Red Yeast

How does Red Yeast work?

Red yeast supplements are manufactured by culturing Monascus purpureus yeast on rice at carefully controlled temperature and growing conditions to increase the concentrations of chemicals that lower blood cholesterol and triglycerides. These chemicals are similar to the prescription drugs known as "statins," including lovastatin (Mevacor) and others.

Are there safety concerns?

Red yeast is POSSIBLY SAFE for most people when taken by mouth for up to 4.5 years.

Red yeast contains chemicals similar to the prescription drugs called "statins." Therefore, red yeast might also cause side effects similar to statin drugs, such as liver damage and severe muscle pain and muscle damage.

There is also concern about product quality. Many red yeast rice products have been found to contain varying amounts of the statin-like chemicals. Some products may contain none and others may contain high amounts, which are more likely to cause serious side effects.

Serious allergic reactions can occur after breathing in red yeast.

Red yeast that is not fermented correctly may contain citrinin. Citrinin is a poison that may cause kidney damage.

Special Precautions & Warnings:

Pregnancy and breast-feeding: Red yeast is LIKELY UNSAFE during pregnancy. It has caused birth defects in animals. Not enough is known about the safety of using red yeast during breast-feeding. Don't use during pregnancy or breast-feeding.

Liver problems: Red yeast contains chemicals that are the same as the statin drug lovastatin. Lovastatin can cause liver damage. Some research shows that red yeast might also cause liver damage. However, other research shows that red yeast might improve liver function in people with certain liver problems. Because of the mixed results, red yeast products should be used cautiously or avoided in people with liver problems.


Therapeutic Research Faculty copyright

Report Problems to the Food and Drug Administration

You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.

Health Solutions From Our Sponsors