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      1. What is Red Yeast Rice?

        Red yeast rice is the product of monascus grown on white rice. In Asian countries, the application of monascus species in food dates back over thousands of years.

        What is Monascus?

        Monascus, is a small filamentous fungus. The Chinese National Microbial Resources Platform has a collection of over 300 strains of Rhodotorula in 20 species. Monascus is divided into six species: M. pilosus, M. purpureus, M. ruber, M. floridanus, M. pallens and M. sanguineus. Monascus is also a saprophytic fungus, acid-loving, especially lactic acid. In nature, Monascus occurs as a contaminant in silage, cereals, starch and cow's milk.

        The Main Metabolites of Monascus

        The metabolites of monascus are complex and can be broadly divided into primary and secondary metabolites.Primary metabolites: Compounds directly related to the growth of the bacteria, such as enzymes, fatty acids, amino acids and organic acids (malic, succinic, lactic, etc.), as well as some alcohols and esters, are obtained during the fermentation of monascus.

        * "M." is the abbreviation of "monacus".

        Monascus Fermentation Produces a Variety of Bioactive Substances

        According to different production techniques and application, there are mainly five types of monascus: monascus for Chinese medicinal materials, for brewing, for natural pigments, for cholesterol lowering and for esterification.

        Monascus Pigments

        Monascus Pigments is a kind of monasucs with the main purpose of producing pigments.

        Compared with synthetic colorants, natural pigments are healthier for people. Through modern microbial fermentation technology, monascus pigments have been industrially mass produced and are widely used for coloring meat products, pastries, soy sauce, curd, jelly, puffed food, instant rice noodles, confectionery and pickled food.

        Showing in the application that monascus pigment is an ideal substitute for nitrite in the coloring of meat products

        Functional Red Yeast Rice

        Modern biotechnological fermentation of functional monascus is a natural blood lipid regulator

        Functional red molde rice(RMR) is a monascus with main purpose of producing bioactive substances, which include Monacolin K (lovastatin), gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), blood glucose regulating substances, ergosterol, flavonoids and dimeric acids, antimicrobial active substances, monascus polysaccharides, coenzyme Q10, as well as other physiologically active substances. It has the effect of regulating high blood lipids, high blood pressure and high blood sugar, and is a natural lipid-lowering agent, known as the "vascular scavenger".

        Modern Biotechnological Fermentation of Functional Monascus is a Natural Blood Lipid Regulator

        In 1979, the discovery by Dr. Endo, Akira of Japan that monascus produce the cholesterol-inhibiting Monacolin K (lovastatin) set off a worldwide craze for research into monascus. Modern research has shown that functional monascus has anti-tumour, anti-bacterial and significant blood lipid regulating effects and is widely used in lipid regulating drugs, health food and natural colors.

        Assimilation of Cholesterol by Monascus purpureus. Journal of Fungi.2020,6,352.

        Cholesterol-Regulating Effects of Monascus

        Too much LDL cholesterol leads to a build-up of lipids on the walls of blood vessels

        LDL cholesterol (bad cholesterol) transports cholesterol from the liver through the bloodstream to the whole body.If the LDL cholesterol level in the blood increases too much, the excess cholesterol will be built up in the walls of the blood vessels and formed plaques (hump-shaped lipid clumps).

        Taking monascus can lower cholesterol

        The following experimental studies were conducted: The researchers conducted a controlled trial of 79 patients (aged 23-65 years) with a mean baseline low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) level of 5.28 mmol/l (203.9 mg/dl) who were given either placebo or monascus (600 mg) twice daily for 8 weeks in each group. At week 8, patients taking monascus reduced LDL-C by an average of 27.7%, total cholesterol by 21.5%, triglycerides by 15.8% and apolipoprotein B by 26.0%.

        HDL cholesterol and Apo AI levels increased by 0.9% and 3.4% respectively (non-significant).

        Global Medical and Health Communication.2018;6(2):88-92.

        The Role of Monascus in Regulating Blood Pressure

        The prevalence of hypertension is increasing rapidly

        The world's hypertensive population is expected to increase to 29% by 2025. Women in particular, the incidence of hypertension increases with the age of menopause. If left unattended, blood vessels will remain tense and promote the accumulation of lipids in their walls, reducing flexibility and predisposing them to various diseases.

        Taking monascus can lower blood pressure

        The following experimental studies were conducted: The researchers conducted a clinical trial on 19 women (aged 60-80 years) taking 3g of monascus per day and monitoring their blood pressure and heart rate. The results of the study showed no significant treatment side effects in the subjects, but there was an improvement in the ageing syndrome, for example: Anxiety to depression, insomnia, overactive bladder (especially at night), neuralgia and myalgia.

        Molecules 2021, 26, 1619.(Hiroyuki Fukami 1,*, Yuki Higa 1 , Tomohiro Hisano 1,)

        Monascus Regulates Blood Lipids

        Consistent intake of a high fat or high cholesterol diet can lead to hyperlipidaemia, where the blood becomes sticky, a white, cloudy substance consisting mainly of lipoproteins Blood lipids are a risk factor for circulatory disease.

        The following experimental studies were conducted: Male rabbits (14 weeks old) were selected by researchers as a model for hyperlipidaemia and fed a 0.25% cholesterol (HC diet) for 3 months.

        Compared to the control group, plasma turbidity improved and total cholesterol and LDL-cholesterol plasma levels decreased between months 1-3 of the experimental period in the monascus treatment group.

        These results suggest that the components in monascus reduce large (low density) lipoprotein levels by reducing VLDL release and clearance of celiac particles, thereby inhibiting the increase in plasma viscosity.

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