What Should You Know About Red Yeast Rice Extract?

Apr 08, 2022

Red yeast rice extract is a product that's extracted from rice that's been fermented with a type of yeast called Monascus purpureus. It is one of the traditional Chinese herbal medicines with a history of more than a thousand years.

Red yeast rice extract

What’s the function of red yeast rice extract?

It contains active ingredients known as monacolins, most importantly monacolin K. Monacolin K has the same makeup as the drug lovastatin which is used to help reduce the risk of heart disease. This means that red yeast rice extract is rich in natural statins and has similar effects in controlling cholesterol levels with chemically synthesized lovastatin.


How does red yeast rice extract and lovastatin protect heart?

Cholesterol is a waxy substance in the blood that helps keep LDL (bad cholesterol) out of the body by transporting good cholesterol, or HDL (high-density lipoprotein), from the arteries to the liver. Bad cholesterol, or low-density lipoprotein (LDL), can get into your arteries and block their walls. When your bad cholesterol levels are high, waxy substances can build up in your arteries, preventing blood from reaching vital organs, which can increase your risk of heart disease. Red yeast rice extract and lovastatin can reduce LDL levels and increase HDL levels in the blood, thereby reducing the risk of heart disease. However, red yeast rice extract is more widely used globally than lovastatin.

Red yeast rice extract function

Why is red yeast rice extract more popular than lovastatin?

Firstly, red yeast rice extract is a mixture. In addition to Monacolin K, it also contains intermediates in the biosynthesis of Monacolin K, such as Monacolin L, Monacolin J and so on. It also contains other substances, such as starch, cellulose, monascus pigment, gamma-aminobutyric acid, ergosterol, monascus polysaccharide, etc. Its efficacy is the result of the combined action of a variety of substances. But lovastatin is a pure chemical that is far less effective than red yeast rice extract.

Secondly, compared with the green, natural and healthy extract, chemically synthesized lovastatin is not suitable for long-term use due to their side effects on the liver and kidneys. 

red yeast rice extract and lovastatin

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