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Benefits of Red Rice

by Norma Chew

About Norma Chew

Norma Chew is a retired registered nurse who has been a freelance writer since 1978. Chew's articles have appeared in the "Journal of the Association of Operating Room Nurses" (AORN), "Point of View Magazine" and "Today's OR Nurse." Chew has a master's degree in health care administration from Nova Southeastern University.



Red rice, also called Chinese red yeast rice, is derived from yeast (Monascuu purpureus) grown on rice. According to MedlinePlus, monacolins in red yeast rice work to inhibit cholesterol formation. Monacolin K is a powerful component that inhibits HMG-CoA reductase, a group of prescription drugs used to lower cholesterol. Monocolin K is also called Lovastatin. Red rise may benefit people with high cholesterol, coronary artery disease or diabetes. Take herbal remedies under the advice and supervision of a professional health care provider.

Can Lower High Cholesterol

In 1970, human studies reported red rice's effect on lowering the blood levels of total cholesterol. The active ingredient in red rice is monacolin K. It is similar to lovastatin in the prescription drug cholesterol-lowering drug, Mevacor. According to EMedtv, the United States Food and Drug Administration has ruled that because lovastatin is a prescription drug, any red yeast rice supplement with a significant dosage of lovastatin is an unapproved drug and not a dietary supplement. Don't take red rice if you have liver disease, are pregnant, or are younger than 18. Side effects include gas, heartburn and dizziness.

Can Help Prevent Heart Disease

High levels of low-density lipoprotein or LDL in the blood cause plaque build up in the walls of the arteries. This narrows the size of the arteries and may block the coronary artery, causing a heart attack. Lowering LDL cholesterol levels lowers the risk of heart disease. A 2009 study conducted by David Becker and Ram Gordon, cardiologists at Chestnut Hill Hospital reported that LDL cholesterol levels decreased more in patients receiving red yeast rice than in patients receiving a placebo.

Can Lower Blood Glucose

Uncontrolled blood glucose levels in diabetic patients can wreak havoc on the eyes, kidneys and the cardiovascular system. Controlling blood sugar levels decreases these risks. In an animal study conducted at the Department of Food Science at the National Pingtung University of Science and Technology, Hon-Qi--a form of red yeast rice--was administered to induced-diabetic rats and to rats with normal blood glucose levels. This was an attempt to develop a new substitute for treating diabetes. The results suggest that oral administration of Hon-Qi may lower blood glucose in diabetic rats lacking insulin.

This article reflects the views of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the views of Jillian Michaels or JillianMichaels.com.