Cholesterol Scam Alert! Red Yeast Rice

Don’t fall for the latest snake oil tearing round the web: Red Yeast Rice

Red Yeast Rice does not lower cholesterol! The FDA has found that several red yeast rice suppliers have been spiking their supplements with off-market statins.

You’re much better off raising your good cholesterol (HDL) and lowering your bad cholesterol (LDL) with the following four steps:

1. Exercise at least three days a week for 30 minutes each time! Walk, hike, or lift weights.

2. Eat copious amounts of vegetables (at least 6 servings daily).

3. Consume Omega-3 fatty acids with reckless abandon (fish oil pills, oily cold-water fish like wild Alaskan salmon, olive oil, grassfed beef, “un-margarines” like Smart Butter, avocados, and nuts).

4. Reduce your total carbohydrate intake and eliminate all refined starches, flours, and sugars. This will reduce both inflammation and LDL (plus you’ll lose weight and feel better).

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27 thoughts on “Cholesterol Scam Alert! Red Yeast Rice”

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  1. Not shocking really. The only supplement I trust is Apple Cider Vinegar, the rest are just marketed to sell without any FDA regulations or quality control. Hey for $3 a bottle (ACV that is), you can’t beat the price either! The other 4 tips are right on the money too.

  2. Apple Cider Vinegar is powerful stuff. Whenever I feel a cold coming on (which is rare) I make my Devil’s Brew:
    A few ounces of apple cider vinegar
    a teaspoon of cayenne
    juice of one lemon

    Possibly the most disgusting elixir on earth, but it does the trick! 🙂

  3. Mike-Do you follow the Braggs recommendations for apple cidar vinegar? What do you do with the vinegar other than drink it? I tried some straight once….bad move.

    1. I take a can of beets, put in bowl with liquid and add same amount Apple cider vinegar. Keep in fridge, munch on beets for snack and take 2 big swigs of vinegar mix every night. Finish… Repeat!

  4. I read a lot of Negativity regarding red yeast rice, but I do not see any of the manufacturers listed that have the statins in them. All I see here is your say so. No proof here or how you found this out. [email protected]

    1. The FDA made producers of red yeast rice remove the active ingredient (statin) because it is a controlled substance. Buying red yeast rice is a waste of money

  5. Keith, there is certainly proof AND names: simply click the first link in the very first line of the post. It provides all the manufacturers who include statins in their red yeast rice products, BY NAME, with all relevant information.

  6. Red Yeast Rice is not a scam…the plant compounds are the molecular basis for the synthetic statins originally modeled by the pharma industry. All synthetic statin drugs mimic the structure of one of the seven or so natural statins that can be found in various strains of RYR. And there are other fungi besides these red yeast which form statins as part of their natural metabolic process, strains of Aspergillus are one example. RYR naturally contains many compounds that are
    chemically identical to synthetic
    statins and have the similar effect on the liver’s HMG-CoA system, but
    usually at a lower concentration than prescription drug levels. If the
    supplement is from a reputable supplier, with Mass spect. and GC
    testing available on the imported raw materials from China, and the supplement company offers documented by GMP or other cert. that there are standardized levels of the active ingredients, then what
    is the problem? (there are many supplement companies who are happy to expose their testing procedures and info and I would not use any that won’t!)I would think for patients with borderline levels or
    who have positive history for heart disease that this would be a more
    conservative first approach to reaping the benefit of daily statins.
    If the lipid profiles improve, and the cost to the patient is lower,
    this seems like a reasonable alternative with a reduced likelihood of
    side effects.

    1. I’m thinking aboout trying the red yeast rice but I read on medicinet that any sold in the USA has been robbed of it’s effectiveness by lowering the allowable amount of the effective component to zilch. Can anyone suggest a reliable supplier outside the US with effective amounts of the cholestrol reducing compound not removed. I usually don’t embrace hocus pocus cures but I did try light therapy early on before it became more mainstream and found it quite effective for mood adjustment. I would like to try this in a similar test before going on the more expensive Lipitor. Anyone know of a reliable supplier? Thanks

  7. I lowered my cholestrol ~70 points taking Rexall brand red yeast rice

    1. how did you do this??? My internal med doc has suggested RYR and fish oil. I have RA and take weekly doses of MTX and Enbrel. He said that the RYR will be better than the statin drugs.

  8. My Cholesterol improved substantially after taking a daily combination of Red Yeast Rice, CoQ10, Fish Oil, Flush Free Natural Niacin, Vit B Complex, 81 mg aspirin daily, plus an exercise regimen 4x weekly so much that my doctor said a Stain would not be required at this time. The FDA warnings about Red Yeast Rice are less severe than the warnings about statins.

  9. You made some good points there. I did a search on the topic and found most people will agree with your blog.

  10. scam? my body says something else. My cholesterol and blood pressure were lowered within 5 days and even my doctor asked me what i took to achieve this.
    All i did was take a combo of red yeast rice extracts and organic vinegar.

  11. Why do you care about lowering your cholesterol, anyway? As long as you don’t have significant triglycerides or small-pattern LDL, there’s not really a problem. Those are just symptoms, regardless.

    Better to worry about eating a quality diet that will change what your liver’s making than worrying about whether $PILL (supplement or drug) will do the thing you want. Eat your veggies instead of starches or fruit, omega-3s and SFAs instead of more common PUFAs, and your liver will be happier and more content. So will you, if you’re so concerned about it.

    Not to mention that statins, natural or not, are not things you want to be ingesting unless you’re in one of the tiny sub-populations that actually derives a benefit from them. They’re prescribed like Ritalin, except people think they’re a good thing.

  12. Our company sells red yeast rice to N. and S. America, Europe, Asia, Australia and so on. Our red yeast rice contains above 60% Acid MonacolinK in total MonacolinK.

  13. Red Yeast rice did wonders for my cholesterol numbers ( many years ago ). The company who sold the supplement was sued by on of the big pharma giants and had to take it of the market. I took it for about a year and a half with major changes in my cholesterol numbers. All moved in the “proper” direction. Of course, I don’t worry about that any more !

  14. I suffered muscle and nerve damage from red yeast rice. Still have to take neurontin for the nerve pain. It is the same chemical compound as a lovastatin. Why are you worried about your cholesterol anyway? I fell into that trap and am paying the price. My nerves are slowly healing by eating lots of saturated fat and fish oils. Cholesterol is vital to every part of your body. Statins stop your liver from producing cholesterol and your body has to get it somewhere so it takes it from the blood in it’s desperation to get its needs for your body. I only took it for a month and it did alot of damage.

  15. Red yeast rice dramatically lowered my LDL without having any impact whatsoever on HDL or triglycerides. I have been using Target brand RYR.

    I always like what Mark has to say, but I think he’s off the mark here, based on most of the testimonials in the comment sections and the comments and facts about RYR related elsewhere.

  16. Buying moldy rice from a faraway country known to have no working food safety regulations. What could possibly go wrong?

    1. I get mine independently lab tested and Certified of course!! Would say wear but they think I am spam. Just Google it! Red rice yeast Monascus purpureus independently lab tested and Certified buy in bulk.
      Some people are not morons!

  17. Four years ago, after one month of RYR, I developed polyneuropathy in my feet, legs, hands and arms, trunk and face. I stopped in immediately. With the guidance of my naturopath, I followed a Paleo Diet, stopped sugar, etc., and have taken fish oil, ubiquinol (Co-Q10)…eat wild caught fish, pasture raised beef, lots of veggies. I am better, but the painful neuropathy lingers in my toes and my face…I made the mistake of taking a bit B supplement, with niacin in it, and the neuropathy immediately got worse. Don’t mess with your mevalonate pathway! If you want to read more, go to

  18. Hmm it seems to me big pharmas made its move into the Paleo world of course they want to ensure that you only buy said drug from the manufacturers rather than a natural ingredient found in food. Haven’t the Japanese been eating this for eons? I don’t buy it

  19. I have seen the evidence that this does work in combination with Fish Oil supplements. It lowered my father in laws markers in just one months use.

    1. Noni, thanks for your message. I’m working on a couple posts related to cholesterol right now. Let me take up your question in an upcoming Dear Mark. Best — M