ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Obesity May Raise Kids' Allergy Risk
Keep Asthma, Allergies at Bay for the Holidays
Air Quality Better in Northeast, Midwest
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Relaxation Tapes or Mozart Lower Blood Pressure
Awareness of Alternative Therapies May Be Lacking
Fish Oil's Benefits Remain Elusive
ANIMAL CARE
'Comfort Dogs' Come to Emotional Rescue
Beware of Dog Bites
Animals Respond to Acupuncture's Healing Touch
BONES & JOINTS
Yoga Can Ease Lower Back Pain
Rheumatoid Arthritis Hits Women Harder
Tequila Plant May Help Fight Bone Loss
CANCER
Selenium, Omega-3s May Stave Off Colorectal Cancer
Green Tea May Help Prevent Oral Cancer
Yoga Eases Sleep Problems Among Cancer Survivors
CAREGIVING
Timing May Matter in Organ Donation Decisions
Late-Life Fatherhood May Lower Child's Intelligence
Reduce Suffering, Urge Heart Failure Patients and Caregivers
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Bye, Bye Back Fat?
Migraines in Pregnancy Boost Vascular Risks
Tai Chi and Qigong Offer Many Health Benefits: Review
COSMETIC
Contact Lenses Boost Kids' Self-Image
Health Tip: After Liposuction
Study Evaluates Laser Therapies for Hair Removal
DENTAL, ORAL
Sports Drinks May Be Tough on Teeth
A Sweet Way to Shield Baby's Teeth
Mom's Vitamin D Levels Affect Baby's Dental Health
DIABETES
Arthritis Hits More Than Half of Diabetics
Americans Consuming More Sugary Beverages
Insulin Resistance Tied to Peripheral Artery Disease
DIET, NUTRITION
Omega-3 May Reduce Endometriosis Risk
The 3LS Wellness Program for Reversing Chronic Symptoms and Creating Lasting Health
Eat Light - Live Longer
DISABILITIES
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
EPA Alerts Seniors to Carbon Monoxide Dangers
Global Warming Biggest Health Threat of 21st Century, Experts Say
Global Warming May Bring More Respiratory Woes
EYE CARE, VISION
'Blind' Man Navigates Obstacle Course Without Error
Americans Losing Sight of Eye Health
Poor Night Vision May Predict Age-Related Eye Disease
FITNESS
Exercise Cuts Lung Cancer Risk in Ex-Smokers by 45%
The Juice From Beetroots May Boost Stamina
Exercise in Adolescence May Cut Risk of Deadly Brain Tumor
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
Bowel Prep Harder on Women Than Men
Intestinal Bacteria Trigger Immune Response
New Yogurt May Ease Stomach Ulcers
GENERAL HEALTH
Most Fast-Food French Fries Cooked in Unhealthiest Oil
Heart Disease May Be Prevented By Taking Fish Oils, Study Shows
To Quit Smoking, Try Logging On
HEAD & NECK
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
E-Mailing Your Way to Healthier Habits
Airport Full Body Scanners Pose No Health Threat: Experts
Magnet Therapy May Ease Hard-to-Treat Depression
HEARING
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Ginkgo Won't Prevent Heart Attack, Stroke in Elderly
Obese People Seem to Do Better With Heart Disease
Exercise May Blunt Salt's Effect on Hypertension
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Bacterial Infections May Succumb to Honey
Swine Flu Now Reported in All 50 States
Hand Washing 10 Times a Day May Help Keep Flu Away
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Stomach Germ May Protect Against Asthma
Teen Stress May Have Roots in First Three Years of Life
School Meals Need to Get Healthier
MEN'S HEALTH
Lots of Sex May Prevent Erectile Dysfunction
Physical Activity May Prolong Survival After Colon Cancer
The Dark Side of Vegetarianism
MENTAL HEALTH
Meaningful Conversations Boost Kids' Language Skills
Environmental Chemicals May Affect Male Reproduction
Vitamin C Protects Some Elderly Men From Bone Loss
PAIN
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
Acupuncture, Real or Fake, Eases Back Pain
Tai Chi May Help Ease Fibromyalgia
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Placebo Acupuncture Tied to Higher IVF Pregnancies
Pregnant Women Exposed To Certain Pollutants Could Lower Childs IQ
Acupuncture May Relieve Acid Indigestation In Pregnancy
SENIORS
Want Better Health in the New Year, Add Exercise to Your Day
Many Cancer Survivors Don't Adopt Healthy Lifestyle
Money May Matter, Health-Wise, in Old Age
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Daylight Savings: Not a Bright Time for All
Moderate Aerobics May Ease Insomnia Symptoms
Pay Attention to Signs That Say You're Too Fatigued to Drive
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Exercise Boosts Bone Density in Breast-Feeding Moms
Varicose Veins May Mask Larger Problem
Lifting Weights Can Ease Arm Swelling in Breast Cancer Survivors
Add your Article

Chinese Red Yeast Rice May Prevent Heart Attack

(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.

Capuzzi said a drug that includes Chinese red yeast rice may soon be used much the same way as cholesterol-lowering drugs to prevent heart attacks.

One heart expert thinks this study shows that Chinese red yeast rice may be another way to lower cholesterol, thereby preventing heart attack.

"Numerous clinical trials have established that statin medications in conjunction with lifestyle modification reduce the risk of recurrent cardiovascular events and prolong life in patients with prior myocardial infarction [heart attack] and elevated, average, or below average cholesterol levels," said Dr. Gregg C. Fonarow, director of the Ahmanson-UCLA Cardiomyopathy Center at the University of California, Los Angeles.

This new study may extend these prior findings to the statin medication lovastatin, which is derived from Chinese red yeast, Fonarow said.

"However, it is very important to note, as the authors do in the paper, that the various components of the specific XZK preparation used in this trial have not been adequately studied for its consistency, stability, and individual pharmacologic properties. As such, further study is required," Fonarow said.

Another expert thinks that red yeast rice might confer an extra measure of protection against heart attack.

The extract of red yeast rice contains lovastatin, a drug that has been proven to improve cholesterol profiles and decrease risk of heart attack, said Dr. Byron Lee, an associate professor of cardiology at the University of California, San Francisco.

"However, the improvement in the patients on the extract is far beyond what you would expect with lovastatin alone, so maybe there is some other natural component in the extract that is conferring the extra benefit," Lee said. "That would be quite exciting."

Chinese red yeast rice is rice that has been fermented by red yeast. This rice has been used in China for many centuries as a food preservative, food coloring, spice, and in rice wine. Red yeast rice remains a staple in China, Japan and in Asian communities in the United States.

Red yeast rice also has been used as a medicine for more than 1,000 years. It has been used to improve blood circulation and treat indigestion and diarrhea, the study authors said.

-Steven Reinberg

More information

For more on Chinese red yeast rice, visit the U.S. National Library of Medicine.



SOURCES: David M. Capuzzi, M.D., Ph.D., director, Cardiovascular Disease Prevention Program, Myrna Brind Center of Integrative Medicine, Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia; Gregg C. Fonarow, M.D., director, Ahmanson-UCLA Cardiomyopathy Center, University of California, Los Angeles; Byron Lee, M.D., associate professor, cardiology, University of California, San Francisco; June 15, 2008, American Journal of Cardiology

Last Updated: June 13, 2008

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