ABC news reported Monday, June 9th, 2008, that the American J. Cardiology published an article documenting that red rice lowers mortality by 43% in patients who have had a heart attack. Well, this is not news, since there have been many reports that this nutrient works. In fact, the first statin drug to lower cholesterol, lovastatin, was derived from red rice, a fact that ABC did not address at all, even though the authors, Chinese doctors, made it a point to include that vital information in their paper.
The docs also reported that red rice is extremely safe and well tolerated. They saw no side effects while following up on 4,870 patients. But, despite the glowing results, ABC consulted with their medical experts, who cautioned people not to take red rice, because it can have “serious muscle and liver problems,” and that it is very difficult to get a standard dose of red rice from nutraceutical companies. The ABC reporter concluded that it was difficult to know how to take this report on red rice, given the two conflicting opinions.
What is going on here?
In my opinion, Big Pharma cannot stand by and allow this kind of report take form their sales of statin drugs. First of all, ABC and every other network are raking in millions of dollars in TV ads about these drugs.
Second, red rice has been around for hundreds of years, with similar results available in many major journals. Its safety has been documented ad nauseum. True, it also has a tendency to curtail the absorption of the antioxidant CoQ10, a fact that Big Pharma continues to deny as a problem in their statin drugs, despite European pharmaceuticals admitting to it, and advising patients to supplement CoQ10.
The decreased availability of CoQ10 is why statin drugs themselves have significant problems with the liver and muscles. In fact, any athlete can tell soon after initiating these drugs that their muscle function is somewhat compromised. So, here is a case of the kettle calling the tea pot black. Never mind that 4,870 patients taking red rice experienced very few, if any side effects on that study.
When pharmaceuticals first isolated the molecule HMG Coenzyme reductase inhibitor from red rice, they threw away the rest of the rice, arguing that those other antioxidants, sterols, etc were not strong enough, or relevant. Talk about arrogance: they know better than Mother Nature, aka God. This is typical of the poor understanding of natural pharmacology that Big Pharma has. Of course, by isolating the active molecule like that, they may claim they have found a drug. Then, they may patent it, and rake in profits for a long time.
Red rice is hard to find in the USA. Big Pharma made sure the FDA designated red rice as a drug, so, it cannot be sold over the counter. Ironically Big Pharma is now trying to sell their own statins OTC. So, when it benefits Big Pharma, red rice is a drug. But, they still claim it doesn’t work well, and if it does, it is too strong and it may hurt you. Do you see RED rice, too?