Cardiovascular Benefits of Red Yeast Rice

Cardiovascular Benefits of Red Yeast Rice
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Red yeast rice is a yeast product that is grown on rice. It contains many compounds, referred to as monacolins, that have a variety of health benefits. The cardiovascular benefits of red yeast rice are present due to the monacolins.

High Cholesterol Reduction

The most common of the cardiovascular benefits of red yeast rice is reducing high cholesterol in the blood. The yeast (Monascus purpureus) that causes the fermented rice to be red is said to be responsible for lowering blood-cholesterol levels through blocking the enzyme that is responsible for increasing the blood-cholesterol level. This same action is said to help lower triglyceride levels. It is said that consuming approximately 2.4 grams daily, for at least three months, can result in a reduction in triglyceride and bad cholesterol levels.

Cardiovascular Diseases

There are more than a dozen cardiovascular diseases, but the American Heart Association states that the four most common types are stroke, heart failure, coronary heart disease, and high blood pressure. One of red yeast rices’ active ingredients, monacolin K, could be beneficial in treating these conditions because it helps to prevent the liver from creating excess cholesterol. It is said that regularly consuming 13.5 daily for approximately two months can be helpful in treating cardiovascular diseases.


This cardiovascular condition occurs when plaque builds up in the arteries causing them to become narrowed. One of the active ingredients in red yeast rice, mevinolin, is said to be a powerful antioxidant capable of preventing bad cholesterol oxidation in the blood vessels. This can also help to prevent plaque from forming and building up in the arteries.

Blood Circulation

Natural Home Remedies states that red yeast rice is beneficial in improving blood circulation. Exactly how it helps improve blood circulation isn’t completely understood, nor is the dosage needed to do it. Because of this WebMD states more evidence is necessary to prove its effectiveness in improving blood circulation.

Possible Side Effects

As with all medicines, pharmacological and natural, side effects can occur. The side effects of red yeast rice include headache, muscle aches, muscle weakness, stomach ache, heartburn, bloating, gas, and dizziness.

Depletions and Interactions

Certain medications, natural medicines, and foods can interact or result in depletion when taking them in combination with red yeast rice. When taking a cholesterol-lowering medication in combination with red yeast rice the effects of the medication could be increased which increases the risk of liver damage. When taking this in combination with blood thinning medications there is an increased risk of bleeding.

If you consume grapefruit in combination with red yeast rice there is a risk of increasing how much of the drug is released into the body. Grapefruit can also increase the risk of liver damage and side effects.

Coenzyme Q10 can cause the amount of coenzyme Q10 in the body to be lower resulting in depletion. The side effects of depletion include muscle aches, muscle damage, muscle pain, and fatigue.

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WebMD. (2010). Red Yeast. Retrieved on March 27, 2010 from WebMD:

University of Maryland Medical Center. (2009). Red Yeast Rice. Retrieved on March 27, 2010 from the University of Maryland Medical Center:

Image Credits

Coronary Artery Lesion: Patrick J. Lynch – Wikimedia Commons