Red yeast rice with enough monacolin K in it can lower LDL cholesterol levels, but identifying a product that has enough is hit-or-miss, a new study confirms. Taking red yeast rice with high-dose niacin might increase the … Niacin. Prescription statin drugs like lovastatin come in doses of 20 to 40 mg. 5 This led them to believe that these other compounds may also have a beneficial effect on cholesterol levels. For instance, red yeast rice contains an average of 0.2 percent of monacolin K per 5 mg. For this reason, red yeast rice supplements may produce the same side effects and drug interactions as statin cholesterol medications produce. In a 2014 paper published in the Journal of Pharmaceutical and Biomedical Analysis, researchers from the University of Mississippi, Harvard Medical School and the China Food and Drug Administration divulged the amount of monacolin K in supplements labeled as containing 600 mg of red yeast rice ranged more than 40-fold from 0.03 mg to 2.18 mg. Red yeast rice contains an active ingredient called monacolin K, which has the same chemical structure as the active drug in the "statin" cholesterol medicine lovastatin (Advicor, Altoprev, Mevacor). Red yeast rice might contain monacolin K, which can cause liver damage in some people. 6 Taking red yeast rice with these types of drugs, herbs and supplements could increase the risk of liver damage.

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