ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Childhood Food Allergies on the Rise
Overweight Moms More Likely to Have Asthmatic Kids
Climate Change Could Sting Allergy, Asthma Sufferers
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Acupuncture May Help Restore Lost Sense of Smell
Music Therapy For Prehistoric Man?
38% of U.S. Adults Use Alternative Treatments
ANIMAL CARE
Safe Toys for Dogs
'Comfort Dogs' Come to Emotional Rescue
Animals Respond to Acupuncture's Healing Touch
BONES & JOINTS
Are We Exercising Pain Away? Not So Much.
Winter Is Tough on Feet
Low Vitamin D Raises Women's Hip Fracture Risk
CANCER
Tanning Beds Shown To Raise Cancer Risk, Study Says
Well Water Might Raise Bladder Cancer Risk
Drinking Green Tea May Slow Prostate Cancer
CAREGIVING
Coordination Has Led to Quicker Heart Treatment
ER Less Likely to Diagnose Stroke in Younger Folks
What Moms Learned May Be Passed to Offspring
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Years of Exposure to Traffic Pollution Raises Blood Pressure
Firefighters Have Narrower-Than-Normal Arteries, Study Finds
Anemia Rates Down for U.S. Women and Children
COSMETIC
What to Do If You Have Unsightly Veins
Study Evaluates Laser Therapies for Hair Removal
Gum Chewing May Cut Craving for Snacks
DENTAL, ORAL
Health Tip: At Risk for Gingivitis
Gum Care Helps Control Type 2 Diabetes and Its Complications
Scientists Find Gene for Tooth Enamel
DIABETES
'Standard' Glucose Test May Be Wrong One for Obese Children
Laughter May Lower Heart Attack Risk in Diabetics
Diabetes Linked to Cognitive Problems
DIET, NUTRITION
Meat Additives May Be Dangerous for Kidney Patients
Eating More Soy May Be Good For Your Lung Function
Eating Healthy : You Can Live Longer
DISABILITIES
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Stomach Germ May Protect Against Asthma
Pollution Particles Impair Blood Vessel Function
Skin Woes Take Toll on U.S. Combat Troops
EYE CARE, VISION
Ordinary Chores Cause Half of All Eye Injuries
It's a Whole New Outlook for Cataract Patients
Omega-3 Foods May Lower Eye Disease Risk
FITNESS
Tai Chi and Qigong Offer Many Health Benefits: Review
Study Shows Exercise Shields Against Osteoporosis
Weak Muscles May Cause 'Runner's Knee'
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
New Yogurt May Ease Stomach Ulcers
Gum Chewing May Speed Colon Surgery Recovery
Bowel Prep Harder on Women Than Men
GENERAL HEALTH
FDA Bans Unapproved Prescription Cough, Cold and Allergy Meds
Imaging Sheds Light on How Acupuncture Works
Olde Time Medicine Therapy May Prevent Alcoholic Relapse
HEAD & NECK
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
Combating Myths About Seasonal Allergies
'Comfort Dogs' Come to Emotional Rescue
Imaging Sheds Light on How Acupuncture Works
HEARING
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Using Light Therapy to Silence Harmful Brain Activity
Polyunsaturated Fats Really May Lower Heart Risk
Fewer Heart Attacks After England Goes Smoke-Free
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Swine Flu Closes Three Schools in NYC
Grapefruit Compound Inhibits Hepatitis C Virus
Chinese 'Devil Dung' Plant Could Be a Swine Flu Fighter
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Daily Exercise at School Yields Rewards
Obesity May Raise Kids' Allergy Risk
6 Million U.S. Kids Lack Enough Vitamin D
MEN'S HEALTH
Could Chinese Herb Be a Natural Viagra?
Vigorous Exercise Cuts Stroke Risk for Men, Not Women
Sunlight May Help Protect Men From Kidney Cancer
MENTAL HEALTH
17 Ways to Create the Perfect Workday
Vitamin C Protects Some Elderly Men From Bone Loss
Man's Best Friend Helps Mend Broken Hearts
PAIN
Are We Exercising Pain Away? Not So Much.
Alleviating Rheumatoid Arthritis
Tai Chi May Help Ease Fibromyalgia
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Calcium Supplements Cut Blood Lead Levels During Pregnancy
For Baby and Mom Alike, Breast-Feeding May Be Best
Alternative Treatments May Boost IVF Success
SENIORS
Older People at Greater Risk of Swine Flu Death
The Healthy Habits of Centenarians
Daily dose of beet juice promotes brain health in older adults
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Daylight Savings: Not a Bright Time for All
Exercising Throat Muscles May Relieve Sleep Apnea
Meditation May Help Put Primary Insomnia to Bed
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Omega-3 May Reduce Endometriosis Risk
Flame-Retardant Chemical Linked to Conception Problems
Supportive Weigh-In Program Keeps Pounds Off
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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