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Red Yeast is also known as: Hong Qu, Monascus, Red Rice Yeast, Red Yeast Rice, Xue Zhi Kang, Zhi Tai.

Red yeast is the product of rice fermented with Monascus purpureus yeast. Red yeast supplements are different from red yeast rice sold in Chinese grocery stores. Supplements are manufactured by culturing M. purpureus on rice at carefully controlled temperatures and growing conditions to increase the concentration of mevinic acids. Red yeast contains sterols, including beta-sitosterol, campesterol, stigmasterol, and sapogenin; isoflavones and isoflavone glycosides and monounsaturated fatty acids. Red yeast is the product of rice fermented with the Monascus purpureus yeast that contains monacolin K (lovastatin, mevinolin) and other HMG-CoA reductase inhibiting compounds.

If it is not correctly fermented it may contain citrinin – a toxin which may cause kidney failure

Orally, red yeast is used for maintaining desirable cholesterol levels in healthy people and reducing cholesterol in people with hyperlipidemia (essentially, high cholesterol). It’s also used for indigestion, diarrhea, improving blood circulation, and for spleen and stomach health.

When used orally and appropriately and for the short term, red yeast is safe. It has been safely used in studies lasting up to 12 weeks. There is insufficient reliable information available about the safety of red yeast when used orally for the long-term.

Studies have shown that taking red yeast for hypercholesterolemia can significantly lower total and low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol levels, and triglycerides when used for 8-12 weeks. The dose used most commonly is 2.4 grams per day. Some research suggests that red yeast might be as effective as simvastatin (Zocor) for improving lipid profiles.

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