Home > Diet and nutrition > Vitamins, minerals and supplements Updated 21 June 2013 Red yeast rice can help lower cholesterol Red yeast rice has been used for centuries as a Chinese traditional medicine and has now been recognised for its cholesterol lowering effects by the influential European Food Safety Authority (EFSA). 0 iStock Related Red yeast rice (Monascus purpureus) Cholesterol out of control in South Africa 10 tips to lower your cholesterol Check Glycaemic index tool » Count Calorie counter » Quiz Ready for weight loss? » Ask DietDoc » Why dehydration is making you fat and sick The lowdown on low-carbs Red yeast rice has been used for centuries as a Chinese traditional medicine and has now been recognised for its cholesterol lowering effects by the influential European Food Safety Authority (EFSA).It is estimated than over five million South Africans are at risk of cardiovascular disease partly due to high cholesterol levels and about 50% of all heart attacks are associated with high cholesterol.Red yeast rice is bright red fermented rice used in traditional Chinese medicine to invigorate the body, aid in digestion and revitalise the blood. It is also used to add colour to various food products.Red yeast rice is found in Diabecinn Cholesterol, a food supplement that also contains a unique water-based cinnamon extract for regulating blood sugar and cholesterol levels which is available in SA. The red yeast rice extract in Diabecinn Cholesterol is aimed at lowering total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol and triglyceride levels. It may also help raise HDL (good) cholesterol, according to the manufacturers and distributors, OTC Pharma International.Now, the European Food Safety Authority has accepted that red yeast rice has a cholesterol lowering affect and has recognised it as a safe remedy with no side effects. According to the EFSA Journal the major active ingredient in red yeast rice, monacolin K, is beneficial to maintaining normal blood LDL-cholesterol levels.The EFSA accepted two studies which investigated the effects of monacolin K on blood LDL-cholesterol levels and concluded that “a cause and effect relationship has been established between the consumption of monacolin K in red yeast rice preparations...and maintenance of normal blood LDL-cholesterol concentrations”.Cholesterol expert to visit South AfricaConsultant to OTC Pharma International and one of Europe's leading holistic practitioners on cholesterol and diabetes, Dr Geert Verhelst, will present on red yeast rice, cholesterol and diabetes type 2 an SA seminar and media tour in August 2013.Belgium-based Dr Verhelst is in great demand in Europe for his holistic approach to preventing and treating diabetes and high cholesterol levels. He is a trained physician (qualified as an MD in 1984) a medical homeopath and an author. His most prominent work is the acclaimed Dutch "Groot Handbook GeneeskrachtigePlanten", widely regarded as the authority on medicinal plants in parts of Europe. He is also a sought after scientific consultant in the development, legislation and registration of food supplements based on medicinal plants and nutrients, a medical journalist for several European periodicals and he lectures in Phytotherapy at the Levensschool in Tongerlo, Belgium. He will present seminars to the health trade in Johannesburg, Durban and Cape Town from August 12 to 18, 2013 and will focus on the following:Cholesterol – managing high levels with safe measures.Red Yeast Rice and its impact on cholesterol levels.Type 2 diabetes – latest SA and global statistics.Latest measures to combat high cholesterol and diabetes type 2.For more info, call Craig Doonan (083 463 1827) or Sam Logan (083 334 8091) on 021 785 3683. More in Diet and nutrition Insulin resistance and weight loss: does antagolin work? 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