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High Cholesterol Message Board

High Cholesterol Board Index

It seems as if I'm going to have to stop taking Niaspan, as increasing the dosage started giving me heart palpitations, stomach aches and a bit of insomnia. Low dose Niaspan wasn't helping, so my doctor wants me to drop it. My doc suggested either trying red yeast rice or Zocor. My HDL is what really needs improvement, but I guess at this stage I guess I am just aiming to reduce LDL/tryglycerides some, and hope for the best.

Now, as to red yeast rice... I'm not so concerned about safety regarding monocolin K (lovastatin), as past studies with RYR show it's very safe. And low (to no) doses in current supplements probably makes it a moot point anyway.

But the quality of the RYR, along with contamination + safety of the product in general does concern me. What I've gathered so far, when contacting several manufacturers:

It's very difficult to get full info and sometimes their answers are rather vague and seemingly trying to avoid the questions. Of the companies I did get info from:

Now Foods gave the most info, stating:

The red yeast rice contain naturally occuring monacolin K, generally
having about 0.06-0.10% Monacolin K. To have an exact amount, the red
yeast rice would have to be standardized, which we can not do per FDA.
NOW(r) Red Yeast Rice Extract is carefully produced to avoid the
presence of citrinin, a sometimes toxic by-product of the fermentation

After another email, they stated their product does contain other monacolins too (but no mention of specific ones), and the product is sourced from China.

Next up, Natures Way. Their product comes from China too, but they wouldn't mention anything regarding their monacolin content at all. They said their legal team wouldn't allow it (a bit peculiar to me). They did mention a lot of info about their quality control though.

I contacted Nature's Plus, and they sent me a canned email response, asking me to call them. I had to call them twice to get any info, and got some girl who seemed a bit confused whenever I asked her anything. She said their product is sourced from the U.S., but it contains no monacolin K at all.

And finally, contacted Kyolic, who makes a good aged garlic product. Their representative said they are discontinuing it, and she provided no further info.

I tried emailing several other companies too, including the makers of Cholestene and Doctor's Best, but neither responded.

So... I still don't know which brand to try. The better companies in regard to product safety and reputation (Now Foods and Nature's Way) both source their red yeast from China. I am pretty sure that each have decent quality control, however.

Nature's Plus and Doctor's Best both (according to what they state) source their red yeast from the U.S. But I'm not sure if Nature's Plus would be considered in the same league as Now, Jarrow, AOR, etc. regarding quality control.

And Doctor's Best might be okay, but for some reason they put soy grits in each capsule... no clue if it's GMO soy or not.

What brands would people here recommend? I know I've seen mention of the Nature's Plus product before. Anyone have additional info regarding what is actually in specific brands of RYR?


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