What Is Red Yeast Rice Extract? Business1 week ago - Other - Lady Frere - 3 views
Red yeast rice extract (RYRE) is a traditional Chinese medicine that has been purported to lower cholesterol. Several types of the extract are sold as supplements.
Red yeast rice may be appealing because it's "natural," but you need to be careful. Experts have not studied it extensively. The ideal dosing and its long-term safety are unclear. It could be dangerous for some people. And because the ingredients of different brands of red yeast rice extract might vary so much, it's hard to make firm statements about its effectiveness or safety.
What Is Red Yeast Rice Extract?
RYRE is a substance that's extracted from rice that's been fermented with a type of yeast called Monascus purpureus. It's been used in China and other Asian countries for centuries as a traditional medicine. It's also used as a food coloring, additive, and preservative.
RYRE naturally contains several ingredients that may help control cholesterol levels. These include a number of monacolins, most importantly monacolin K. It also contains sterols, isoflavones, and monounsaturated fatty acids, or "healthy fats."
Is Red Yeast Rice Extract a Drug or a Supplement?
Confusingly, the answer is both. One of the most important ingredients in RYRE is monacolin K. It's also known as lovastatin, the active ingredient in the prescription drug Mevacor.
So on one hand, the extract is a traditional remedy that helps lower cholesterol. On the other, the pharmaceutical manufacturer of Mevacor argues that it owns the rights to the ingredient lovastatin.
This confusion extends to how the supplement is sold in the U.S. Because red yeast rice extract contains a substance classified as a prescription drug, the FDA has requested that several RYRE products be withdrawn from the market because they contained monacolin K. The FDA cited a risk of severe muscle problems that could lead to kidney disease.
Despite the FDA's attempts, many people in the U.S. still manage to get similar red yeast rice extracts from other countries or on the Internet.