Obesity is a common cause of hyperlipidemia, which is a major coronary risk factor. Previous studies have shown red yeast rice (RYR) effectiveness in lowering low-density lipoprotein cholesterol. The aim of this study was to investigate the effects of RYR on obesity and hyperlipidemia. Mice were randomly separated into five groups: the control group with a normal diet, the high-fat diet (HFD) group fed a HFD without any treatment, and HFD-fed groups supplemented with RYR (1 g/kg/day for 8 weeks, 1 g/kg/day for 12 weeks, and 2.5 g/kg/day for 8 weeks). Body weight was recorded twice and food intake thrice weekly. Liver and fat pads were surgically removed and weighed. The levels of lipid parameters, liver enzymes, and leptin levels were measured. The HFD feeding resulted in obesity, which was associated with increases in body weight, liver weight, fat pad weight, liver enzymes, and plasma leptin levels with the development of hyperlipidemia. RYR prevented weight gain and fat pad weight in mice fed a HFD. RYR alleviated blood lipid parameters, liver enzymes, and leptin levels, and improved atherogenic index. These findings suggest that RYR has therapeutic potential in treating obesity and hyperlipidemia.
Keywords: high-fat diet; hyperlipidemia; nonalcoholic fatty liver disease; obesity; red yeast rice.