Heart Health and Cholesterol Reduction

Heart Health and Cholesterol Reduction 

By Daniel Rocha LMT CPT CNS


Red Yeast Rice 

Red yeast rice extract is native to China and a byproduct of Monascus purpureus ( red yeast ) fermenting on rice. Part of the Monascaceae family, Monascus purpureus, is identified by the color of the mycelium, which is initially white but transforms to pink and then yellow-orange due to an increase in acidity and the development of hyphae. As the yeast culture ages, dark crimson color at the substratum appears.


Chinese red yeast rice has been used in the preserving, flavoring, and coloring of food and wine, but it was discovered that red yeast rice contained medicinal properties as well. Red yeast rice promotes blood circulation, stimulates the digestive system and spleen, and contains statins identical to those found in cholesterol-reducing prescription medications. It should be noted that prescription drugs may be safer due to the possible mycotoxin contamination and uncertain dosing in red yeast rice.

In 2001, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) determined that standardized red yeast rice extract possessed substantial chemical similarities to the prescription drug lovastatin, a cholesterol-reducing drug manufactured by Merck, and therefore classified red yeast rice as a drug, not a dietary supplement. Studies revealed that taking the standardized dose (600 mg) of red yeast rice extract orally, two to four times per day may assist in a significant reduction of total cholesterol (TC), low-density lipoprotein (LDL), cholesterol, and triglycerides (TG). It can also slightly Increase levels of high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol. Red yeast rice accomplishes the benefits by reducing the production of cholesterol in the liver, similar to Statins. Red yeast rice contains monacolin, the precursor to The drug simvastatin. Monacolin, which acts as an enzyme inhibitor known as hepatic hydroxy-methyl-glutaryl coenzyme A (HMG-CoA) reductase, is Responsible for cholesterol production.

Lowering high cholesterol levels reduces The risks of heart, coronary, and cerebral vascular diseases. Patients suffering from high cholesterol (240 mg/dl or above) benefit from using red yeast rice extract, Similar to statin drugs. Additionally, red yeast rice extract possesses flavonoids and antioxidants to reduce oxidized LDL and cholesterol. Red yeast rice has since banned its sale under penalty of law. 




Niacin, or vitamin B 3 or nicotinic acid, is water-soluble and plays a role in turning food into energy and in the metabolism of fats and carbohydrates, which are necessary for the normal function of many bodily processes. 


Niacin acts as an antioxidant within cells, which means it can destroy cell-damaging free radicals. In conjunction with riboflavin and pyridoxine, it works to keep the skin, intestinal tract, and nervous system functioning smoothly. Vitamin B3 also includes the amide form of nicotinic acid, nicotinamide, or niacin amide, which does not cause skin flushing when niacin is taken in larger doses.


Niacin is involved in treating familial hyperlipidemia, an inherited disorder characterized by high blood cholesterol levels and an increased risk of heart disorders. Niacin normalizes blood cholesterol levels, but a frequent, harmless, and unpleasant side effect of this therapy is extreme flushing of the face And neck. An alternative form of nicotinic acid that does not cause flushing is inositol hexaniacinate. Slow-release niacin results in less flushing, but it should not be taken as there is a higher risk of liver inflammation.

A manual therapist (naprapath, chiropractor, massage therapist) should take vital signs of patients before treatment. High blood pressure can be a contraindication for treatment. But it can lead to a discussion of what medications are being used, what alternatives are out there, and what vitamin and supplements to use to help patients with high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and other health issues. 

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Paradise, Lee Ann, and Steve Blake, ScD. "Red Yeast Rice Extract." The Gale Encyclopedia of Alternative Medicine, edited by Deirdre S. Hiam, 5th ed., vol. 4, Gale, 2020, pp. 2260-2262. Gale Health and Wellness, link.gale.com/apps/doc/CX7947800740/HWRC?u=lirn33148&sid=bookmark-HWRC&xid=e1da1177. Accessed 8 Sept. 2022.


Turner, Judith, et al. "Niacin." The Gale Encyclopedia of Alternative Medicine, edited by Deirdre S. Hiam, 5th ed., vol. 3, Gale, 2020, pp. 1906-1909. Gale Health and Wellness, link.gale.com/apps/doc/CX7947800627/HWRC?u=lirn33148&sid=bookmark-HWRC&xid=7df39f42. Accessed 8 Sept. 2022.


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