Red yeast rice capsules reduce cholesterol LDL (low density lipoprotein) levels in statin intolerant patients without causing any adverse events such as muscle pain and weakness, revealed by researchers.
High levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol put people at risk for heart attack and stroke. Statins are considered the standard of care for lowering LDL cholesterol levels.
While generally well-tolerated, some patients cannot take statins due to adverse events such as muscle pain and weakness. Some studies have shown that red yeast rice pills can lower LDL cholesterol levels.
Researchers studied patients with statin-associated muscle pain to determine if red yeast rice supplementation could improve cholesterol levels without causing muscle pain.
Sixty-two patients with abnormal LDL cholesterol levels and a history of statin intolerance were randomly assigned to either 1800 mg a day of red yeast rice supplementation or placebo. Patients in both groups were enrolled in a therapeutic lifestyle change program that included weekly 3.5 hour meetings and education on cardiovascular disease, nutrition, exercise, and relaxation techniques.
The researchers checked LDL and total cholesterol levels in both groups at 12 and 24 weeks. They found that both cholesterol levels improved more in the red yeast rice group than in the placebo group. Pain, creatinine phosphokinase, and liver enzyme levels did not differ between the groups.
Source: American College of Physicians, USA