Objective: Evidence suggests prolonged exposure to lower levels of low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C), starting at a younger age, substantially lowers cardiovascular (CV) risk. Accordingly, the CV pandemic affecting younger population in low- to low-middle-income countries, where statin usage is poor even in secondary prevention, may benefit from lipid-lowering nutritional products, as nutritional intervention is generally preferred in these cultures. However, the safety and efficacy of such preparations have not been systematically tested. Methods: In this multicenter, double-blind study, 191 statin-free subjects with newly-diagnosed hyperlipidemia (LDL-C >120 mg/dL, 3.11 mmol/L) and no evidence of CV disease were randomized to one capsule of a proprietary bioactive phytonutrient formulation containing red yeast rice, grape-seed, niacinamide, and folic acid (RYR-NS) or matched placebo twice daily, along with lifestyle modification, for 12 wk. Results: Mean baseline LDL-C levels were 148.5 ± 24.0 mg/dL (3.85 ± 0.62 mmol/L) and 148.6 ± 21.9 mg/dL (3.85 ± 0.57 mmol/L) in the RYR-NS and placebo groups respectively. Compared with placebo, RYR-NS resulted in a significant reduction in LDL-C (-29.4% versus -3.5%, P < 0.0001) and non-high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (non-HDL-C; -29.8% versus -10.3%, P < 0.0001) at 12 wk. With RYR-NS, 43.4% individuals attained desirable LDL-C levels and 55.4% desirable non-HDL-C levels by week 12, compared to only 0% and 1.1%, respectively, at baseline. No safety issues were observed. Conclusion: This study demonstrates the efficacy and safety of RYR-NS in lowering LDL-C and non-HDL-C after 12 wk, with magnitude of LDL-C reduction being comparable to that seen with moderate-intensity statin therapy. Further long-term studies are required to determine the impact of RYR-NS on treatment adherence and clinical outcomes.
Kasliwal, R. R., Bansal, M., Gupta, R., Shah, S., Dani, S., Oomman, A., … Trehan, N. (2016). ESSENS dyslipidemia: A placebo-controlled, randomized study of a nutritional supplement containing red yeast rice in subjects with newly diagnosed dyslipidemia. Nutrition, 32(7–8), 767–776. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.nut.2016.01.012