Individuals who suffer with muscle pain fromstatin drugs can safely use Red Yeast Rice to lower their cholesterol

June 24, 2009

In this new study researchers at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine randomized 62 patients with elevated LDL-cholesterol and statin intolerance (due to muscle pain) to receive 3 capsules containing 600 milligrams Red Yeast Rice or a placebo twice daily for 24 weeks. Participants were additionally provided with weekly educational meetings over a 12 week period on the subjects of cardiovascular disease, nutrition, exercise and relaxation techniques. Total, HDL and LDL cholesterol and other blood values were measured at the beginning of the study, at 12 weeks, and at the study’s conclusion.

By week 12, LDL cholesterol had decreased by 43 mg/dL in the group that received Red Yeast Rice and by 11 mg/dL in the placebo group. The researchers also report that Red Yeast Rice lowers low density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol but does not cause the muscle pain (myalgia) associated with statins, the number one drug treatment for high LDL-cholesterol.

At the end of the 24 week treatment period, LDL cholesterol was 35 mg/dL lower than values measured at the beginning of the study in the Red Yeast Rice group, and 15 mg/dL lower in the placebo group. Total cholesterol was also lower at both time points for those that received red yeast rice.

“To our knowledge, ours is the first randomized, double-blinded, placebo-controlled trial to evaluate Red Yeast Rice in patients with a history of statin-associated myalgias,” the authors announce. “Red Yeast Rice significantly decreased LDL and total cholesterol levels compared with placebo and did not increase the incidence of myalgias over a 24-week period. The regimen of Red Yeast Rice and therapeutic lifestyle change may offer a lipid lowering option for patients with a history of intolerance to statin therapy.” The study appears in the June 16 issue of the journal Annals of Internal Medicine.