Red yeast rice, a traditional Chinese medicine, is made by growing yeast on white rice. Red yeast rice may contain adequate levels of certain active ingredients that can help lower both blood cholesterol and total cholesterol levels and, therefore, promote heart health. These compounds have been studied and found to be virtually identical with ingredients used in prescription medications for high cholesterol.
Its ability to lower LDL cholesterol levels also gives red yeast the potential to help treat metabolic syndrome and, as a result, reduce the risk of diabetes, heart disease, and stroke. Evidence from several studies have also shown that red yeast rice can reduce the growth and spread of cancer cells.
However, some people may also experience side effects when consuming red yeast rice; these include bloating, gas, stomach pain, and other gastrointestinal issues.