Benefits of Red Yeast Rice
How Does Red Yeast Rice Work?As mentioned, when fermented under certain conditions with specific strains of yeast, red yeast rice may contain significant amounts of mevinic acids, including lovastatin. Lovastatin is an HMG-Co reductase inhibitor, more commonly known as a statin. Statins work by blocking HMG-CoA reductase, an enzyme that controls the rate of cholesterol production in the body. This causes the liver to make less cholesterol.
Red yeast rice may also contain plant sterols, such as beta-sitosterol, which are compounds that can help lower cholesterol. It may also contain isoflavones (estrogen-like plant compounds). However, most of the cholesterol-lowering benefits of red yeast rice are probably due to lovastatin or related compounds.