Red Yeast Rice Fights High Cholesterol Level
Jan 25, 2022
Cholesterol is a natural component in human blood and it supports many functions within the body. We get some cholesterol from our foods such as meat, internal organs, and seafood, but most of them are produced in the liver. Anyone can have high cholesterol levels, even if they look slim, eat well, and physically active. The prevalence of high cholesterol levels among Malaysian is 38.1% ¹. So, are you one of them?
High cholesterol usually comes with no signs and symptoms, that is why it is crucial to get your cholesterol level checked at least every five years. Cholesterol level is affected by family history, age, and lifestyle. You are more at risk of having unhealthy cholesterol levels if your diet is high in fat (especially saturated fat and trans-fat), smoking, high alcohol intake, being overweight, and low physical activity. High cholesterol level can increase the risk for heart attack, heart disease, and stroke.
Ways to Improve your Cholesterol Level
You can keep your cholesterol level in check by gradually adapting to a healthy lifestyle. Here are 5 ways how you can improve your cholesterol level:
1. Eat a variety of healthy foods such as fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.
2. Limit high-fat foods especially saturated fat and trans-fat such as processed meat, cakes, and chocolates.
3. Staying active physically. Get at least 150 minutes of exercise weekly!
4. Maintain healthy body weight.
5. Stop smoking.
Apart from that, red yeast rice is a natural alternative to reduce your cholesterol level. Red yeast rice is produced from fermented rice containing mold or yeast known as Monascus purpureus. The active substance of red yeast rice is monacolin K, which is known to inhibit cholesterol synthesis by blocking an enzyme that is responsible for cholesterol production in the liver². Red yeast rice has a similar effect to statin medication, but it is a more natural way to reduce cholesterol levels with lesser side effects.
The consumption of red yeast rice can lower the low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol between 15-25% within 6-8 weeks, accompanied by a similar reduction in total cholesterol level³. Besides that, lifestyle changes in combination with the consumption of red yeast rice and fish oil may help to reduce LDL cholesterol levels similar to standard therapy with statin medication⁴. So, if you have high cholesterol levels and prefer a more natural way, red yeast rice can be a good alternative for you.
- Institute for Public Health (IPH), National Institutes of Health, Ministry of Health Malaysia. (2020). National Health and Morbidity Survey (NHMS) 2019: Vol. I: NCDs–Non-Communicable Diseases: Risk Factors and Other Health Problems.
- M, Brucket. E, Descamps. O, Ellegard. L, Ezhov. M, Foger. B, et al. (2019). The role of red yeast rice (RYR) supplementation in plasma cholesterol control: A review and expert opinion. Atherosclerosis Supplements. 39: e1-e8.
- Cicero, A., Fogacci, F., & Banach, M. (2019). Red Yeast Rice for Hypercholesterolemia. Methodist DeBakey cardiovascular journal, 15(3), 192–199.
- Becker, D.J. et al. 2008. Simvastatin vs therapeutic lifestyle changes and supplements: randomized primary prevention trial. Mayo. Clin. Proc, 83(7): 758-64.