Red yeast rice: Rice that has been fermented by the red yeast, Monascus purpureus. Red yeast rice has long been used in traditional Chinese medicine. More recently, it has been used to lower blood lipids, including cholesterol and triglycerides. It acts to lower cholesterol because the red yeast Monascus purpureus inhibits the action of HMG-CoA reductase, an enzyme known to raise cholesterol. It has been recommended that red yeast rice not be taken together with the cholesterol-lowering statin drugs since they are also HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors. Red yeast rice is classified as a dietary supplement by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
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