Study explores red yeast rice and fish oil combination for cardiovascular health

By Olivia DeSmit

- Last updated on GMT

© Delfinkina / Getty Images
© Delfinkina / Getty Images

Related tags cardiovascular health Fish oil

A supplement containing red yeast rice, omega-3s, coenzyme Q10, folic acid, astaxanthin and B6 improved total cholesterol, endothelial function, low-density lipoprotein and other markers in a recent study published in Archives of Medical Science Atherosclerotic Diseases.

Red yeast rice and fish oil separately have been shown in prior studies to have positive effects on cardiovascular health. Red yeast rice can reduce LDL-cholesterol, and EPA and DHA omega 3 fatty acids are inversely associated with risk of mortality. This study tested a combination of the two.

The double-blind, placebo-controlled randomized clinical trial evaluated the effects of the supplement over eight weeks in a group of 60 healthy Caucasian men and women with suboptimal LDL-cholesterolaemia. Before and after the eight-week period, tests including a full lipid panel, endothelial reactivity, biochemical analyses and high-sensitive C-reactive protein (hsCRP) were performed. Endothelial reactivity was measured due to its role as an early marker of atherosclerosis.

The supplement used in the study was supplied by Italian pharmaceutical company Meda Pharma S.p.A.

Results

Total cholesterol, LDL, apoB and hsCRP plasma levels were significantly improved in the supplement group when compared to the placebo group. There were no significant changes in baseline blood pressure, but pulse change was "significantly increased by the experimental product, both versus baseline and placebo," the researchers reported.

They also noted that the effect of the supplement on hsCRP, a well-known inflammatory biomarker strictly related to cardiovascular risk, in addition to  effects on pulse volume change, where small improvements in endothelial function can result in significant improvements in cardiovascular disease risk.

"In particular, a 1% improvement in endothelial function has been estimated to be associated with a 12% reduction in cardiovascular disease events," the study reported. "The anti-inflammatory effect and the positive effect of both red yeast rice and omega-3 PUFAs are well-known but both for higher doses than the one tested in this trial. Consequently, we should argue that the combined effect of both components in a single soft gel could have improved their individual efficacy."

The researchers identified several limitations including the fact that all participants were Caucasian and individuals with obesity were excluded, meaning that the results may not be transferable to other populations. The study was also short in duration, and therefore long-term benefits are unclear.

 

Source: Archives of Medical Science Atherosclerotic Diseases
doi: https://doi.org/10.5114/amsad/177444
“Evaluation of the effect of a dietary supplementation with a red yeast rice and fish oil-containing nutraceutical on lipid pattern, high sensitivity C-reactive protein, and endothelial function in moderately hypercholesterolaemic subjects: a double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomized clinical trial”
Authors: Fogacci, F., et al.

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