Monacolin K, a component of red yeast rice, is a statin. Statin drugs have been used to lower cholesterol levels and triacylglyceride levels in congestive heart disease patients. A side effect of statins may be a reduction of blood levels of CoQ-10. CoQ-10 is involved in cell metabolism and is an antioxidant.
In this study, a high dose of red yeast rice (5 g/kg body weight) was given to a group of mice and compared to mice given a low dose of red yeast rice (1 g/kg body weight.) The animals were sacrificed and the livers, hearts and kidneys were studied. They were studied for, both, monacolin K and CoQ-10 levels.
Monacolin K levels in the mice remained high for 1 day after the treatments with red yeast rice. Monacolin K levels in animals are inversely related to liver and heart CoQ-10 levels.
CoQ-10 levels of all tissues were reduced following treatment with red yeast rice, especially at the highest dose. The liver levels were reduced at 30 minutes. The liver and heart levels were still reduced at 24 hours.
CONCLUSION: Acute doses of red yeast rice in rats resulted in suppression of CoQ-10 levels in heart and liver, in a dose related fashion. Low CoQ-10 levels are a side effect of red yeast rice.
NOTE: Red yeast rice is Monascus purpureus. Statin drugs are known to be able to cause myopathy (muscle disease.) Red yeast rice is, also, thought to be capable of causing myopathy. It is not known if CoQ-10 can prevent statin-related myopathy. Read about muscle disease caused by red yeast rice and licorice.
Triacylglyceride is the same as triglyceride.
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