Benefits/risks of red yeast?

Lowers cholesterol. Red yeast rice is natural "statin" that lowers cholesterol. It can be an effective treatment for those with mildly elevated cholesterol. Typically higher levels of cholesterol will require a prescription drug to achieve optimal control. Of course diet is very important in all cases. A low fat diet is key to lowering cholesterol.
Similar to statins. Red yeast rice has an active ingredient that is similar to a very low dose statin so the side effects can be similar of muscle pains, liver problems as well as GI discomfort. The fda banned red yeast rice from having a statin so its not as effective as the canadian red yeast rice. I recommend always using co q 10 when doing this as well as a statin to minimize side effects.