Chinese red yeast rice (RYR) contains several ingredients with medicinal properties. One of them is lovastatin; several trials have confirmed its possible lipid-lowering effects.
An analysis was conducted to assess the effectiveness and safety of RYR extract in changing lipid levels in people with primary hyperlipidemia.
This study included93 randomized controlled trials. 9625 participants were tested with RYR preparation and compared with placebo, no treatment, statins, or other active lipid-lowering agents. Three RYR preparations (Cholestin, Xuezhikang and Zhibituo) were also tested.
The results exhibited significant reduction in serum total cholesterol levels,triglycerides levels and LDL-cholesterol levels; also, an increase of HDL-cholesterol levels by RYR treatment in comparison with placebo.
The changes in lipid levels were similar to those of pravastatin, simvastatin, lovastatin, atorvastatin, or fluvastatin. In comparison with non-statin lipid lowering agents, RYR preparations were better than nicotinate and fish oils; but more or less equal to or less effective than fenofibrate and gemfibrozil. There was no significant difference in lipid profile between Xuezhikang and Zhibituo.
RYR preparations were initially linked with side effects like giddiness and gastro-intestinal discomfort.
However, researchers feel that there is a requirement for trials that are more rigorous
In addition, long-term effects and safety have to be investigated in order to recommend RYR preparations for alternative treatment of primary hyperlipidemia.