What Is Red Yeast Rice?
Red yeast rice is a type of fermented rice that is produced using a specific species of mold.
It’s been used in traditional Chinese medicine for centuries for its powerful health-promoting properties.
Red yeast rice may support heart health and reduce cholesterol levels, inflammation, cancer cell growth, and risk factors of metabolic syndrome. Note: it is not recommended for people taking statins or women who are pregnant or breastfeeding.
Red yeast rice contains the compound monacolin K — the same active ingredient found in prescription cholesterol-lowering medications like lovastatin (1Trusted Source).
For this reason, it’s often used as a cost-effective alternative to pricey medications to help reduce cholesterol levels and support heart health.
Research has shown other beneficial effects as well, ranging from reduced cancer cell growth to improved blood sugar and insulin levels.
Today, red yeast rice is commonly sold as an over-the-counter supplement marketed to help manage cholesterol and improve overall health.
Most supplements recommend 1,200–2,400 mg daily. However, many products on the market today contain minimal amounts of its active ingredient, potentially negating any health benefits associated with red rice extract.