As someone who has high cholesterol, I’m always on the lookout for new information that might help me eliminate this risk factor for heart disease. I’m not exactly lazy but it certainly would be nice to come across a magic bullet that would help for those days when I can’t seem to eat quite right or manage to make that 30-minute workout happen.
I don’t know about you, but I personally dislike taking drugs unless it’s absolutely necessary so anytime I can find something natural with a potential to produce results, then I want to know more. My journey for information this week led me to an article about Red Rice Yeast and its benefits in lowering cholesterol. I’ve never heard of Red Rice Yeast so “Inquiring Mary” wanted to know more.
What Is Red Rice Yeast?
Red Rice Yeast is fermented from Monascus purpureus or red yeast, hence the name. It’s been used by the Chinese for centuries for multiple purposes including: food preservative, food coloring (Ever wondered why Peking Duck is red?), spice, and as an ingredient in rice wine. Chinese medicine also uses Red Rice Yeast to improve blood circulation and to relieve indigestion and diarrhea. More recently, researchers have been working with Red Rice Yeast on products to lower your blood lipids (cholesterol and triglycerides).
What are the Forms of Red Rice Yeast?
Red Rice Yeast comes in three different forms:
1. Zhitai – Produced by fermenting a mixture of several strains of Monascus purpureus and whole grain rice. It consists primarily of rice and yeast.
2. Cholestin or Hypocol – Produced by using a “proprietary” fermenting process (they are keeping this one a secret from us girls!) using “selected” strains of the Monascus purpureus yeast. This proprietary process, combined with the selected strains of Monascus purpureus produce Monacolin K. Monacolin K was first discovered in 1977 by Professor Endo from Japan. This is the ingredient that researchers believe is the cholesterol lowering mechanism. It is believed to inhibit HMG-CoA reductase, which is an enzyme necessary to produce cholesterol.