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Red rice yeast extract is a traditional Chinese dietary supplement derived from a specific type of yeast (Monascus purpureus) that ferments on white rice. This practice dates back centuries and is deeply rooted in Asian culture. The extract is known for its health-promoting effects, particularly for lowering cholesterol levels.

Red rice yeast extract: discovery and historical significance

The use of red yeast rice in China was first documented in the document “Qimin Yaoshu” from the Tang Dynasty around 800 AD. Researchers later discovered that the red coloration of the rice is caused by fermentation with Monascus purpureus, which produces natural statins. These statins are the same enzymes used in many modern cholesterol-lowering drugs.

Administration forms and dosage

Rice yeast extract is mainly available in two dosage forms:

  • Capsules: The most common form as it allows for accurate dosing and ease of ingestion.
  • Powder: Can be mixed into smoothies or other foods to supplement the daily diet.

The recommended dosage varies depending on the manufacturer, but is often between 600 and 1200 mg per day, divided into two doses. It is important to discuss the intake with a doctor, especially if you have existing health problems.

Red rice yeast extract: areas of application and mode of action

It is mainly used for the treatment and prevention of cardiovascular diseases. Studies show that it can effectively reduce LDL cholesterol levels (“bad” cholesterol). This is achieved by inhibiting HMG-CoA reductase, a key enzyme in cholesterol biosynthesis.

Optimal time of intake and target groups

The optimum time to take the product is often in the evening, as the body produces more cholesterol at night. People with elevated cholesterol levels or with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease can benefit from this dietary supplement.

Red rice yeast extract: contraindications and precautions

Taking red rice yeast extract is not recommended for:

  • Pregnant and breastfeeding women
  • People who already have liver problems
  • People who are taking other cholesterol-lowering medication at the same time

Food supplements and dietary foods

In addition to red rice yeast extract, the following dietary supplements may be useful:

The extract itself is rarely used as an ingredient in food, but similar fermented products such as tempeh or miso also offer health benefits.

Red rice yeast extract: Possible adverse effects and overdose

Although red rice yeast extract is safe for most people, some side effects may occur, such as:

  • Headaches
  • Indigestion
  • Muscle pain or weakness

Overdose can lead to elevated liver enzymes and muscle problems, similar to the side effects of pharmaceutical statins.

Traditional medicine and modern use

In traditional Chinese medicine, the extract is not only used to lower cholesterol levels, but also to improve digestion and blood circulation. When integrated into modern medicine, it is mainly used in preventive medicine to prevent illness and promote general well-being.


Red rice yeast extract offers a fascinating combination of ancient knowledge and modern science. It is a valuable addition to natural health care, especially for people who want to regulate their cholesterol levels in a natural way. However, a doctor’s consultation is essential to ensure that taking the extract is safe and effective.

Published on: 28. April 2024


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