Red yeast rice has been used for hundreds of years for its powerful medicinal properties. Yet, it is new to most people as it has only reached store shelves in the last few decades. 

The benefits of red yeast rice come from the active ingredients that are almost identical to those found in healing medications. The difference being red yeast rice is completely natural, so it can benefit your health without the risk of serious side effects.

What Is Red Yeast Rice?

Red yeast rice is fermented rice that is made with a specific mold. The active ingredient that provides its healing properties is monacolin K. This is the same compound you can find in prescribed cholesterol-lowering medication. Red yeast rice is a natural alternative and more cost-effective when it comes to supporting heart health. 

One of the main benefits that red yeast rice provides is the ability to fight inflammation. Inflammation is a natural immune response designed to protect your body from foreign pathogens. However, chronic inflammation can be dangerous and is linked to serious health conditions like diabetes, heart disease, Alzheimer’s disease, and several types of cancer. 

Studies have shown that red yeast rice supplements can reduce inflammation when taken regularly over a period of time. When taking red yeast rice supplements, inflammatory markers, and oxidative damage were both reduced by up to 20 percent. 

Reduced inflammation through the body not only protects tissues and organs from damage, but it can also protect against the development of serious health conditions. Along with these anti-inflammatory benefits, red yeast rice supports your health in several specific ways.

Red Yeast Rice for Your Heart

Heart disease is the leading cause of premature death in the United States, and it affects millions around the world. The risks for heart disease include a poor diet, sedentary lifestyle, smoking, and metabolic syndrome. 

Metabolic syndrome is the term for a collection of conditions that increase the risk of cardiovascular disease. These conditions include high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and high blood glucose levels. 

High cholesterol can collect as fatty deposits in the arteries and cause blockages. Not only is circulation obstructed, but the artery walls can become narrow and stiff. This significantly increases your risk of a heart attack or stroke. 

The main active ingredient in red yeast rice is the same as that found in cholesterol-lowering medications, making it a natural way to reduce this risk. The benefit of using red yeast rice to lower cholesterol is that there are fewer adverse side effects than when using prescription drugs.

Plant sterols like monacolin K are well known to inhibit the production of cholesterol. The bile our gut produces to digest food contains cholesterol, and this is reabsorbed in the intestines. Plant compounds like those in red yeast rice prevent this reabsorption, so the cholesterol leaves the body. These benefits of red yeast rice are most effective when combined with a low-fat and balanced diet. 

Your liver makes the amount of cholesterol your body needs, but levels can become elevated if you consume too much through unhealthy foods. Specifically, LDL (bad) cholesterol is the type that clogs arteries, and these levels can be lowered by 20 percent after taking red yeast rice supplements for two months. 

High cholesterol also causes high blood pressure, and this is another metabolic syndrome condition that increases your risk for heart disease. Blocked arteries force the heart to work harder to pump blood around the body, and this increases blood pressure. By reducing LDL cholesterol levels, red yeast rice protects your arteries from becoming clogged and hardened. 

High blood sugar levels are a final condition that increases the risk of heart disease. In fact, heart disease is the number one cause of death in individuals with diabetes. Uncontrolled blood sugar levels damage blood vessels, which increases your risks for heart attack and stroke. Red yeast supplements further protect the heart by reducing blood sugar levels and insulin levels

By reducing cholesterol, blood sugar levels, and improving blood pressure, red yeast rice naturally supports your heart.

Anti-Cancer Benefits of Red Yeast Rice

The anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties are ideal for supporting heart health. In addition to this, the active compound in red yeast rice can prevent cancer. 

Cancer is another serious condition that threatens millions, and there is no cure. Prevention and treatment are key for optimal prognosis. Studies have shown that red yeast rice reduces the growth of cancer cells and inhibits tumor growth, so it can do more than just protect your heart. 

Dosage and Side Effects

You can find red yeast rice in capsules and tablets, and it often is combined with other beneficial ingredients such as omega-3 fatty acids or coenzyme Q10. Most red yeast rice supplements are available in doses between 1200 and 2400 milligrams. Discuss taking this supplement with your doctor to determine which daily dose will be best for your health needs. 

There are minimal side effects reported with taking red yeast rice supplements. As with any supplement, interactions and side effects are possible. The most common side effects include bloating, gas, and mild abdominal pains, which can disappear after a few days. In rare cases, muscle problems, liver toxicity, and allergic reactions have been reported. 

To minimize the risk of side effects, always stick to the recommended dose, and buy only high-quality and clinically proven supplements. 

The Bottom Line

Red yeast rice is a natural ingredient proven to benefit heart health, fight inflammation, and prevent cancer. Side effects are rare, as most products only contain minimal doses of the active ingredient. Discuss taking red yeast rice supplements with your doctor if you feel they can benefit your heart. 

When it comes to protecting your heart, red yeast rice is a proven and natural supplement to try.