Free Shipping on All Orders $75 Or More!

Your Trusted Brand for Over 35 Years

Life Extension Magazine

<< Back to March 2010

Red Yeast Rice

March 2010

Effect of xuezhikang, a cholestin extract, on reflecting postprandial triglyceridemia after a high-fat meal in patients with coronary heart disease.

The effect of xuezhikang on postprandial triglyceride (TG) level was investigated in patients with coronary heart disease (CHD) after a high-fat meal (800 cal; 50 g fat). Fifty CHD patients were randomly divided into two groups to accept xuezhikang (xuezhikang group) 1,200 mg/day (600 mg twice daily) or not (control group) on the base of routine therapy which included aspirin, metoprolol and fosinopril and nitrates during the whole 6 weeks following-up. Xuezhikang significantly reduced fasting serum total cholesterol (TC) (-20%), low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C, -34%), TG (-32%) and apoB (-27%) levels, and raised fasting high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C, 18%) and apoA-I (13%) levels (P<0.001). The postprandial serum TG levels at 2, 4, and 6 h decreased 32, 38, and 43%, respectively, in xuezhikang group (P<0.001). The TG area under the curve over the fasting TG level (TG-AUC) significantly decreased in CHD patients accepted xuezhikang with normal (less than 1.7 mmol/l) and elevated (1.74 to 2.92 mmol/l) fasting TG levels by 45 and 50%, respectively (P<0.001). Routine therapy had no significant effect on the fasting and postprandial lipid and apolipoprotein levels. The change of TG-AUC was significantly related to the changes of fasting TG, TC, LDL-C, and HDL-C levels after the treatment, which were related to the changes of fasting apoA-I and apoB levels significantly (P<0.001). Xuezhikang was shown to be beneficial in the treatment of reflecting postprandial triglyceridemia in CHD patients with normal and mildly elevated fasting TG levels.

Atherosclerosis. 2003 Jun;168(2):375-80.

Lipoprotein changes induced by pantethine in hyperlipoproteinemic patients: adults and children.

Following a brief outline of current knowledge concerning atherosclerosis and its treatment, the authors describe the results obtained by treating with pantethine (900-1,200 mg daily for 3 to 6 months) a series of 7 children and 65 adults suffering from hypercholesterolemia alone or associated with hypertriglyceridemia (types IIa and IIb of Fredrickson’s classification). Pantethine treatment produced significant reduction of the better known risk factors (total cholesterol, LDL-cholesterol, triglycerides, and apo-B) and a significant increase of HDL-cholesterol (signally HDL2) and apolipoprotein A-I. The authors conclude with a discussion of these results and of the possible role of pantethine in the treatment of hyperlipoproteinemia, in view of its perfect tolerability and demonstrated therapeutic effectiveness.

Int J Clin Pharmacol Ther Toxicol. 1986 Nov;24(11):630-7.

Plant sterols are efficacious in lowering plasma LDL and non-HDL cholesterol in hypercholesterolemic type 2 diabetic and nondiabetic persons.

BACKGROUND: Because of hyperglycemia and hyperinsulinemia, diabetic persons have higher cholesterol synthesis and lower cholesterol absorption rates than do nondiabetic persons. Differences in plant sterol efficacy between diabetic and nondiabetic persons have not been examined. OBJECTIVE: The objective was to compare the degree of response of plasma lipid concentrations and glycemic control to plant sterol consumption in a controlled diet between hypercholesterolemic type 2 diabetic and nondiabetic subjects. DESIGN: Fifteen nondiabetic subjects and 14 diabetic subjects participated in a double-blinded, randomized, crossover, placebo-controlled feeding trial. The diet included 1.8 g/d of either plant sterols or cornstarch placebo over 21 d, separated by a 28-d washout period. RESULTS: Plant sterol consumption significantly reduced (P < 0.05) LDL-cholesterol concentrations from baseline in both nondiabetic and diabetic subjects by 15.1% and 26.8%, respectively. The diabetic subjects had significantly (P < 0.05) lower absolute concentrations of total cholesterol after treatment than did the nondiabetic subjects; however, there was no significant difference in the percentage change from the beginning to the end of the trial. There was also a significant decrease (P < 0.05) in absolute non-HDL-cholesterol concentrations after treatment in both groups. CONCLUSIONS: The results showed that plant sterols are efficacious in lowering LDL cholesterol and non-HDL cholesterol in both diabetic and nondiabetic persons. Plant sterol consumption may exist as a dietary management strategy for hypercholesterolemia in persons with type 2 diabetes.

Am J Clin Nutr. 2005 Jun;81(6):1351-8.

Acute administration of red yeast rice (Monascus purpureus) depletes tissue coenzyme Q(10) levels in ICR mice.

In this study, we attempted to evaluate the effect of administration of a high quantity of red yeast rice on coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) synthesis in the tissues of ICR mice. Eighty-eight adult male ICR mice were housed and divided into control and experimental groups for red yeast rice treatment. Animals were gavaged with a low (1 g/kg body weight) or a high dose (5 g/kg body weight, approximately five times the typical recommended human dose) of red yeast rice dissolved in soyabean oil. After gavagement, animals of the control group were immediately killed; mice of the experimental groups (eight for each subgroup) were killed at different time intervals of 0.5, 1, 1.5, 4, and 24 h. The liver, heart and kidney were taken for analysis of monacolin K (liver only) and CoQ10 analysis. Liver and heart CoQ10 levels declined dramatically in both groups administered red yeast rice, especially in the high-dose group, within 30 min. After 24 h, the levels of hepatic and cardiac CoQ10 were still reduced. A similar trend was also observed in the heart, but the inhibitory effect began after 90 min. The higher dose of red yeast rice presented a greater suppressive effect than did the lower dose on tissue CoQ10 levels. In conclusion, acute red yeast rice gavage suppressed hepatic and cardiac CoQ10 levels in rodents; furthermore, the inhibitory effect was responsive to the doses administered.

Br J Nutr. 2005 Jan;93(1):131-5.

Rhabdomyolysis due to red yeast rice (Monascus purpureus) in a renal transplant recipient.

Rhabdomyolysis is a known complication of hepatic 3-methylglutaryl coenzyme A reductase (HMG-CoA) inhibitor (statin) therapy for posttransplant hyperlipidemia, and thus monitoring for this effect is indicated. We report a case of an herbal preparation-induced rhabdomyolysis in a stable renal-transplant recipient, attributed to the presence of red yeast rice (Monascus purpureus) within the mixture. The condition resolved when consumption of the product ceased. Rice fermented with red yeast contains several types of mevinic acids, including monacolin K, which is identical to lovastatin. We postulate that the interaction of cyclosporine and these compounds through the cytochrome P450 system resulted in the adverse effect seen in this patient. Transplant recipients must be cautioned against using herbal preparations to lower their lipid levels to prevent such complications from occurring.

Transplantation. 2002 Oct 27;74(8):1200-1.

Statin-associated peripheral neuropathy: review of the literature.

Various pharmacologic agents are available for the treatment of hypercholesterolemia, including 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl coenzyme A (HMG-CoA) reductase inhibitors, commonly referred to as statins, which offer favorable lipid-lowering effects and reductions in morbidity and mortality. Statins are usually better tolerated than other lipid-lowering agents and therefore have become a mainstay of treatment for hypercholesterolemia. However, recent case reports of peripheral neuropathy in patients treated with statins may have gone unnoticed by health care professionals. To evaluate the possible link between statins and peripheral neuropathy, literature searches using MEDLINE (January 1993--November 2003) and International Pharmaceutical Abstracts (January 1970--June 2002) were performed. Key search terms were statin, neuropathy, and HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors. Based on epidemiologic studies as well as case reports, a risk of peripheral neuropathy associated with statin use may exist; however, the risk appears to be minimal. On the other hand, the benefits of statins are firmly established. These findings should alert prescribers to a potential risk of peripheral neuropathy in patients receiving any of the statins; that is, statins should be considered the cause of peripheral neuropathy when other etiologies have been excluded.

Pharmacotherapy. 2004 Sep;24(9):1194-203.

Physician response to patient reports of adverse drug effects: implications for patient-targeted adverse effect surveillance.

OBJECTIVE: Using a patient targeted survey, we sought to assess patient representations of how physicians responded when patients presented with possible adverse drug reactions (ADRs). As a demonstration case, we took one widely prescribed drug class, the HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors (‘statins’). This information was used to assess whether a patient-targeted ADR surveillance approach may complement provider reporting, potentially fostering identification of additional patients with possible or probable ADRs. METHODS: A total of 650 adult patients taking statins with self-reported ADRs completed a survey. Depending on the problems reported, some patients completed additional surveys specific to the most commonly cited statin ADRs: muscle, cognitive or neuropathy related. Patients were asked to report drug, dose, ADR character, time course of onset with drug, recovery with discontinuation, recurrence with rechallenge, quality-of-life impact, and interactions with their physician in relation to the perceived ADR. This paper focuses on patients’ representation of the doctor-patient interaction and physicians’ attribution, when patients report perceived ADRs. RESULTS: Eighty-seven percent of patients reportedly spoke to their physician about the possible connection between statin use and their symptom. Patients reported that they and not the doctor most commonly initiated the discussion regarding the possible connection of drug to symptom (98% vs 2% cognition survey, 96% vs 4% neuropathy survey, 86% vs 14% muscle survey; p < 10(-8) for each). Physicians were reportedly more likely to deny than affirm the possibility of a connection. Rejection of a possible connection was reported to occur even for symptoms with strong literature support for a drug connection, and even in patients for whom the symptom met presumptive literature-based criteria for probable or definite drug-adverse effect causality. Assuming that physicians would not likely report ADRs in these instances, these patient-submitted ADR reports suggest that targeting patients may boost the yield of ADR reporting systems. CONCLUSIONS: Since low reporting rates are considered to contribute to delays in identification of ADRs, findings from this study suggest that additional putative cases may be identified by targeting patients as reporters, potentially speeding recognition of ADRs.

Drug Saf. 2007;30(8):669-75.

Are users of lipid-lowering drugs at increased risk of peripheral neuropathy?

OBJECTIVE: To estimate the risk of peripheral neuropathy associated with use of lipid-lowering drugs. METHODS: Population-based dynamic cohort study based on data from general practices in the United Kingdom from 1991 to 1997. Three cohorts of individuals aged 40-74 years were identified: a cohort of 17,219 persons who received at least one prescription for lipid-lowering drugs in the period; a second cohort of patients with a hyperlipidaemia diagnosis who had not been prescribed lipid-lowering drugs (n = 28,974) and a third cohort comprised of 50,000 individuals from the general population. The incidence rates of peripheral neuropathy in the three cohorts were calculated and the relative risk of peripheral neuropathy in users of lipid-lowering drugs was compared with non-users from the general population cohort. RESULTS: The incidence rate of idiopathic peripheral neuropathy in users of lipid-lowering drugs was higher [0.73 per 10,000 person-years, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.01-2.62] than in the hyperlipidaemia non-treated cohort (0.40 per 10,000 person-years, CI 0.05-1.46) and the general population cohort (0.46 per 10,000 person-years, CI 0.13-1.18). The raised risk of idiopathic peripheral neuropathy in users of lipid-lowering drugs was confined to current users of statins (relative risk 2.5, CI 0.3-14.2). These figures suggest one excess case of neuropathy for every 14,000 person-years of statin treatment. CONCLUSIONS: Because of the wide CIs, these results are inconclusive and should be interpreted with caution. However, although peripheral neuropathy as an adverse effect of the use of lipid-lowering drugs cannot be excluded, the magnitude of this untoward effect appears to be small.

Eur J Clin Pharmacol. 2001 Mar;56(12):931-3.

FDA adverse event reports on statin-associated rhabdomyolysis.

OBJECTIVE: To determine the number of cases of statin-associated rhabdomyolysis reported to the Food and Drug Administration for 6 statins and to profile the cases. METHODS: A retrospective analysis of all domestic and foreign reports of statin-associated rhabdomyolysis between November 1997 and March 2000 was conducted. Outcome measures included the total number of reports (initial plus follow-up), the number of unique cases, age, gender, percentages of report codes and role codes, and frequencies of concomitant interacting drugs that may have precipitated rhabdomyolysis, outcomes codes, and report source codes. RESULTS: There were 871 reports of statin-associated rhabdomyolysis in the 29-month time frame examined, representing 601 cases. The following number of cases were associated with each of the individual statins: simvastatin, 215 (35.8%); cerivastatin, 192 (31.9%); atorvastatin, 73 (12.2%); pravastatin, 71 (11.8%); lovastatin, 40 (6.7%); and fluvastatin, 10 (1.7%). Drugs that may have interacted with the statins were present in the following number of cases: mibefradil (n = 99), fibrates (n = 80), cyclosporine (n = 51), macrolide antibiotics (n = 42), warfarin (n = 33), digoxin (n = 26), and azole antifungals (n = 12). The reports of 62.1% of cases were classified as expedited. Statins were designated as the primary suspect in 72.0% of the cases. Death was listed as the outcome in 38 cases. The majority of reports (n = 556) were from health professionals. CONCLUSIONS: Compared with the other statins, simvastatin and cerivastatin were implicated in a relatively higher number of reports. Because of the various limitations of a spontaneous reporting-system database, caution is urged when interpreting the relative number of cases reported.

Ann Pharmacother. 2002 Feb;36(2):288-95.

Withdrawal of statins increases event rates in patients with acute coronary syndromes.

BACKGROUND: HMG-CoA Reductase Inhibitors (statins) reduce cardiac event rates in patients with stable coronary heart disease. Withdrawal of chronic statin treatment during acute coronary syndromes may impair vascular function independent of lipid-lowering effects and thus increase cardiac event rate. METHODS AND RESULTS: We investigated the effects of statins on the cardiac event rate in 1,616 patients of the Platelet Receptor Inhibition in Ischemic Syndrome Management (PRISM) study who had coronary artery disease and chest pain in the previous 24 hours. We recorded death and nonfatal myocardial infarction during the 30-day follow-up. Baseline clinical characteristics did not differ among 1,249 patients without statin therapy, 379 patients with continued statin therapy, and 86 patients with discontinued statin therapy after hospitalization. Statin therapy was associated with a reduced event rate at 30-day follow-up compared with patients without statins (adjusted hazard ratio, 0.49 [95% CI, 0.21 to 0.86]; P=0.004). If the statin therapy was withdrawn after admission, cardiac risk increased compared with patients who continued to receive statins (2.93 [95% CI, 1.64 to 6.27]; P=0.005) and tended to be higher compared with patients who never received statins (1.69 [95% CI, 0.92 to 3.56]; P=0.15). This was related to an increased event rate during the first week after onset of symptoms and was independent of cholesterol levels. In a multivariate model, troponin T elevation (P=0.005), ST changes (P=0.02), and continuation of statin therapy (P=0.008) were the only independent predictors of patient outcome. CONCLUSIONS: Statin pretreatment in patients with acute coronary syndromes is associated with improved clinical outcome. However, discontinuation of statins after onset of symptoms completely abrogates this beneficial effect.

Circulation. 2002 Mar 26;105(12):1446-52.

Nicotinic acid: recent developments.

PURPOSE OF REVIEW: To review the recent progress in niacin research that is made in two major areas: new preparations to decrease flushing and niacin’s mechanism of action. RECENT FINDINGS: Flushing, an adverse effect of niacin, results from GPR109A-mediated production of prostaglandin D2 and E2 in Langerhans’ cells which act on DP1 and EP2/4 receptors in dermal capillaries causing their vasodilatation. DP1 receptor antagonist (laropiprant) attenuates the niacin flush in animals and humans. A reformulated preparation of extended-release niacin lowers flushing compared with the extended-release niacin (Niaspan, Abbott Laboratories, Chicago, Illinois, USA). Aspirin pretreatment attenuates flushing from Niaspan. Recent data on niacin’s mechanism of action indicate that it directly inhibits hepatic diacylglycerolacyl transferase 2 resulting in an inhibition of triglyceride synthesis and decreased apolipoprotein B-containing lipoproteins; niacin, by inhibiting the surface expression of hepatic ATP synthase beta chain, decreases the hepatic holoparticle high-density lipoprotein catabolism and raises high-density lipoprotein levels; and niacin increases redox potential in arterial endothelial cells resulting in the inhibition of redox-sensitive genes. SUMMARY: Recent developments suggest that the niacin receptor GPR109A is involved in flushing, but it does not explain multiple actions of niacin. Actions of niacin on diacylglycerolacyl transferase 2, ATP synthase beta chain, and redox state may explain the multiple actions of niacin.

Curr Opin Cardiol. 2008 Jul;23(4):393-8.

Niacin: an old drug rejuvenated.

Niacin has long been used in the treatment of dyslipidemia and cardiovascular disease. Recent research on niacin has been focused on understanding the mechanism of action of niacin and preparation of safer niacin formulations. New findings indicate that niacin does the following: 1) it inhibits hepatic diacylglycerol acyltransferase 2, resulting in inhibition of triglyceride synthesis and decreased apolipoprotein B-containing lipoproteins; 2) it decreases the surface expression of hepatic adenosine triphosphate synthase beta-chain, leading to decreased holoparticle high-density lipoprotein catabolism and increased high-density lipoprotein levels; and 3) it increases redox potential in arterial endothelial cells, resulting in inhibition of redox-sensitive genes. Flushing, an adverse effect of niacin, results from niacin receptor GPR109A-mediated production of prostaglandin D2 and E2 via DP1 and EP2/4 receptors. DP1 receptor antagonist (laropiprant) attenuates the niacin flush. A reformulated preparation of extended-release niacin (Niaspan; Abbott, Abbott Park, IL) lowers flushing compared with an older Niaspan formulation. These advancements in niacin research have rejuvenated its use for the treatment of dyslipidemia and cardiovascular disease.

Curr Atheroscler Rep. 2009 Jan;11(1):45-51.

Mechanism of action of niacin.

Nicotinic acid (niacin) has long been used for the treatment of lipid disorders and cardiovascular disease. Niacin favorably affects apolipoprotein (apo) B-containing lipoproteins (eg, very-low-density lipoprotein [VLDL], low-density lipoprotein [LDL], lipoprotein[a]) and increases apo A-I-containing lipoproteins (high-density lipoprotein [HDL]). Recently, new discoveries have enlarged our understanding of the mechanism of action of niacin and challenged older concepts. There are new data on (1) how niacin affects triglycerides (TGs) and apo B-containing lipoprotein metabolism in the liver, (2) how it affects apo A-I and HDL metabolism, (3) how it affects vascular anti-inflammatory events, (4) a specific niacin receptor in adipocytes and immune cells, (5) how niacin causes flushing, and (6) the characterization of a niacin transport system in liver and intestinal cells. New findings indicate that niacin directly and noncompetitively inhibits hepatocyte diacylglycerol acyltransferase-2, a key enzyme for TG synthesis. The inhibition of TG synthesis by niacin results in accelerated intracellular hepatic apo B degradation and the decreased secretion of VLDL and LDL particles. Previous kinetic studies in humans and recent in vitro cell culture findings indicate that niacin retards mainly the hepatic catabolism of apo A-I (vs apo A-II) but not scavenger receptor BI-mediated cholesterol esters. Decreased HDL-apo A-I catabolism by niacin explains the increases in HDL half-life and concentrations of lipoprotein A-I HDL subfractions, which augment reverse cholesterol transport. Initial data suggest that niacin, by inhibiting the hepatocyte surface expression of beta-chain adenosine triphosphate synthase (a recently reported HDL-apo A-I holoparticle receptor), inhibits the removal of HDL-apo A-I. Recent studies indicate that niacin increases vascular endothelial cell redox state, resulting in the inhibition of oxidative stress and vascular inflammatory genes, key cytokines involved in atherosclerosis. The niacin flush results from the stimulation of prostaglandins D(2) and E(2) by subcutaneous Langerhans cells via the G protein-coupled receptor 109A niacin receptor. Although decreased free fatty acid mobilization from adipose tissue via the G protein-coupled receptor 109A niacin receptor has been a widely suggested mechanism of niacin to decrease TGs, physiologically and clinically, this pathway may be only a minor factor in explaining the lipid effects of niacin.

Am J Cardiol. 2008 Apr 17;101(8A):20B-26B.