Harvard Men's Health Watch

On call: Red yeast rice

Q. My last two blood tests showed that my cholesterol is too high. My doctor wants me to take a statin drug, but I'd rather use a natural remedy. I saw an ad for red yeast rice that says that it's as effective as the statins, and I can get it without a prescription — but should I?

A. "All-natural" products have an obvious appeal. Remember, though, that natural products are composed of chemicals — and in the case of red yeast rice, these chemicals may surprise you.

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