Red Yeast Rice Supplement Review

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Red Yeast Rice
  Evaluated for:
Effectiveness Rating Effectiveness Rating
Lowering total and LDL cholesterol
+3 (Strong Evidence)


  • Red yeast rice is a “natural statin” that lowers total and LDL cholesterol by about 20% and 25%, respectively.
  • When combined with high quality fish oils and lifestyle changes, red yeast rice may lower LDL cholesterol by as much as 45%.
  • A large study in China of people who had already had a previous heart attack showed a significant reduction in repeat complications. LDL cholesterol was lowered by about 20% in that population.
  • Red yeast rice also contains plant sterols, which lowers cholesterol further.


  • Many red yeast rice products contain citrinin, a toxin that causes kidney damage. Consumers must avoid products containing any amount of citrinin.
  • The concentration of lovastatin, the active ingredient in red yeast rice, is variable among brands, meaning that cholesterol lowering effects may vary. Lovastatin is currently available by prescription. The prescription will have a standard amount of the drug and will also be without concerns of possible citrinin contamination.
  • There is no evidence of fewer side effects from red yeast rice than from prescribed statins.
  • Red yeast rice can be considerably more costly than prescribed generic statins, and it will not be covered by most insurance plans.

Red yeast rice has the same side effects, interactions, and precautions as prescribed statins. If you take red yeast rice, you must work with your medical provider to monitor the potential side effects and cholesterol lowering effects.

DOSAGE:The dosage of red yeast rice depends on the manufacturer’s method of preparation. We recommend following the instructions on the label.

CONCLUSION:We conclude that red yeast rice is a safe and effective product for lowering total and LDL cholesterol. Although red yeast rice does lower cholesterol, there are no documented advantages to its use over prescribed statins. Our team therefore recommends prescribed statins over red yeast rice due to cost, side effects, ingredient consistency, and concerns of citrinin toxicity. If you use it, select a product that is high in lovastatin and documented to be citrinin-free and remember to include it in your list of medications when you visit your doctor and other health care providers.

“Red Yeast Rice.” LLC, 2013. 25 May 2013.
“Red Yeast Rice.” Natural Standard –The Authority on Integrative Medicine. Natural Standard, 2013.
“Red Yeast.” Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database. Therapeutic Research Faculty, 2013. 8 November 2013.
Halbert, S. et al. Tolerability of Red Yeast Rice (2,400 mg Twice Daily) Versus Pravastatin (20 mg Twice Daily) in Patients With Previous Statin Intolerance. The American Journal of Cardiology (2010) 105:198-204

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