Quote from zip2play:Best I can tell is that it is still completely illegal in the U.S.A. and it was banned because it contained lovastatin which is mandated to be available only by prescription here. Some manufacurers are still selling products that USED to contain red yeast rice but alas they have RYR in them no more.
My guess is that if you buy any "red yeast rice" product in the U.S.A. that's not shipped from abroad, you're being ripped off. If it's the real stuff from abroad you risk a customs seizure. (Not fun, I lost a couple hundred dollar item a couple of decades ago that way!)
Zip & Arizona,
Red Yeast Rice was banned, but is now readily available. Several of the top nutritional supplement companies sell RYR in 600mg capsules.
The first product to contain RYR was Cholestin in 1998.
[see ban info below from CareFirst BC/BS]
My primary care physician suggested I use RYR instead of one of the statins to lower my cholesterol. My LDL was 162 and lowered to 90 in 6 months, along with diet and exercise. The recommended dose is 2 - 600mg capsules, but I took only one daily with 50mg CoQ10.
Also took 500mg C, 400 IU d-alpha Vit E and a multi-vitamin.
Additional info from PDR Health about RYR.
Source: PDR Health
What It Is; Why It Works
Red Yeast Rice (monascus purpureus Went) is made, quite simply, by fermenting red yeast on rice. A special process is used to isolate a higher concentration of the natural ingredient mevinolin. This substance is similar to the "statin" drugs, such as Zocor, Pravachol, and Lipitor, that doctors prescribe for high cholesterol. An extract of mevinolin, however, can be purchased without a prescription as an over-the-counter dietary supplement.
Red Yeast Rice (and "statin" drugs) block the action of an enzyme in the liver that triggers cholesterol production. It is also speculated that the unsaturated fatty acids in Red Yeast Rice could contribute to its beneficial effects.
In very high doses, the mevinolin in Red Yeast Rice has been known to damage the liver. Do not take it if you have liver disease, are in danger of developing it, or consume more than two alcoholic beverages a day.
Ban info from CareFirst BC/BS
Cholestin(TM) was originally marketed as a non-prescription dietary supplement; on 5/20/98, the FDA announced that Cholestin(TM) was an unapproved drug, and, therefore, cannot be marketed as a dietary supplement. In May 1997, the FDA detained a shipment of Chinese red yeast used in the manufacturing of Cholestin(TM); Pharmanex challenged FDA's decision in court; a hearing on 6/15/98 in the district court of Utah overturned the FDA ban and allowed Pharmanex the right to import red yeast rice and distribute Cholestin(TM) as a dietary supplement (press release 5/20/98).
Edited for additional info:
Source: Fred Meyer.com
Active constituents: In addition to rice starch, protein, fiber, sterols, and fatty acids, red yeast rice contains numerous active constituents, including monacolin K, dihydromonacolin, and monacolin I to VI.
Researchers have determined that one of the ingredients in red yeast rice, called monacolin K, inhibits the production of cholesterol by stopping the action of a key enzyme in the liver (e.g., HMG-CoA reductase) that is responsible for manufacturing cholesterol.6 The drug lovastatin (Me****r®) acts in a similar fashion to this red yeast rice ingredient. However, the amount per volume of monacolin K in red yeast rice is small (0.2% per 5 mg) when compared to the 20–40 mg of lovastatin available as a prescription drug.7 This has prompted researchers to suggest that red yeast rice may have other ingredients, such as sterols, that might also contribute to lowering cholesterol.