In this age of health consciousness and utilization of dietary components to attain them, there is a lot of interest in conventionally used foods to provide health benefits. Red yeast rice, is one such product which has gained a lot of prominence and importance for health benefits. It is a traditional chinese fermented product made from a red yeast, Monascus purpureus Went., that is grown on rice.
Traditional claims for use of red yeast rice
The earliest available evidence for the use of red yeast rice dates back to the time of the famous Tang dynasty in 800 A.D. Red yeast rice has been an important component of healthy diet since a long time and the benefits of this dietary supplement is getting extended to the global scale off late.
Important chemical constituents of Red yeast rice and weight loss
Red yeast rice products contain a group of compounds called the monacolins, which are a family of polyketides. The monacolins have been identified as inhibitors of an enzyme involved in the endogenous biosynthesis of cholesterol, 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl coenzymeA (HMG-CoA) reductase. One of the monacolins, monacolin K, is identical to lovastatin. Lovastatin is a very popular and common cholesterol lowering statin drug.
Evidences for effectiveness of red yeast rice
Clinical studies data available for red yeast rice indicate its effectiveness and benefits for reducing elevated serum cholesterol levels. As mentioned previously the monacolins present in red yeast rice are identified as inhibitors of HMG-CoA reductase which results in a prominent lipid lowering effect. Various studies explored the effect of red yeast rice products on lipid levels. The results have demonstrated significant cholesterol lowering following eight to twelve weeks of treatment with Cholestin a drug prepared from the red yeast rice. The effectiveness has also been found to be comparable with statins a highly recommended lipid lowering drug molecule.
In general, it can be said that a lot of promise can be seen in using red yeast rice as a part of regular diet in weight loss therapies.