Red Yeast Rice: An Introduction NCCAM

Some red yeast rice products contain substantial amounts of monacolin K, which is chemically identical to the active ingredient in the cholesterol-lowering drug lovastatin. These products may lower blood cholesterol levels and can cause the same types of side effects and drug interactions as lovastatin.

Other red yeast rice products contain little or no monacolin K. It is not known whether these products have any effect on blood cholesterol levels.

Some red yeast rice products contain a contaminant called citrinin, which can cause kidney failure.  In a 2011 analysis of red yeast rice products sold as dietary supplements, 4 of 11 products were found to contain this contaminant.

via Red Yeast Rice: An Introduction | NCCAM.

Personally, I’m sticking with a statin.

Red Yeast Rice – Some Promising News

Red Yeast Rice to Treat Cholesterol Problems in Patients Who Cannot Tolerate Statin Therapy Because of Muscle Pain — 150 (12): I-28 — Annals of Internal Medicine

This is a very small study involving just 62 patients with elevated cholesterol levels.  The results however, are promising with an average decrease in LDL levels of 35mg/dl versus patients receiving a placebo.

Click here to read the Mayo Clinic article explaining Red Yeast Rice.