Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Red Yeast Rice instead of Zetia and Vytorin to fight Cholesterol?

The Daily Green got an article how a recent study questioned the efficacy of two popular prescription drugs. The talk is about Zetia and Vytorin which reduces disease causing cholesterol. The producers of the drugs are Schering-Plough Corp and Merck & Co.

At the same time a traditional Chinese medicine is big in the talks: Red Yeast Rice
It is used since 1000 years for improving blood circulation and for alleviating indigestion and diarrhea and widely available as dietary supplements.

According to the Mayo Clinic there is strong scientific evidence that it lowers blood levels of total cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein/LDL ("bad cholesterol"), and triglyceride levels.

The FDA though ordered recently that several red yeast rice supplements which are sold over the counter are taken off the market: red yeast rice/Policosanol Complex (Swanson Health Products Inc. / Nature's Value Inc.), Red yeast rice (Kabco Inc.) as well as Cholestrix from Sunburst Biorganics.

The reasons which were given were that the statin content in those supplements was close to those from the prescription drugs. There are people which believe though that the real reason is that Big Pharma is concerned with the profitability of their key prescription statin drugs and encouraged the FDA to this move.



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