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Red Rice Yeast
mainstay of Chinese medicine since ancient times
now available OTC as supplement for lowering cholesterol
promoted as alternative to statins
docs may recommend it when someone can't tolerate statins dt muscle pain
derived from a fungus that grows on rice
eaten as a dietary staple some places in Asia
BUT: RYR is a statin drug too w/ same SEs

study #1: n=62 with high chol, half given RYR 2xdaily x6mo, placebo for other half
people taking RYR also met weekly x3mo and learned about nutrit, exercise, stress mngmnt
seems like this education biases the study as you can't tell which part made the changes
results: LDL down by average 35mg/dL in RYR group, 15mg/dL in placebo group
total chol lowered more in RYR group
study #2: n=5,000 who've had MIs found
those taking RYR for 5 years lowered "risk of repeat" heart attack by 45%
also lowered odds of having bypass or angioplasty, mb also CA risk by up to 2/3

monacolins incl moncolin K aka mevinolin or lovastatin
lovastatin was 1st statin approved by FDA (brand names of Mevacor and Altocor)

deplete Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) (needed for heart and muscle manufacture of ATP)
heart needs most CoQ10
SX: fatigue, muscle weakness, soreness (rhabdomyolysis), heart failure (CHF)
statins activate the gene atrogin-1 gene-->muscle atrophy, breakdown-->kidney failure
incr risk of polyneuropathy
dizziness, cognitive impairment, memory loss
incr CA risk, decr immune fx
elevated liver enzymes
possibly incr risk of Lou Gehrig's dz

it's integral to cell membranes, hormones, vitamin D and bile acids
helps in the formation of memories
vital for your neurological function
lowering cholesterol too much increases one's risk of dying
precursor to steroid hormones: es, test, cortisone, etc
liver recycles cholesterol into bile
high chol = "invented dz"
high inflam-->high chol
chol used for healing, repair
no evidence that getting LDL to 100 or lover is good for you but AHA recommends it

too low under 150
optimum may be 200 which is currently the upper limit of the OK range
over 330 too high (Mercola)
common medical knowledge is we should keep total under 200mg/dL
Dutch men w/ chronically low chol-->depressed
chol involved in serotonin metabolism
Canadians lowest quartile chol have 6x risk of suicide relative to highest quartile
low chol levels-->low serotonin-->violent behavior, aggression
n=41,000 meta-analysis: statins-->low chol-->more CA
low chol-->Parkinson's dz
ratio of HDL to total is good indicator of chol metabolism: should be over 25%, more is better
15-20% high risk, under 10% very high risk of heart dz
ratio of TGs/HDL should be under 2

make sure you want to
don't worry so much about dietary chol: most is made by liver, provoked by insulin
to lower chol: optimize insulin
optimize insulin by:
eat low glycemic diet: eliminate grains and sugars from diet, add raw foods
eat omega 3 fats, best is animal based: fish oil, krill oil
eat other good fats: olive, coconut oils, raw dairy products, avods, nuts, seeds, eggs w/ raw yolk, grass fed organic meat
avoid smoking and excessive alcohol
manage stress

[1] Annals of Internal Medicine 2009 Jun 16;150(12):830-9, W147-9.
[2] American Journal of Cardiology 2008 Jun 15;101(12):1689-93.
[3] MayoClinic.com "Red Yeast Rice (Monascus Purpureus)" (Accessed July 2, 2009)
[4] The Journal of Clinical Investigation December 2007; 117(12):3940-51
[5] Mercola.com Sudden Memory Loss Linked to Cholesterol Drugs (Accessed July 2, 2009)
[6] Nature Medicine September, 2000;6:965-966, 1004-1010.
[7] Nature Medicine, December, 2000; 6: 1311-1312, 1399-1402
[8] Edwards, I. Ralph; Star, Kristina; Kiuru, Anne, "Statins, Neuromuscular Degenerative Disease and an Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis-Like Syndrome," Drug Safety, Volume 30, Number 6, 2007, pp. 515-525(11)
[9] Mercola.com, Cholesterol is NOT the Cause of Heart Disease, Ron Rosedale May 28, 2005 (Accessed July 3, 2009)
[10] Fallon, S. and Mary Enig. "Dangers of Statin Drugs: What You Haven’t Been Told About Popular Cholesterol-Lowering Medicines," The Weston A. Price Foundation (Accessed July 3, 2009)
[11] American Heart Association, "What Your Cholesterol Level Means," accessed May 22, 2008 (Accessed July 3, 2009)
[12] Psychosomatic Medicine 2000;62.
[13] Epidemiology 2001 Mar;12:168-72
[14] Annals of Internal Medicine (1998;128(6):478-487), The Journal of the American Medical Association (1997;278:313-321)
[15] Journal of the American College of Cardiology July 31, 2007; 50:409-418


( 11 comments — Leave a comment )
Sep. 13th, 2009 10:39 pm (UTC)
a friend of mine recommended the red rice yeast and I have been very grateful.
Sep. 14th, 2009 01:41 am (UTC)
Would you tell more about your experience? How high was your cholesterol? Why did you choose RYR over statins? What have the effects been? Are you still using it?
Sep. 14th, 2009 03:22 pm (UTC)
My doctor's office freaked out - but didn't really tell me anything more than the whole number. I can't remember it now, but it was high. Does 290 sound too high? I have no idea really. They were freaking out - to the point that i thought it was fairly unprofessional. Being a bad patient - I did not go in. That was last October/November. I was just starting a new exercise program. And I felt (totally subjective) they were going to demand that I go on some medication. I wanted to see what a year of exercise and changes in my habits would do. My friend's doc. told her about RYR. And I tried. to be honest - I felt a lightness in my chest. So I used it pretty regularly but not perfectly for 6 months. I bought two jars & that's how long it lasted. I plan on getting my cholesterol re-tested when I go in for my annual in Oct/Nov. And I want the break out - low & high. They wouldn't give that over the phone... I should have more info late October or early November.
Sep. 15th, 2009 03:05 am (UTC)
Goodness gracious I'm sorry the doc & staff were so freaky. It would be good to have some numbers, though. There are some people with "inborn errors of metabolism" whose cholesterol is too high to be treated with diet and exercise. Those people pretty much have to be on a statin or RYR. That group is less than 1% of high cholesterol alerts. You need to know if you are in that group, that's what the numbers are good for. If you remember, let me know your numbers when you get them. If 290 is the bad number, then I'm not worried about you at all! New exercise program could lower chol at that level just fine. RYR will help, but might not be necessary depending on your ability to sustain exercise and adjust your diet gradually toward good fats.
Sep. 15th, 2009 09:06 am (UTC)
found it - the number was 225
Sep. 15th, 2009 02:16 pm (UTC)
And that 225 was before you began using the RYR? Because 225 isn't even very high at all, in fact to some doctors it is a fairly normal number. Did you get your C-reactive protein checked? And are you supplementing your CoQ10?
Sep. 15th, 2009 02:18 pm (UTC)
I'm wondering harder about the doc's office freaking. Maybe it was something else about your blood that was disturbing to them. You need to get another opinion on your blood work! And not just that of some random anonymous person on the internet. Though I am certainly interested, if you are willing to share. I'm just a student, you know. =-]
Sep. 15th, 2009 02:58 pm (UTC)
I know. I won't take this as true medical advice. Just general conversation on the topic. The message was 225 was dangerously high. Their tone was complete panic. I really felt that if I went in they would lecture me to go on a medication. I realize that not doing anything was a serve reaction. But sometimes, I really think they suck at people relations and listening. I did not get my C-reactive protein checked. Didn't even know that was something to ask for. And I didn't know about CoQ10. Like I said - I have annual to schedule. And now, I have questions. I just don't like walking into a doctor's office when they have one solution.

With a different doctor, I told her I think that I have asthma. She said - no, it's anxiety. We went back and forth. She said - fine, I'm going to give you the test for asthma just to prove you don't have it.... Test said that I did. I went on an inhaler for 3 years. I hated it. I became addicted to the inhaler. Without it - things got worse. I didn't intentionally find yoga - but yoga helped me with the asthma. I haven't had an attack and haven't used an inhaler in 3 years.

I'm not an easy patient. Mostly - I think they don't listen. That's my biggest compliant. It takes a lot to navigate the system.

Sep. 15th, 2009 07:52 pm (UTC)
Yep. Your experience sounds very familiar. I am going into naturopathy because I'm tired of docs not listening and trying to make me take meds without even really knowing what is going on with me. I'm glad that you found yoga. It has helped me in many ways. I hope you find someone who can help you in person to be as healthy as you can be!!
Sep. 15th, 2009 08:05 pm (UTC)
I think it's also about what feeds what. We are presented with seemingly silver bullets - take this medication. Changes in diet and exercise require that I take on a level of responsibility. I can imagine not having the faith that a patient would be willing to make changes. I haven't made many changes to my diet. But I did make some major changes to my work out routine in both quantity and intensity. Part of listening would be to have that conversation with the patient. The silver bullet suggests to me that neither party is truly responsible for my health. Medication feels to me to be subscribed without much of a conversation. Thanks for your warm wishes.
Sep. 15th, 2009 08:20 pm (UTC)
I agree completely. The problem lies in everyone's attempts to avoid responsibility. Truth is, we are most responsible for ourselves, and doctors bear responsibility for their actions and omissions as well. I think that just about everyone becomes willing to adjust their lifestyle including food choices, once they understand how essential they are to vitality and longevity. The education process, and the individual's process of becoming ready to change, are slow things, not easily done in a 5 minute office visit.
( 11 comments — Leave a comment )



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