The C.A.M. Report
Complementary and Alternative Medicine: Fair, Balanced, and to the Point
  • About this web log

    This blog ran from 2006 to 2016 and was intended as an objective and dispassionate source of information on the latest CAM research. Since my background is in pharmacy and allopathic medicine, I view all CAM as advancing through the development pipeline to eventually become integrated into mainstream medical practice. Some will succeed while others fail. But all are treated fairly here.

  • About the author

    John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at, a complementary and alternative medicine website.

  • Common sense considerations

    The material on this weblog is for informational purposes. It is not medical advice or counsel. Be smart, consult your health professional before using CAM.

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    ConsumerLab rates red yeast rice supplements

    Red yeast rice can lower LDL (bad) cholesterol.

    However, ConsumerLab tests reveal that the levels of cholesterol-lowering statin compounds in red yeast rice products vary by more than 100-fold — with some products having hardly any.

    Products sold under the Solaray, Natural Balance, and VegLife brands contained levels of lovastatin within the range that the FDA considers naturally occurring and safe.

    What’s concerning is that a potential kidney toxin, citrinin, was found in 4 of the products — the 3 listed above and Walgreens.

    None of the products contained lead.

    ConsumerLab also tested products from 21st Century, Cholestene, Chole-sterin, Healthy America, Nature’s Plus, and Schiff. Across the 10 products, levels of monacolins per pill ranged from 0.3 mg up to 10.6 mg.

    Monacolins, the substances of interest in red yeast rice, are a group of fungal metabolites. Among 10 monacolins identified, monacolin K is chemically identical to the drug lovastatin (Mevacor) — the first LDL (bad) cholesterol-lowering drug in the statin class of pharmaceuticals.

    A good review of red yeast rice and related topics can be found here.

    A company called Nutraceutical, which manufactures the 3 brands containing citrinin, as well as the FDA-approved levels of lovastatin, has responded to the ConsumerLab report.

    8/9/08 15:36 JR

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