Revolution Health & Wellness

Red Yeast Rice

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Red Yeast Rice

Red Yeast Rice is a preparation made from a yeast that is commercially grown on rice grains. The rice and yeast, which is deep red in color, are ground up into a red powder. Red yeast rice has been found to support naturally support healthy blood lipid levels already in the normal range.*

Fueled by extensive studies, scientific evidence demonstrating the safety, tolerability, and efficacy of red yeast rice (RYR) continues to mount.2-6,12 The first use of RYR was documented in 800 A.D., during the Tang Dynasty. Subsequently, during the Ming Dynasty (1368- 1644), the manufacturing process was published in the ancient Chinese pharmacopoeia. The typical Asian diet contains 14-55 grams of naturally occurring Red Yeast Rice per day.7

The potential benefits of consuming Red Yeast Rice or its supplement form, RYRE (red yeast rice extract), are multi-faceted. In traditional Chinese medicine, the powdered form is called Hong Qu, Hong Mi, or Chi Qu. Considered sweet, acidic, and warm, it is used to strengthen the spleen and stomach, thereby promoting digestion, invigorating blood circulation, and eliminating blood stasis.8 In western medicine, Red Yeast Rice has been shown to downregulate adipogenic transcription factors such as PPAR gamma and other genes that differentiate adipocytes.9

Researchers believe the most active constituents of RYR are its various monacolins, particularly monacolin K, which the body converts to ß-hydroxy acid. A study utilizing hamsters concluded that “the activity of RYR is, at least, partially mediated by enhancement of acidic sterol excretion.”10 RYR also contains various pigments, tannins, phytochemicals such as sterols and isoflavones, and mono-unsaturated fatty acids, all of which may work synergistically with the monacolins.4,8

Since 1996, there have been no fewer than nine randomized, controlled RYR/RYRE trials involving thousands of subjects. Studies since the 1970s have demonstrated that RYRE supports healthy blood lipid levels already in the normal range. The medical literature associated with these studies includes comparative, case series, and dosing studies.2-12

In its natural state, RYRE may contain the mycotoxin, citrinin, a secondary metabolite of the Monascus species.3 Accordingly, any manufacturer of Red Yeast Rice should carefully test and document each and every batch of RYRE raw material to comply with strict limits for citrinin and to assure its safety. If you are taking a Red Yeast Rice supplement, or looking for one, be sure to only select one that is labeled “citrinin-free.”

Dose: It is often recommended to take anywhere between 800 and 4,000mg of Red Yeast Rice.


  1. Becker DJ, Red yeast rice for dyslipidemia in statin-intolerant patients: a randomized trial. Ann Intern Med. 2009 Jun 16;150(12):830-9, W147-9. [PMID: 19528562]
  2. Bianchi A. Extracts of Monascusus purpureus beyond statins–profile of efficacy and safety of the use of extracts of Monascus purpureus. Chin J Integr Med. 2005 Dec;11(4):309-13. Review. [PMID: 16417786 ]
  3. Wang TH, Lin TF. Monascus rice products. Adv Food Nutr Res. 2007;53:123- 59. Review. [PMID: 17900498]
  4. Heber D, et al. Cholesterol-lowering effects of a proprietary Chinese red yeast rice dietary supplement. Am J Clin Nutr 1999;69:231-236. [PMID: 9989685]
  5. A Monascus Purpureus rice preparation reduces serum cholesterol and triacylglycerols in elderly with primary hyperlipidemia: A randomized double- blind clinical trial. National Medical Association Scientific Assembly. August 1-6, 1998
  6. Monograph. Monascus purpureus (red yeast rice). Altern Med Rev. 2004 Jun;9(2):208-10 [PMID: 15253679]
  7. Hung Qu (Monascus). Chen JK, Chen TT. Chinese Medical Herbology and Pharmacology. Art of Medicine Press. CA 2001:527-528
  8. Jeon T, et al. Red yeast rice extracts suppress adipogenesis by down-regulating adipogenic transcription factors and gene expression in 3T3-L1 cells. Life Sci. 2004 Nov 12;75(26):3195-203 [PMID: 15488898]
  9. Ma KY, et al. Red yeast rice increases excretion of bile acids in hamsters.
    Biomed Environ Sci. 2009 Aug;22(4):269-77. [PMID: 19950521]
  10. Halbert SC, et al. Tolerability of red yeast rice (2,400 mg twice daily) versus pravastatin (20 mg twice daily) in patients with previous statin intolerance. Am J Cardiol. 2010 Jan 15;105(2):198-204. Epub 2009 Nov 26. [PMID: 20102918]
  11. Li JJ, et al. Chinese Coronary Secondary Prevention Study Group Beneficial impact of Xuezhikang on cardiovascular events and mortality in elderly hypertensive patients with previous myocardial infarction from the China Coronary Secondary Prevention Study (CCSPS). J. Clin Pharmacol. 2009 Aug;49(8):947-56. [PMID 19602720]
  12. {accessed 2.1.2010}
  13. Vercelli L, et al. Chinese red rice depletes muscle coenzyme Q10 and maintains muscle damage after discontinuation of statin treatment. J Am Geriatr Soc.2006 Apr;54(4):718-20 [PMID: 16686894]”