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Chinese Red Yeast Rice May Prevent Heart Attack
Date:6/13/2008

It significantly lowers cholesterol, researchers say

FRIDAY, June 13 (HealthDay News) -- People who have had a heart attack may be able to reduce the risk of another attack by 45 percent by taking a purified extract of Chinese red yeast rice, a new study suggests.

What's more, the need for bypass surgery or angioplasty was reduced by one third, and death from cancer was reduced by two-thirds among those taking the extract, called Xuezhikang (XZK).

"A purified form of Chinese red yeast rice significantly reduced the risk of having another heart attack," said lead researcher Dr. David M. Capuzzi, director of the Cardiovascular Disease Prevention Program at the Myrna Brind Center of Integrative Medicine at Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia.

Although the results of the study are encouraging, people shouldn't run out and start taking Chinese red yeast rice to prevent heart attacks, Capuzzi said. He noted that the Chinese red yeast rice in health-food stores isn't pure. "This particular preparation [used in the study] was made by a biotech company. So the purity of the components was assured," he said.

In the study, almost 5,000 people in China who'd had a heart attack were randomly selected to receive capsules containing XZK or a placebo. The XZK capsules contained a combination of lovastatin, lovastatin hydroxyl acid, ergosterol, and other components, the report said.

During five years of follow-up, the researchers found that 10.4 percent of those receiving a placebo had a second heart attack, compared with 5.7 percent of those receiving XZK.

Also, those treated with XZK were 30 percent less likely to die from a cardiovascular problem and 33 percent less likely to die from any cause. And the need heart surgery or angioplasty was reduced by one third, the researchers reported.

The findings are published in the June 15 issue of the American Journal of Cardiology
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