Red Rice Yeast: Is This Natural Supplement From China Really The Healthiest There Is?

Our medicine cabinet can be filled with exotic names (ashwagandha, usnea …) if we pay attention to all the fashions of healthy supplements with which we are bombarded daily. But it is not another all that glitters. Now it is the turn of a natural supplement that comes from traditional Chinese medicine directly to herbalists: red rice yeast. Among its properties, its defenders highlight that it has an almost miraculous effect against high cholesterol and also has anti-inflammatory properties. But what does the science say about red rice yeast?

What is red rice yeast and what is it for?

As its name suggests, red rice yeast is rice fermented and "invaded" by a yeast (that is, a fungus). Among the properties that are assumed is that of help control cholesterol and control inflammation, but there are also those who argue that it can improve insulin levels and even that it has anticancer compounds.

In the laboratory, red rice yeast has been shown to possess three elements that fight high cholesterol: monocoline K, plant sterols, and monounsaturated fatty acids. With this very promising combination In 2017, a review of 21 different studies was carried out that investigated whether this supplement was capable of influencing the cholesterol level… and the conclusion is that yes, it can, the problem is that each supplement sold contains a different amount of active ingredient and it would be very difficult to replicate the results of these studies with the preparations that are currently on the market.

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Who can and cannot take this supplement

A recent publication of a case treated by the Hospital Clinic de Barcelona serves to realize the risk of taking these supplements on our own. That case ended up in the hepatology consultation after having replaced their statin treatment with another with this supplement on their own He fell ill.

This supplement could not be consumed, therefore, by people who are not healthy … but if you are healthy you do not need to lower your cholesterol level. And even if they are healthy, pregnant or lactating women should not use it either. In addition, a list of side effects to its administration have been verified in the laboratory: that it is natural does not mean that it is harmless. Those effects include headaches, stomach upset, and liver toxicity.

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