Red Yeast Rice may help prevent colon cancer

November 20, 2007

Epidemiological studies show that patients taking statin drugs to lower their cholesterol have a reduced risk of colon cancer. In the present study lovastatin, one of the cholesterol lowering drugs, decreased the creation of new colon cancer cells and caused the cells to die. When lovastatin inhibits the creation of cholesterol it does this by preventing the changing of a fat in our liver known as mevalonate from being changed into cholesterol. Adding mevalonate to the cancer cells inhibited lovastatins' cancer fighting ability.

The scientists from the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA note that Red Yeast Rice also inhibits cholesterol synthesis and may impact colon cancer risk. Red Yeast Rice contains many ingredients including pigments and monacolins. One of these, Monacolin K, is identical to lovastatin. When Red Yeast Rice was added to human colon cancer cells it also inhibited the growth and replication of the tumor cells and also improved the death rate of the cancer cells. However, adding mevalonate to the cancer cells did not inhibit the cancer fighting activity of the Red Yeast Rice the way it inhibited the colon cancer fighting ability of the statin drug. If the Red Yeast Rice was rich in pigments or it was rich in monacolins; both inhibited the growth of colon cancer. Red Yeast Rice has more ingredients that inhibit colon cancer than a single statin has. The study is published in the September 12th, 2007 issue of the Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry.