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Two more unexpected compounds found in beni kōji supplements

Two more unexpected compounds have been discovered in Kobayashi Pharmaceutical’s supplements beni kо̄ji (red fermented rice), health ministry officials said on Tuesday.

The two compounds are believed to have arisen from contamination of blue mold during the manufacturing process of the active ingredient, called monacolin K, by red yeast fungi.

Meanwhile, tests on rats have shown that puberulic acid, a natural compound derived from blue mold, which was found in the supplements, has an adverse effect on kidney function, according to officials.

The National Institute of Health Sciences has received beni kо̄ji ingredient samples from Kobayashi Pharmaceutical over the past three years and analyzed samples produced between June and August last year and used by many people who reported health damage.

Since April, the company has been collecting substances from the incubation room of its factory in Osaka city, which was closed in December last year, and from the inner surface of the lid of the breeding tank of a subsidiary in western Wakayama Prefecture, by supplying these substances to the Institute.

When the rats were given the supplements that had caused the health problems, and only the puberulic acid, degeneration and necrosis were observed in some of their kidneys.

The ministry believes that the contamination with blue mold occurred during the cultivation of red rice malt.

It also plans to continue studying the impact of the other two compounds on kidney health.



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