Red yeast rice is a variety of fermented rice.
It is grown with mold, which gives it the characteristic purplish red color.
Red yeast rice is used to color food and is widely used for preparation of tofu, Peking duck, red rice vinegar and Chinese pastries.
It is regarded highly for its medicinal value.
The use of red yeast rice for medical purposes dates back to the period of the Chinese Tang dynasty in the year 800 A.D.
The primary benefit of red yeast rice is that it is believed to reduce cholesterol levels in the body.
This rice contains monocolins which are substances which inhibit cholesterol production.
Red yeast rice has been observed to decrease the cholesterol levels by 15% in an experiment with one study group.
It has been proved that 2.4 grams of red yeast rice has an equivalent effect of 20 milligrams of Mevacor, a cholesterol reducing drug.
Adults of all age groups can benefit from taking this cereal. However it should not be given to children. Also, red yeast rice should not be given to pregnant women or liver patients.
Even though Red Yeast Rice has not been given a comprehensive study, there are a few side effects that are likely to occur such as digestion problems, acidity, headache, dizziness, pain in the joints and muscles, inflammation of the liver and peripheral nerve damage.
In exceptional cases, Rhabdomyolysis may occur, which is a muscle condition where the muscle tissue breaks down resulting in kidney failure. Therefore, if tenderness of the muscles, weakness or pain is experienced, a medical practitioner should be contacted immediately.
Another observation regarding the side effects of red yeast rice is that it is suspected to reduce the human body’s capacity for production of CoO10, a substance which is important for production of mitochondria, the part of a cell which is linked to energy production.
There is no fixed dosage, but the best bet is to go according to the instructions on the packaging or to consult a nutritionist.
Disclaimer: While it is believed that there are several benefits from taking red rice yeast, the conclusions from this article are not binding and are subject to further evidence, as research still continues in matters regarding this extract.