Chinese red food colouring beats heart disease and cancer

November 04, 2017

Researchers have apparently found that an extract of red yeast rice in supplement form, reduces cancer death rates by two-thirds, and reduced the risk of dying from heart disease by 33% - it also lowered the risk of a repeat heart attack by 45%.

The study which was conducted at more than 60 Chinese hospitals involved almost 5,000 heart patients aged 18 to 70 and also found that the supplement reduced the likelihood of undergoing bypass surgery or treatment to open up arteries by a third and also reduced death rates by a third.

Each day patients took either two 300 milligram capsules of a partially purified extract of a red yeast rice preparation xuezhikang (XZK) or a placebo and their progress was compared over a five year study period.

Dr. David Carpuzzi, from Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia, who was involved in the research has described the results as profound and says the health benefits from red yeast rice even exceeded those of statins the cholesterol-lowering drugs.

Red yeast rice is rice which has been fermented by the red yeast Monascus purpureus and has been used in China for thousands of years as a food preservative, colorant and seasoning, and herbal medicine.

Medicinally, red yeast rice is said to improve blood circulation and aid digestion.

Dr. Capuzzi says if further testing and study confirm the results XZK could become an important therapeutic agent in the treatment of cardiovascular disorders and in the prevention of disease.

However he also says that it is important to recognise exactly how Chinese red yeast rice works remains unclear.

Dr. Capuzzi is the director of the cardiovascular disease prevention program at Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia, and led the study along with Dr. Zonliang Lu, from the Chinese Academy of Medical Science, in Beijing.

Their findings are reported in the American Journal of Cardiology.

The opening session of Heart Failure 2008 Congress will present heart failure as a burgeoning public health issue, whose impact has gathered momentum as a result of an ever ageing society and a continuing prevalence of coronary heart disease as a major cause of "cardiac suction failure". Interventions likely to improve prognosis and the subject of debate are measures aimed at reducing heart rate (described by the ESC's President-Elect Professor Roberto Ferrari from Italy) and improving renal function, the use of neurohormonal antagonists (described by the editor of the European Journal of Heart Failure Professor Karl Swedberg from Sweden), and the application of devices and remote monitoring to improve myocardial performance (described by the editor of the European Journal of Cardiovascular Nursing Tiny Jaarsma from the Netherlands).

Professor Michel Komadja, France, Vice-President of the ESC's Working Groups, Councils, will propose that the clinical profile of heart failure patients has dramatically changed over the past decades. "Today," he says, "the average age of patients hospitalised for heart failure is over 70. All surveys suggest that management of this group of patients is not optimal. Elderly heart failure patients do not receive the quality of care recommended by international guidelines both for investigations and treatment."

Heart Failure 2008 will take place from 14-17 June at the Milano Convention Centre, Via Gattamelata, Milan, Italy The congress opening address, the HFA of the ESC Honorary Lecture, will be given by the ESC's President-Elect Professor Roberto Ferrari on Saturday 14 June at 18.45. The full scientific programme is available on the website of the ESC at escardio/congresses/HF/HF2008/ Background information on heart failure is available at heartfailurematters.


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