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Treatment of High Cholesterol in Children with Red Yeast Rice
By Chrystal Moulton, June 28, 2011, abstracted from: The treatment of hypercholesterolemic children: Efficacy and safety of a combination of red yeast rice extract and policosonals from 2011 issue of Nutrition, Metabolism & Cardiovascular Diseases.
In the United States, high cholesterol and heart disease pose as a major problem. An estimated 81,100,000 American adults suffer from some form of heart disease. Furthermore the estimated direct and indirect cost of treating heart disease for 2010 is $503.2 billion.1 Researchers and medical professionals alike have been looking for ways to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease from an early age since, it is already known that changes in lipids leading to high cholesterol begin in childhood. Even more, research has demonstrated that in families with a history of high cholesterol, children have a higher risk of developing high cholesterol and heart disease in adulthood.2 In these children early onset of cholesterol problems are eminent even in their youth.
A more natural remedy used for centuries by the Chinese as a food additive known as red yeast rice has proven effective in lowering lipid levels in adults. Nevertheless, red yeast rice had not been tested in children, especially those with premature cholesterol problems due to family history.3
Therefore, in a recent study, 40 children who were identified as having high cholesterol were supplemented with 200mg red yeast rice extract or rice powder in order to test the safety and effectiveness of red yeast rice in children. The extract consisted of 3mg of lovastatin, 2mg of CoQ10, .5mg of astaxanthin, and .2mg of folic acid. The children and their parents were first instructed to take the supplement one hour before dinner daily for 8 weeks. After a 4 week washout period, the children switched to the other treatment for another 8 weeks. Researchers took blood samples at the beginning and end of each treatment period (8 week) to measure cholesterol levels before and after treatment. Researchers measured total cholesterol levels, triglycerides, low-density lipoprotein levels (LDL-bad cholesterol), high-density lipoprotein levels (HDL-good cholesterol), as well as ApoA and B levels.3 ApoA and B levels formally called apolipoprotein A and B is a marker that can tell how much an individual is at risk for developing heart disease. High ApoB levels indicates a high risk of developing heart disease.4
Thirty-eight children completed the trial. Among them, researchers found significant reductions in total cholesterol by 18.5%, LDL levels by 25.1%, and apolipoprotein B by 25.3%. There were no adverse events were reported.4 Therefore in children with combined risk for high cholesterol, red yeast rice may be an effective treatment to prevent high cholesterol and lower the risk of heart disease.

1.  Heart disease and stroke statistics: 2010 Update At-A-Glance. American Heart Association.
2.  Lauer RM, Lee J, Clarke WR. Factors affecting the relationship between childhood and adult cholesterol levels: the Muscatine Study. Pediatrics. 1988 Sep;82(3):309-18.
3.  Guardamagna O, Abello F, Baracco V, Stasiowska B, Martino F. The treatment of hypercholesterolemic children: Efficacy and safety of a combination of red yeast rice extract and policosanols. Nutr Metab Cardiovasc Dis. 2011 Jun;21(6):424-9. Epub 2010 Feb 12.
4.  Brookes, Linda, The apo B/A-I Ratio -- A Stronger Predictor of Cardiovascular Events Than LDL, HDL, or Total Cholesterol, Triglycerides, or Lipid Ratios, Medscape News Today, posted 07/28/2006