My Interview with Gary Walker, manufacturer of American Made Red Yeast Rice
Red Yeast Rice is a very popular supplement in America. Most people use it to help maintain a lower cholesterol. Red yeast rice is controversial for a couple of reasons. The first is that it is very effective at lowering cholesterol. It is effective because it contains compounds similar to statin drugs and it lowers cholesterol via the same metabolic pathway. This makes it very close to a drug in the mind of the FDA. The second controversy is whether lowering cholesterol via these compounds is good medicine, regardless of whether it is natural or not.
The first controversy is really in the domain of the FDA and the companies it regulates. Currently the FDA allows red yeast rice products to be sold as long as they don’t contain the same statin compound as is found in the drug and don’t make medical claims. One problem that affects red yeast rice is lack of standardization. Not all red yeast rice products are equally good. Some red yeast rice raw material coming from China is low potency and therefore not very effective, and some others are contaminated with unwanted compounds. Check out Consumer Labs to review their report on red yeast rice products. Seek out products from reliable companies and inquire about the source of their red yeast rice.
The second controversy is something the consumer is going to have to consider. Ask yourself these questions. Do statin drugs help you live longer? How effective are statin drugs at preventing deaths due to heart attacks? This is where the truth begins to be revealed. The answer is that they are not very effective at all. It is not so simple as to suggest that everyone with high cholesterol is at risk and should be put on drugs. There are other factors you should consider such as blood pressure, triglyceride level, inflammation status, cholesterol ratio, and family history. If you don’t have these other risk factors then your risk may be much lower than the typical American. You may also be shocked to learn that if you put 100 people on statin drugs for 4 years, the number of heart attacks will be 2. In a no drug population, the number of heart attacks will be 3. You have to put 100 people on statin drugs for 4 years to stop 1 heart attack. Listen to my podcast with Dr. Michael Murray, What the Drug Companies Won’t Tell You and Your Doctor Doesn’t Know.
The other thing to consider is that there are many ways to support cardiovascular health and you may have much better results by applying principles of metabolic cardiology which can actually help strengthen the heart. (Listen to my podcast with Dr. Stephen Sinatra).
The typical dose of red yeast rice is 600 mg. taken two to four daily. The best time to take red yeast rice is at bedtime. The clinical studies have been done with 2400 mg. per day (4×600) of standardized extract. Another consideration is that both statin drugs and red yeast rice inhibit CoQ10 production as well as cholesterol. So anyone using this strategy should supplement with at least 100 mg. of CoQ10. Because both statins and red yeast rice affect the liver, you should have liver function tests and take steps to protect liver function.
There are two companies that I recommend for red yeast rice. I’m sure there are other brands but I can’t confirm them for you. The first company is Doctor’s Best. They have both a 600 and a 1200 mg. formulas. The other is Nature’s Plus. They sell a 600 mg tablet and they also sell a 1 per day extended release tablet that is equal to four 600 mg. tablets. I prefer American made red yeast rice. I know what the source is.
Bottom line for me is that statin drugs should be a last resort unless you have cardiac issues. If you feel you must lower your cholesterol, then try a quality brand of red yeast rice along with CoQ10. Otherwise there are many ways to support healthy cholesterol, improve inflammation and nourish the cardiovascular system and you should include them as part of your health care plan. For the best long term results you must use nutrition. The consistent application of nutritional support will provide the building blocks of better health. No matter the health condition, a person who is well nourished will do better than one who isn’t.