Study Finds “Striking Variability” in Red Yeast Rice Products

October 27, 2010

The active ingredient of red yeast rice (Monascus purpureus), monacolin, has been found in inconsistent amounts in 12 dietary supplements, according to a study conducted by ConsumerLab.com (White Plains, NY).

The active ingredient of red yeast rice (Monascus purpureus), monacolin, has been found in inconsistent amounts in 12 dietary supplements, according to a study conducted by ConsumerLab.com (White Plains, NY).

Monacolin is a naturally-occurring statin that is believed to give red yeast rice its cholesterol-lowering effect. The supplement is often considered by patients with high cholesterol who seek a natural alternative to statin drug therapy.

While each tested product was labeled with 600mg of the active content, according to ConsumerLab, “striking variability” was found in the active amounts of total monacolins, monacolin K, and monacolin KA. The company adds that four of the products even had high amounts of citrinin, a potentially toxic compound.

“We found striking variability in monacolincontent in 12 proprietary RYR products and the presence of citrininin one-third of the formulations tested. Although RYR may havepotential as an alternative lipid-lowering agent, our findingssuggest the need for improved standardization of RYR productsand product labeling.”

The study was published on Monday in the Archives of Internal Medicine.