Last update Nov. 17, 2023

Red yeast rice

Low Risk

Possibly safe. Probably compatible. Mild risk possible. Follow up recommended. Read the Comment.

Red yeast rice is the product of fermenting rice with the red yeast Monascus purpureus. It has been used in China since ancient times as a food coloring and flavoring and in traditional Chinese medicine. It is used as a dietary supplement in hyperlipidemia. It contains varying amounts of statins (HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors), such as lovastatin or monacolin K, which reduce cholesterol levels. Oral administration.

At the time of the last update, we found no published data on its excretion in breast milk.

For all the discussion on its compatibility with lactation, it is necessary to refer to what is indicated in lovastatin, since its effects are similar. (Chen 2015)

There is a risk of adverse effects (muscle pain, rhabdomyolysis, increased CPK, hepatoxicity) as with the other statins (Mazzanti 2017). It is necessary to know the amount of monacolin K or lovastatin contained in each commercial supplement and not to exceed the prescribed doses (European Commission 2012). The concentration of lovastatin in the supplements sold of this product should be standardized (MurciaSalud 2015, Nigović 2013). If there is a deficient fermentation a mycotoxin, citrin, may appear (Steffen 2017), but it has not been found in marketed dietary red yeast rice products. (Twarużek 2021)

See below the information of this related product:

  • Lovastatin (Possibly safe. Probably compatible. Mild risk possible. Follow up recommended. Read the Comment.)


Suggestions made at e-lactancia are done by APILAM team of health professionals, and are based on updated scientific publications. It is not intended to replace the relationship you have with your doctor but to compound it. The pharmaceutical industry contraindicates breastfeeding, mistakenly and without scientific reasons, in most of the drug data sheets.

Jose Maria Paricio, Founder & President of APILAM/e-Lactancia

Your contribution is essential for this service to continue to exist. We need the generosity of people like you who believe in the benefits of breastfeeding.

Thank you for helping to protect and promote breastfeeding.

José María Paricio, founder of e-lactancia.

Other names

Red yeast rice in other languages or writings:


Red yeast rice belongs to this group or family:


Main tradenames from several countries containing Red yeast rice in its composition:


  1. Comisión 01.06.2022. REGLAMENTO (UE) 2022/860 DE LA COMISIÓN de 1 de junio de 2022 por el que se modifica el anexo III del Reglamento (CE) n.o 1925/2006 del Parlamento Europeo y del Consejo en lo que respecta a las monacolinas procedentes del arroz fermentado con levadura roja. Diario Oficial de la Unión Europea. 2022 Full text (link to original source)
  2. Twarużek M, Ałtyn I, Kosicki R. Dietary Supplements Based on Red Yeast Rice-A Source of Citrinin? Toxins (Basel). 2021 Jul 17;13(7). pii: 497. Abstract Full text (link to original source)
  3. Mazzanti G, Moro PA, Raschi E, Da Cas R, Menniti-Ippolito F. Adverse reactions to dietary supplements containing red yeast rice: assessment of cases from the Italian surveillance system. Br J Clin Pharmacol. 2017 Apr;83(4):894-908. Abstract Full text (link to original source)
  4. Steffen C. [Red yeast rice: An unsafe food supplement?] Bundesgesundheitsblatt Gesundheitsforschung Gesundheitsschutz. 2017 Mar;60(3):292-296. Abstract
  5. Chen HH, Neher J, Safranek S. Clinical inquiry: is red-yeast rice a safe and effective alternative to statins? J Fam Pract. 2015 Feb;64(2):128-35. Abstract Full text (link to original source)
  6. Murciasalud. Arroz de levadura roja para el tratamiento de la hipercolesterolemia. Banco de Preguntas Preevid. 2015 Full text (link to original source)
  7. Nigović B, Sertić M, Mornar A. Simultaneous determination of lovastatin and citrinin in red yeast rice supplements by micellar electrokinetic capillary chromatography. Food Chem. 2013 May 1;138(1):531-8. Abstract

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