What is it?
Red yeast is a health supplement that is formed from rice fermented with monascus purpureus yeast to produce chemicals which is similar to anti-cholesterol drugs statins that help lower bad cholesterol (LDL and Triglycerides). It is not the red yeast rice that one can buy from groceries, do not be mistaken.
There are research conducted to prove that lactobacillus help to reduce bad cholesterol (LDL and triglycerides) and reduce the risk of heart diseases.
Possible side effects
At normal dosing it is safe for most people. Pregnant and lactating woman should not take red yeast as it is unsafe.
As red yeast contain similar contents like statins it may have similar possible side effects like statins. This include muscle pain (myalgia), muscle damage (only at very high doses as per statins) and transaminitis (liver inflammation at very high doses just like statins).
Patients with liver diseases should avoid red yeast as like statins it may worsen the liver function.
Alcohol: As alcohol affects liver function which is similar to red yeast , they should not be consumed together.
Cyclosporin affects muscle function and causes muscle damage hence it cannot be taken with red yeast which will also affect muscle.
Hepatotoxic drugs which will harm the liver should not be taken with red yeast as the latter also affects liver function and may add on to the harmful effects.
Cytochrome P450 3A4 (CYP3A4) inhibitors which slows down the metabolism of red yeast in the liver may increase the side effects of the red yeast.
Cholesterol lowering medications when taken together with red yeast which has similar effects may worsen the side effects.
Based on scientific research: