Ancient supplement may equal statins for cholesterol

June 22, 2009 6:09:37 PM PDT
When Chuck Jones' weight and cholesterol got too high, he ramped up his exercise, and went on a cholesterol-lowering statin drug prescribed by his doctor.

It brought his cholesterol down 50 points.

But almost right away, Jones, a chemist who lives in Morrisville, noticed aching in his legs.

He remembers, "Sometimes at night, it would wake me up, the pain was so great."

Chuck's doctor didn't want him to stop the statins, because they cut his cholesterol so well.

"He basically said - live with it," Chuck says.

Then Chuck learned of projects by Dr. David Becker, of Chestnut Hill Cardiology, testing the supplement red yeast rice.

Red yeast rice has been a staple in Asia for a thousand years.

It's a food coloring...

But it also contains a plant version of lovastatin, one of the commercial statin drugs.

Chuck noticed the difference right away.

"I certainly did not have the pains in my legs. That went away right away," Chuck says.

And his cholesterol continued dropping, down to 135.

Dr. Becker has done several studies on red yeast rice.

In his latest one, patients saw an average drop of 27% in their LDL, or "bad cholesterol."

Dr. Becker says, "The people who just made the lifestyle changes dropped their cholesterol about 8 per cent."

Red yeast rice may have even more potential....

Dr. David Capuzzi, a heart disease prevention expert, says in his tests with 5-thousand heart patients in China.

Red yeast rice users had 45% fewer repeat heart attacks and deaths than those taking a placebo.

Dr. Capuzzi told us, "That's more than any statin study has ever shown."

What's more, there were just 13 cancer deaths in the red yeast rice group, compared to 39 deaths in the placebo group.

Both doctors say patients shouldn't just go off statins, and start taking red yeast rice from a health food store.

Those aren't regulated.

In their studies, they used highly purified versions.

But they do say the FDA should take red yeast rice and other supplements more seriously, because they won't go away.

For more information on red yeast rice studies, 215-233-9700, or click here.

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