Red-yeast cholesterol fighters can be worthless

Manufacturers don’t report quantities of active ingredients, which can be next to nil, or the presence of fungal toxins

By Janet Raloff, 11:45 AM October 26, 2010

A little more than a decade ago, a federal court ruled that over-the-counter red-yeast rice products were not drugs — despite the fact that these products contained naturally occurring chemicals that were functionally indistinguishable from lovastatin, a cholesterol-lowering prescription drug. And so a major dietary supplement industry was born. By 2008, Americans were spending $20 million a year on red-yeast rice products, many on their doctor’s recommendation (and perhaps even via their doc...

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