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Used for eons, researchers study how red yeast rice prevents CVD


Red yeast rice is a traditional Chinese food commonly used for lowering cholesterol. It is also believed to help prevent cardiovascular disease. A review published in the Chinese Journal of Natural Medicines confirmed that red yeast rice and its products could be used as a healthy functional food for the prevention and treatment of cardiovascular diseases, such as atherosclerosis.

Atherosclerosis is a condition in which plaque or fatty deposits build up and clog the arteries, resulting in a thicker and narrower artery wall. Endothelial injury continues throughout the disease. Therefore, improving endothelial function is of essential in the prevention of the disease.

Researchers from the University of South China, The Second Affiliated Hospital of Henan University of Science and Technology, and Beijing Anzhen Hospital of Capital Medical University reviewed existing evidence on the potential of red yeast rice and its related products in preventing and treating atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (ASCVD).

Based on the evidence they have gathered, red yeast rice and its products help in the treatment of cardiovascular diseases because of their effectiveness and safety in improving lipid levels. Red yeast rice also reduces oxidative stress and inflammation while increasing nitric oxide (NO), which maintains normal vasodilatory function and helps prevent platelet aggregation and adhesion. These beneficial effects may be attributed to its compounds: polyketides, monounsaturated fatty acids, phytosterols, isoflavones, condensed tannins, coenzyme Q10, microelements, and pigments, including ankaflavin, monascin, rubropunctatin, monascorubrin, rubropunctamine, and monascorubramine.

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Red yeast rice is made by fermenting the fungus Monascus purpureus on wet rice. It contains the compound called monacolin K, which is the same active ingredient found in prescription cholesterol-lowering drugs like lovastatin. Because of this, it is considered as a great natural alternative treatment for reducing cholesterol levels and supporting heart health. Today, red yeast rice is commonly sold as a supplement for managing cholesterol and improving overall health. (Related: Red Yeast Rice Lowers Cholesterol: Study Backs Up Centuries of Traditional Use.)

Other health benefits of red yeast rice

In addition to improving heart health, red yeast rice offers other health benefits. These include:

  • Helping to treat metabolic syndrome: Red yeast rice consumption may help reduce several risk factors for metabolic syndrome, which is a cluster of conditions that increase the risk of chronic diseases like heart disease, stroke, and diabetes. Human and animal studies have shown that supplementing with red yeast rice can help control levels of blood sugar, blood pressure, and cholesterol, as well as prevent excessive weight gain.
  • Reducing inflammation: Although inflammation is a normal immune response that products the body against acute infection and foreign invaders, too much and prolonged inflammation can do more harm than good. Human and animal studies have shown that supplementing with red yeast rice may help reduce inflammation and fight oxidative stress in the body, promoting better health.
  • Warding off cancer: There is also some evidence on red yeast rice having anti-cancer properties. Animal and test-tube studies have reported that red yeast rice may help fight against cancer, particularly prostate cancer, by reducing tumor growth and the spread of prostate cancer cells.

For more studies on heart-healthy foods like red yeast rice, visit FoodCures.news.

Sources include:

Science.news

NCCIH.NIH.gov

Healthline.com



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