Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Supplement may be statin alternative for some

It seems that when combined with diet and lifestyle changes, red yeast rice supplements can lower LDL, or bad cholesterol, levels by more than 20 percent without a substantial risk of muscle pain (also known as myalgia), according to a study published Monday in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

Although these and other results are promising (in a previous study led by Becker, a combination of red yeast rice and fish oil outperformed simvastatin, the generic version of Zocor), people with high cholesterol shouldn't race to the vitamin store just yet. Red yeast rice is "not a panacea for all people with statin-association myalgias," Becker cautions. In some patients, the supplements may cause a recurrence of muscle pain, or other serious muscle problems that are more difficult to detect.
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