giants knew they’d be in trouble if word got out about red yeast rice… Not only did studies show that this ancient Asian edible slashed cholesterol an average of 40 points in just 3 months, it did so without any side effects whatsoever.
So what did those fat-cat drug executives do? They went to court-then called their cronies at the FDA…Their “grounds” for suing? Red yeast rice extract contains a natu¬ral form of Lovastatin, the same active ingredient found in patent¬ed Mevacor, one of the major cho¬lesterol drugs…

The first time the drug compa¬nies took red yeast rice makers to court, however, the judge quite rightly threw the case out. But after appealing the case on the grounds that the FDA hadn’t officially rati¬fied their natural competition’s cholesterol-control claims, they got their verdict…

And with one stroke of the gavel, companies offering safe, nat¬ural un-patent-able red yeast rice extract for managing cholesterol suddenly found themselves in viola¬tion of Federal law simply for claim¬ing the truth: That red yeast rice lowers cholesterol using the exact same substance prescription drug makers have patented and marked ¬up a thousand percent or more… When the decision was hand¬ed down, they quickly banned the best known, most proven source of cholesterol-lowering red yeast rice extract- before its makers could regroup and file an appeal or suit of their own. So now unless you already know that red yeast rice is proven to safely slash LDL levels, you may end up-like so many millions of other Americans-enduring the risks, expense and side effects of statin drugs for cholesterol control. Which begs the question…How different would today’s medicine be if natural cures were widely known, promoted, and available to all?
From a scientific standpoint, we’ve only been using patented medications to treat illness and dis¬ease for a relatively short time. Yet humankind has practiced medicine for thousands of years in every corner of the globe. Is it so unbeliev¬able to think that during that vast stretch of time, no one ever learned anything of value about how to pre¬vent, treat, and cure disease?

Of course it isn’t. In fact, yes¬terday’s doctors were on the right track-they knew that the cure for every imaginable disease must exist someplace in the natural world… The truth is, countless num¬bers of the world’s greatest healers were discovered and used ages before there was ever such thing as a patent-or an FDA. These cures are just as effective in this day and age-and would be curing people by the million if there’d been as much study, promotion and expo¬sure behind them as there have been for risky prescription drugs.

But are these safe, powerful miracles like red yeast rice and hundreds of other household names prescribed today? No. Things like Mevacor, Prempro, Zoloft, Claritin, and Prilosec are.

Statins: True wonder Drugs?
Dr. Pakauras

Approximately 8 million Americans take one of five statin medications to lower blood levels of low density lipo¬protein (LDL, or «bad”) cholesterol in an effort to decrease their risk of hav¬ing a heart attack. It now appears that people on statin therapy may be reap¬ing some additional, unanticipated health benefits. A recent study has con¬firmed that statins may help to prevent the most common type of stroke¬ischemic stroke produced by a blood clot in an artery already narrowed by atherosclerotic plaque. Now comes news, mostly from population studies that require corroboration, that statins may also protect against three other major scourges: Alzheimer’s disease, osteoporosis, and diabetes.
Especially intriguing is the sug¬gestion that statins may be beneficial through mechanisms other than, or in addition to, their cholesterol-lowering effect. These additional benefits could be important because at least half of all heart attacks occur in people with cho¬lesterol levels within the normal range.

Update on Cholesterol and Red Yeast Rice

If you’ve been waiting for solid scientific evidence before trying red yeast rice extract (original brand name, Cholestin) to lower your cholesterol, there’s good news and bad news, as doctors like to say. The good news first. A rigorous trial from the UCLA School of Medicine, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition in 1999, confirmed that a supplement known as red yeast extract reduces cholesterol levels by an average of 40 points in 12 weeks when combined with a low-fat diet. That’s about the same result you’d expect from a low dose of the popular cholesterol drug like Mevacor.

Red yeast extract contains a number of cholesterol-lowering compounds known as statins, among them lovastatin, the same active ingredient that’s in Mevacor. Other red yeast compounds are similar to those in other cholesterol medications, such as Lipitor (atorvastatin) and Zocor (simvastatin). Which brings us to the bad news. Because red yeast extract contains lovastatin, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has successfully banned red yeast rice from open store shelves, arguing that it’s really a drug, needing a doctor’s prescription. Therefore, red yeast rice can no longer be sold as an unregulated supplement. Should it return to the market, it will require full FDA oversight, as do all other prescription drugs. The product sold in the USA today is not standardized.

The original distributor of red yeast rice, NuSkin International, recalled Cholestin, their brand containing the red yeast rice, and reformulated it, replacing red yeast rice with policosanol, which also has a cholesterol-lowering effect. Policosanol, a substance derived from sugar cane, rice or beeswax, has undergone considerable clinical testing. Like red yeast rice, policosanol acts on the liver to reduce cholesterol production. However, it is a unique molecule, and sufficiently different from the “statins” that it’s likelihood of being reclassified as a drug is remote.
In addition, because of the FDA action, all other manufacturers stopped using red yeast rice, so any supplements containing this effective substance have disappeared. Some people have been able to locate supplies of red yeast rice on the Internet; but they are the condiment not the standardized. You would have to take 12 to 14 to get the level of active ingredient contained in one standardized. It is possible that red yeast rice may return some day, but it will require a doctor’s prescription. But for now, this very effective natural product is history.

Who Might Benefit

For people with high cholesterol (240 mg/dl or above), the choice among conventional physicians is usually to prescribe one of the statin drugs. “It’s particularly important to talk to your doctor about drugs if you have very high cholesterol or heart disease,” advises Michael Cirigliano, M.D., associate professor of medicine at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. Not only do these drugs quickly and effectively lower cholesterol levels, but studies show that they directly lead to a reduced risk of heart attack. They also tend not to be safe, because there is a significant risk of serious side effects, such as liver problems or severe muscle deterioration. For those with borderline cholesterol (200 to 239 mg/dl), the decision is trickier. A five¬ year study showed that statin drugs cut the risk of heart disease in this group, too. But some experts believe that natural supplements can offer similar benefits, with fewer adverse side effects. However, long-term studies are lacking. Several trials in China have shown that red yeast products have no toxic effects, and in the UCLA study, the liver tests of people taking the supplement remained normal. A five-year study of the safety of red yeast extract is underway. Cost may be a deciding factor as well. A month’s supply of Lovastatin runs about $100, compared with $25 for red yeast extract.

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3 Responses to “The Ultimate Solutions to Heart Disease, Stroke and Alzheimers, part 2 -Red Yeast Rice”

  1. Arrow Durfee Says:

    Author: Dick Washburn: e-mail: Feel free to contact him with questions.

  2. Arrow Durfee Says:

    A cautionary note. Red Rice Yeast is very similar to statin drugs and may cause some of the same side effects but is still preferred over statin drugs. Use with caution and for a limited time until other alternative means are incorporated.

  3. Janine Says:

    thanks for this post. This will be very helpful and to arrowwind, thanks for the email =)