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Red Yeast Rice for Heart Health

In August 2013, researchers reported that red yeast rice supplementation does more than just lower cholesterol, it also positively impacts markers of vascular changes in the blood vessels.

Approximately 71 million American adults have elevated low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol. Individuals with elevated total cholesterol have double the risk of heart disease compared to individuals with optimal levels.

In this crossover, double-blind, placebo-controlled randomized clinical trial, 25 subjects with elevated cholesterol (but otherwise healthy) were evaluated. The researchers initially placed the subjects on a four-week stabilization diet. Next, the investigators assigned the subjects to receive 10 mg monacolin from red yeast rice or a placebo for four weeks.

After a period of no supplementation, the subjects received the opposite supplement from the initial treatment period for an additional four weeks.  The researchers monitored the subjects for levels of lipids, safety parameters, the inflammatory marker C-reactive protein (hs-CRP) and vascular changes via biomarkers.

The investigators found that the red yeast rice group showed a more favorable change in total cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, non-high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, the inflammatory marker and biomarkers. More specifically, the red yeast rice group showed a decrease of 12 percent in total cholesterol, 22 percent in LDL cholesterol, 15 percent in HDL cholesterol, 28 percent in biomarkers and 24 percent in the inflammatory marker.

The study authors stated, “On the basis of our data, we demonstrate that a 10-mg monacolin nutraceutical appears to safely reduce cholesterolemia, hs-CRP and markers of vascular remodeling in Italian subjects.”

Reference:

Cicero AF, et al. Nutr Res. 2013;8:622-8.

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