For Heart Support - Cholesterol/Circulation

 

Chicago Tribune

SUNDAY, APRIL 21, 2002

 

CHICAGOTRIBUNE                 SECTION 13              HEALTH & FAMILY     SUNDAY APRIL21,2002

 

ASK THE PHARMACIST

Red yeast rice fights cholesterol like a statin

 

 

By Suzy Cohen, R. Ph.

Tribune Media Services

Q  I came across red yeast rice in the health food store where they were advertising it as a means of lowering cholesterol.  What is the stuff and will it work like they say?

                C.C., Phoenix, AZ

A  Red Yeast rice is not a fancy vegetarian dish, and don’t let the word “yeast” fool you into thinking it’s some new type of bread, beer or infection.  Red yeast rice, native to China, is a fermentation byproduct of cooked rice onto which red yeast has been grown.  Until recently it was not known that red yeast rice helped to lower cholesterol.

     The natural substances in red yeast rice are chemically related to statins, those popular pharmaceuticals you hear about every day such as Lipitor, Mevacor and Zocor.  Like  these drugs, red yeast rice works by reducing your body’s production of it, rather than by attempting to squelch high levels of cholesterol after you’ve acquired them.

     It’s sort of like fighting weeds in your garden.  It’s a lot easier to prevent the growth of weeds than it is to pull them, one by one, after they’ve taken root.

     In recent years, a number of studies have found that red yeast rice consumption can reduce cholesterol by as much as 30 percent and triglycerides by 19 percent.  One such study, which was conducted at UCLA and its

findings published in the February 1999 issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, found that test subjects who received red yeast rice, after several months of treatment, had a significant reduction of triglycerides and LDL cholesterol.  Researchers observed mild side effects such as heartburn, gas and dizziness, but no changes in liver function.

    This is a big deal because synthetic drugs sometimes can damage the liver.  A similar study in China showed an even greater reduction of blood cholesterol among people taking the supplement for about two months.  This information was presented at the American Heart Association’s 39th annual conference back in 1999.  So red yeast rice could be worth all that advertising hoopla after all.

     Don’t, however, substitute or combine red yeast rice with other cholesterol busters unless supervised by your physician.  And be aware that red yeast rice may cause your stool to redden.  Fortunately, the effect is temporary and harmless.

     If you are unwilling or unable to tolerate traditional medicine, it’s just another option.

     This information is not intended to treat, cure or diagnose your condition.  Always consult your physician.  Suzy Cohen is a registered pharmacist.  For more information, visit www.dearpharmacist.com  You can write to her c/o Tribune Media Services, 435 N. Michigan, Suite 1400, Chicago, IL  60611

 

 

 

For more info on this and other excellent supplements, go to:

 www.betterthangreens.com

or call Tammy at 888-332-6343. 

Have a Healthy Day!

 

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