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Red yeast rice has anti-hyperlipidemic properties


Researchers from Taiwan examined the efficacy of monacolin K-rich and gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA)-rich red yeast rice (RYR) in treating hyperlipidemia in a randomized control double-blind clinical trial. Their results were published in The American Journal of Chinese Medicine.

  • RYR (Monascus pilosus) is traditionally used as an alternative treatment for hyperlipidemia.
  • Previous studies suggest that other compounds in it besides monacolin K can also reduce serum lipid levels.
  • To further investigate this, the researchers gave 50 eligible subjects either monacolin K-rich RYR, GABA-rich RYR or a placebo.
  • They evaluated these subjects’ total cholesterol (TC), LDL-C (low-density lipoprotein cholesterol), HDL (high-density lipoprotein), triglyceride (TC) and blood chemistry data at different phases:
    • Before administration (visit 1)
    • After 1 month (visit 2)
    • After 2 months (visit 3)
    • After 3 months (visit 4)
    • 1 month after the end of test period (visit 5)
  • During the three-month intervention, the researchers observed that the serum TC and LDL-C levels of the subjects given monacolin K decreased more than the other groups. Meanwhile, serum TG levels also declined steadily but were not significantly different between the three groups.
  • The researchers also found no marked differences in the serum HDL levels of the three groups.
  • While monacolin K-rich RYR reduced cholesterol as expected, GABA-rich RYR reduced serum TG, although the reduction was not significant.

Based on these results, the researchers concluded that using different concentrations and ratios of monacolin K and GABA is beneficial for treating hyperlipidemia.

Journal Reference:

Wang TJ, Lien ASY, Chen JL, Lin CH, Yang YS, Yang SH. A RANDOMIZED CLINICAL EFFICACY TRIAL OF RED YEAST RICE (MONASCUS PILOSUS) AGAINST HYPERLIPIDEMIA. The American Journal of Chinese Medicine. 2019;47(02):323–335. DOI: 10.1142/s0192415x19500150



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