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Red Yeast Rice and CoQ10 Combination Shown to Lower Cholesterol

High cholesterol levels can cause plaque to build up in the arteries, increasing the risk of heart attack. A recent study suggests that taking a supplement of red yeast rice and coenzyme10 (CoQ10) may lower high cholesterol levels, lower a marker of inflammation, and lower markers of vascular remodeling, thereby potentially reducing the risk of a cardiovascular event.

Red yeast rice is a common part of many Asian diets. It is a fermented product that grows on the yeast on rice.

Participants in the study included 25 people who had mildly elevated cholesterol levels. For four weeks they ate a “stabilization diet.” For the next four weeks, half of the group took a placebo and the other half took a supplement consisting of 10 mg coenzyme 10 (CoQ10) and 10 mg of red yeast rice.

At the conclusion of the study the researchers noted significant improvements in the supplement group when compared with the placebo group, including:

• 12.5% reduction in total cholesterol;

• 22% reduction in LDL cholesterol;

• 24% reduction in the inflammation marker high-sensitivity C-reactive protein (hs-CRP);

• 28% and 27%, respectively, lower levels of matrix metallproteinases (MMPs) 2 and 9, compounds present in higher levels in individuals following a heart attack or coronary angioplastym, or who suffer from unstable angina.

Researchers from the Universities of Bologna and Pavia in Italy conducted the study. It was published online ahead of print on July 15, 2013 in Nutrition Research.

The positive health benefits noted in this study were most likely a result of the presence of the compound monacolin K in red yeast rice. Monacolin K is is a naturally occurring version of the prescription drug Lovastatin.

Red yeast rice is not a common part of the western diet, so the easiest way to consume it is probably in supplemental form.

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