Red yeast rice, the subject of criticism in the recent past due to concerns over quality and the pharmaceutical industry’s claim that it too closely resembled statin drugs, was the subject of a small clinical trial published in the June 16th issue of Annals of Internal Medicine.

In 2001, at a pharmaceutical company’s urging, the FDA pulled red yeast rice off the shelves because of the allegation of chemical similarity to prescription statins. The nutraceutical industry eventually won back the right to manufacture and distribute this product.

This recent study evaluated the effectiveness of red yeast rice as a natural LDL cholesterol-lowering agent. Sixty-two study participants all had the common experience of significant muscle pain and weakness when taking prescribed statin drugs intended to lower their cholesterol, resulting in their discontinued use of the medication.

Patients were divided into two treatment groups; one taking 1800 mg red yeast rice and the other a placebo, for 24 weeks total. All participants were also enrolled in a 12-week lifestyle change program designed to lower cholesterol levels. After 12 weeks, the group taking red yeast rice saw a 27% decline in LDL levels as compared to baseline at the beginning of the study and a significant decrease in total cholesterol. The placebo group experienced 6% drop in LDL levels.

NEEDS and Dr. Sherry Rodgers recommend Vitamin Research Products Red Yeast Extract as one of the confirmed high-quality products.

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