Red Yeast Rice
Red yeast rice is a dietary staple in the East that has been linked to the amelioration of high blood cholesterol. Throughout the centuries, it has enjoyed a significant presence in Chinese and Japanese cuisines as it is highly valued for its restorative effects on human health. The discovery of monacolins in red yeast rice pointed to mechanisms of actions that are similar to that of drugs that lower cholesterol.
Monascus purpureus is the species of yeast used in the fermentation of red yeast rice. It is responsible for the purplish-red coloration of red yeast rice. This is the same species of mold that was investigated in a separate research in the 1970’s that aimed to isolate monacolins, a compound purported to inhibit the biosynthesis of cholesterol. It was later learned in chemical analyses that monacolin K is identical to Prescription Drugs, a lipid-lowering drug approved by Food and Drug Administration of the US in the treatment of hypercholesterolemia and hyperlipidemia.
Red Yeast Rice and LDL
Influences Cholesterol Synthesis
The enzyme called HMG-CoA reductase plays a key role in the biosynthesis of cholesterol in the liver, and thus directly contributes to any changes in cholesterol levels in the blood and the rest of the human body. In general it is affected by the metabolism of lipoproteins and cholesterol found in the systemic circulation, which appears to down-regulate the manufacture of cholesterol as they enter the liver.
Inhibitors of the enzyme HMG-CoA reductase are called statins, which interferes with the metabolic pathway that lead to the production of cholesterol in the liver and its subsequent release into the bloodstream. Red yeast rice has been reported to create similar results since the presence of monacolin K allows it to inhibit cholesterol synthesis and ultimately lower serum cholesterol levels.
Enhances Lipoprotein Uptake
Red yeast rice not only affects the production of cholesterol, but also helps lower levels of lipoproteins, oxidized cholesterol, and free fatty acids present in the circulatory system. Low-density lipoproteins, or LDL, serve as transports for lipid-soluble cholesterol in the water-based bloodstream during tissue distribution. High levels of LDL in the blood are indicative of cardiovascular diseases, inasmuch as they are susceptible to lipid peroxidation that results in the formation of arterial plaques.
The liver releases LDL receptors in large quantities in response to depleting levels of cholesterol within hepatocytes, the cells that accounts for 60 per cent of the liver. By so doing, LDL particles that pass the liver bind to the receptors found in the cell membranes of hepatocytes. These particles either get expelled through the urine. Red yeast rice improves the uptake of LDL in the liver.
Reduces Overall Lipid Levels
In Traditional Chinese Medicine, regular intake of red yeast rice is believed to reinvigorate the blood. Indeed this staple of Asian diet is one the reasons why Asian populations are less likely to suffer from high cholesterol. As it also promotes healthy levels of lipoproteins and free fatty acids in the blood, red yeast rice reduces overall lipid levels and promotes cardiovascular health. Give Red yeast rice a try today.