You may know that Angkak is a medicine to cure dengue fever. However, more than that, it turns out angkak can also be a cholesterol drug. Yes, Angkak is said to be useful in helping to lower cholesterol.
How can Angkak be used as a cholesterol medication?
Angkak is a food and traditional medicine from China that has been used for centuries. These foods or drugs are believed to reduce cholesterol, promote blood circulation, and improve digestive function. Angkak is made by fermentation by adding Monascus purpureus yeast to brown rice.
How can Angkak reduce cholesterol? Apparently, in Angkak contained chemical compounds similar to those found in statin drugs. Statins are drugs that are often given by doctors to reduce bad cholesterol levels and help reduce the risk of heart disease. These chemical compounds are known as monacolin K.
Research has also been done to prove the benefits of Angkak in reducing cholesterol. One study showed that consuming Angkak 2.4 grams per day for 12 weeks can reduce bad cholesterol levels by 22% and total cholesterol by 16%. Other studies also prove that consumption of Angkak at 1.2 grams per day can reduce bad cholesterol by 26% in eight weeks. But, more research is needed on the safety and effectiveness of Angkak in the long run.
Researchers aren't really sure monacolin K in Angkak can reduce bad cholesterol levels in the blood. This is because other compounds (other than monacolin K) are found in Angkak, namely unsaturated fatty acids, isoflavones, and fitosterol. Where, other compounds can also help you reduce cholesterol.
Can angkak be called a medicine?
Experts aren't sure about this. Angkak can be called a drug, but it can also be called a supplement. Why? Angkak can be called a drug because the content of monacolin K is high and is useful in reducing bad cholesterol levels. However, on the other hand, the use of Angkak is not yet regulated. Wrong-wrong, Angkak can cause serious side effects. You need to know that cholesterol drugs such as statins have side effects such as severe muscle problems that can cause kidney disease.
Therefore, the FDA or the institution that oversees drug circulation in the United States has withdrawn the circulation of Angkak supplements because they contain monacolin K. This then makes many producers eliminate monacolin K in Angkak supplements. As a result, many red yeast rice supplements may not contain monacolin K which can reduce cholesterol.
What are the side effects of Angkak?
The side effects of Angkak are generally at a mild level, as can cause headaches, heartburn, and abdominal pain. However, the effect of Angkak in the long term is unknown. What's more, there are chemical compounds in Angkak that are similar to those found in statins (monacolin K compounds). This compound can cause serious side effects if used excessively.
Also, what you need to pay attention when consuming Angkak as a cholesterol drug is its interaction with other drugs. It's best not to drink Angkak when you are using statin drugs to lower cholesterol. Also, when you are using drugs that suppress the immune system, antifungal drugs, certain antibiotics, or HIV drugs (protease inhibitors).
It's best to consult your doctor before you decide to use Angkak as a cholesterol-lowering "drug". If you have kidney disease, liver disease, are pregnant, or breastfeeding, you should not drink Angkak.
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