"Lipitor and Zocor, also known as 'statin drugs,' work much in the same way as red yeast rice
, by inhibiting a key liver enzyme from producing cholesterol
. Yet... red yeast rice does not carry with it the side effects associated with statin drugs." (1)
"A landmark American study was recently completed at UCLA after 17 studies in China declared that red yeast rice lowered cholesterol by 11 to 32 percent." The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition in 1999 published the UCLA study on red yeast rice, which reported that "after 12 weeks, cholesterol levels among the 79 participants decreased by 15 percent." (1)
My doctor has recommended Red Yeast Rice for me because the Zocor I was taking had raised my liver enzymes to a dangerous level which could damage my liver. Unfortunately, this is one of the rare side effects of using Zocor, along with muscle damage.
"Red yeast rice contains a natural form of the statin drug Mevacor."(2) It's a substitute for Zocor... not to be used together with Zocor or other Statins. You wouldn't want to overdose!!!
Don't carelessly use Red Yeast Rice with other cholesterol lowering substances:
"Remember not to use it along with other cholesterol-lowering substances, especially high doses of niacin (1 gram or more per day), because this may increase the risk for developing rhabdomyolysis
. Like lovastatin, it may reduce coenzyme Q10
levels, and it may interact adversely with grapefruit juice, which interferes with the metabolism
of various drugs that pass through enzyme systems in the liver and/or small intestine
. In one study, three servings of double-strength grapefruit juice (each dose about 7 fluid ounces) for two days increased the concentration of lovastatin in the blood by 15 times, in patients undergoing lovastatin therapy. Such increases are dangerous." (3)
This shows how important it is to have your doctor involved. By checking your regular periodic blood tests, your MD can analyze liver enzyme levels which can let you know if you have to stop using Zocor & switch to Red Yeast Rice or some other alternative. Also, by checking your CoenzymeQ10 levels, your MD will know if or when you would need to supplement your cholesterol medication with a CoQ10 supplement.