What is red yeast rice extract?


Quick Answer

Manufacturers make red yeast extract by fermenting rice using a red yeast called Monascus purpureus. The extract is useful in lowering cholesterol, and the prescription medication lovastatin is the same compound as monacolin K, the primary ingredient in red yeast rice extract.

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Full Answer

Because red yeast rice extract contains the same ingredient as a prescription medication, the FDA stopped its sale as a supplement in the United Sates in 2007. The FDA says use of the extract has the potential to cause muscle problems and kidney disease. However, consumers continue to find sources of red yeast rice extract without a prescription either through the Internet or from other countries.

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