Probing Question: Will Garlic Lower Blood Cholesterol
For over 3,000 years, people have used garlic to cure what ails them. From skin diseases to tumors, from arthritis to the Black Plague, the “stinking rose” has been touted for its healing powers.
In recent years, medical science has caught up with popular wisdom. Epidemiological studies suggest that garlic consumption may reduce the risk of various cancers, as well as enhance immune function and suppress infectious disease. However, much of garlic’s recent claim to fame has come from its reputed ability to decrease blood pressure and lower blood cholesterol levels.
Garlic may be the cure for what ails you.
Yu-Yan Yeh, Penn State professor of nutrition, has been tracking the cholesterol connection for over a decade, all the way to what looks like the exact mechanism behind garlic’s cholesterol-busting effect. At a recent University Park colloquium, he summarized the chain of experiments that have led to this discovery.
Yeh’s first step”to establish the rationale for the subsequent studies,” he explains was to feed two groups of rats a high-fat diet, supplementing one group’s chow with Aged Garlic Extract made by soaking fresh garlic in alcohol for four to five months to leach out the chemical compounds and remove the smell.
“The AGE supplements reduced total cholesterol by 15 percent,” he said, and knocked down triglycerides by 30 percent. This result “was consistent with other studies with other animal species.”
Aged Garlic Extract For Cholesterol
Garlic is well-known for its heart health benefits and is;one of the most researched;food supplements globally.
The good news is that it does not give off a strong smell of garlic. It has no odor to it at all.
AGE is made;by putting garlic in 15-20% ethanol, and then it is aged for at least 20 months. After that, the extract is removed and sold as a powder or liquid form.
In a double-blind;scientific study;on men with high cholesterol, AGE reduced total cholesterol by 7% and LDL by 10%. Most people would interpret these numbers as not being that good.
However,;studies;have shown that for every percentage reduction in LDL decreases the risk of heart disease by 2% over a lifetime.
In other words, as in the case with AGE, since it decreases your LDL level by 10%, it will reduce your risk of heart disease by 20%.
Garlic May Reduce Blood Clotting
One more perk of garlic for your heart health: Compounds in garlic have been shown to decrease the stickiness of our platelets and have anti-clotting properties, says Bazilian. These things may help guard against atherosclerosis, a process in which plaque buildup leads to a hardening and narrowing of the arteries. Per the National Heart, Blood, and Lung Institute, atherosclerosis increases your risk for blood clots that can cause heart attacks and stroke. Of course, eating garlic shouldnt be the only preventive measure you take to protect your arteries. The National Heart, Blood, and Lung Institute recommends following a heart-healthy eating plan, getting plenty of exercise, managing your weight, and avoiding or quitting smoking.
RELATED: What Are the Best and Worst Fats for Heart Health?
You May Like: How Much Mg Of Cholesterol A Day
What About Garlic And Cholesterol
While some studies have shown that garlic can benefit cholesterol levels, more research is needed. In particular, scientists are looking to learn more about its long-term effect on cholesterol and the heart.
Cholesterol is a waxy substance that circulates in your blood. There are two types of cholesterol: “bad” cholesterol, or LDL cholesterol, and “good” cholesterol, or HDL cholesterol. Having too much LDL cholesterol and low levels of HDL cholesterol in your blood can raise your risk for severe health problems.
A 2016 study published in the International Journal of Preventive Medicine concluded that a garlic-lemon juice mixture may benefit cholesterol. The small study, which involved 112 people ages 30-60, showed that garlic and lemon juice helped decrease total cholesterol and lower blood pressure. However, researchers recorded the results after only eight weeks.
An analysis of studies done between 1955-2013 also showed that garlic “moderately to significantly” lowers total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol levels. When taken for more than two months, the garlic helped reduce total cholesterol by 8%.
What Are The Causes Of High Cholesterol
The tendency toward high cholesterol appears to be genetic although diet also influences cholesterol levels. Other factors that can influence cholesterol levels include being overweight and being physically inactive. The older you get, the more likely your cholesterol levels are to rise. Before menopause, women tend to have lower cholesterol levels than men of the same age, but after menopause, womens LDL levels often increase.
There is considerable controversy over whether high cholesterol is in itself a cause of heart disease , or a symptom of an inflammatory condition that is the true cause of heart disease . According to the latter theory, chronically high levels of inflammation creates small lesions on arterial walls; the body sends LDL to heal those lesions, but it ultimately accumulates and oxidizes, causing blockages. From this perspective, the best lifestyle approach to lower cardiovascular disease risk is to lower inflammation in the body rather than LDL levels.
The two theories are not mutually exclusive; they may both be true to some extent.
Don’t Miss: How Much Cholesterol In Pork Chops
Garlic May Support Immune Function
Given our collective zest for learning about taking care of our immune system during the COVID-19 pandemic, heres one reason to add garlic to your dinner tonight. While theres not enough evidence to suggest that that garlic will prevent or treat the common cold, for instance, it can play a role in your bodys defense mechanisms in a few ways.
For one, the allicin in garlic provides antibacterial properties, says Bazilian. Scientists also believe that garlic has antiviral properties that may work in two ways, she says: by blocking the entry of viruses into cells, and by strengthening the immune response so that it can effectively fight off potential invaders. Its these things that can help support a healthy immune system overall.
How To Consume Garlic To Lower The Cholesterol And High Blood Pressure
Consuming garlic is not something new anymore because it is often applied to a lot of foods. So, we would not have any problems on how to process garlic to be consumed every day. Consuming it from the garlic soup can still be a good yet simple idea for getting its benefits. Still, there are so many ways to lower the cholesterol and high blood pressure. One of the ideas is by making the fruits and vegetables smoothies which are mixed with one or two cloves garlic. One of the ideas is by making smoothies from fresh frozen pineapples and mustard leaf which are mixed with garlic. You can mix and match it with any kinds of fruits and vegetables you like for getting the different flavors. If you want to consume it in single way, you can take one or two clove garlic and slice it thinly. Then you can mesh them and make a ball of garlic. Then, you can swallow it directly. You can do that twice a day regularly to get the perfect and best result. That will be a good way for getting the healthier body by getting the better and stable blood pressure and blood circulation and also the lower level of cholesterol. There is also the simpler idea to get the benefits of garlic, especially for lowering blood pressure and cholesterol, which is by consuming natural supplements that consist of garlic, for example Choleslo.
Don’t Miss: Are Baked Potatoes High In Cholesterol
Why Is High Cholesterol Consider Dangerous
First of all high cholesterol in the blood is considered bad and should be kept under check because it can raise ones chances of stroke and heart attack.
When it comes to cholesterol, consumption of garlic is often a highlighted topic of discussion. Let us discuss both `for and `against theories related to garlic in this post.;
Athletic Performance Might Be Improved With Garlic Supplements
Garlic was one of the earliest performance enhancing substances.
It was traditionally used in ancient cultures to reduce fatigue and enhance the work capacity of laborers.
Most notably, it was given to Olympic athletes in ancient Greece .
Rodent studies have shown that garlic helps with exercise performance, but very few human studies have been done.
People with heart disease who took garlic oil for 6 weeks had a 12% reduction in peak heart rate and better exercise capacity (
This suggests that this supplement may have beneficial effects on bone health in women.
Foods like garlic and onions may also have beneficial effects on osteoarthritis .
Summary Garlic appears to have some benefits for bone health by increasing estrogen levels in females, but more human studies are needed.
You May Like: Is Chocolate Bad For Cholesterol
What We Can Get From Garlic
Garlic actually has been believed to be the natural medication for some health problems, such like for cold and influenza. That is because garlic can be such a good idea to increase the immune system and helps the body to keep warm. That is why a yummy chicken soup with garlic will help us on getting the better stamina. That is because garlic consists of a lot of substances which are great for the body, such like allicin. That is the substance which is really helpful on lowering the level of cholesterol and also the blood pressure. This substance is also what makes garlic has the typical smell. However, the substance will be totally helpful especially for helping lowering the blood pressure and also the cholesterol. The chemical substance of allicin which is produced by garlic has a great impact on lowering the blood pressure and cholesterol. Of course, we also can find a lot of other substances which are inside garlic. Besides as the medication for lowering high blood pressure and high level of cholesterol, garlic is also great for another health problem, because garlic can play the great role. The first is garlic as anti cancer, maintaining the heart health, dealing with free radical, blood clotting prevention, and also antimicrobial agent. So, garlic has a bunch of great role for getting the better health, including for dealing with the problem of high blood pressure and also high cholesterol.
The Verdict: Garlic Helps But Wont Do It Alone
Some researchers say that taking garlic as a supplement with a view to lowering lipid levels cannot be widely recommended as the evidence isnât strong enough.14 They warn that you shouldnât expect to see a miraculous change in your cholesterol numbers. It might help, but may not be good enough to warrant going off any of your medication.
Incidentally, there has been a lot of debate around whether high cholesterol levels do have an adverse effect on your heart health and longevity. While the cholesterolâheart disease conundrum is yet to be resolved, what is emerging is that you need to keep an eye on chronic inflammation that your body is subjected to, be it through processed and refined foods, stress, or a sedentary lifestyle. One hypothesis considers chronic inflammation the trigger for increased cholesterol production. High cholesterol or hypercholesterolemia is, in turn, also linked to increased inflammation.15 It may also affect your liver and kidney and increase the risk of obesity and diabetes. Fortunately, garlic may have a positive impact here thanks to its anti-inflammatory properties, helping counter the inflammation.16
The bottom line? Donât expect garlic to be a miracle cure or a free pass to ignore your cardiovascular health. That said, it is a good addition to your diet as part of a holistic plan to improve your cholesterol levels, alongside lifestyle changes and other dietary interventions.
Don’t Miss: Can Keto Cause High Cholesterol
Supplement Myth #1: Fish Oil Does Wonders For Heart Health
While some physicians recommend the omega-3 fatty acids found in fish oil capsules for patients, several recent clinical trials have put the supplements star status into question, says Seth Martin, M.D., a cardiologist and associate professor at John Hopkins Medicine in Baltimore. Results showed that fish oil failed to reduce cardiovascular risk and actually increased the risk of atrial fibrillation, an irregular heartbeat that can lead to stroke over time, says Martin.
How Much To Take
According to a clinical trial published in the NIH U.S. National Library Of Medice, to decrease cholesterol and LDL levels, the following is recommended:
AGE 2400 mg daily for 1 year or twice daily).
Kyolic Aged Garlic Extract;is one of the most reputable and reliable brands to use. It can be purchased;here;on Amazon.
Don’t Miss: How Do Eggland Eggs Have Less Cholesterol
Salsa Pico De Gallo And More
Forget about mayo or ketchup. Get out your chefs knife and start chopping. Throw together fresh tomatoes, onion, garlic, cilantro, and other heart-healthy ingredients for fresh dips that make snacking healthier.
Be careful with store-bought salsa, which is often high in sodium. You may need to closely monitor your sodium intake if you have heart disease or high blood pressure.
Garlic Intake May Be Problematic For Some
Some people may have mild side effects like bad breath, heartburn, flatulence, and gastric disturbances from taking garlic.12 But for the vast majority, having a clove or two as part of your normal diet shouldnât cause you problems . Taking larger amounts as a supplement must, however, be run by your doctor first.
As with anything taken in large amounts or as a supplement, you will need to be mindful of other health conditions or medication that could interact with the garlic or garlic extract and affect your body. For instance, if you are taking any kind of anti-inflammatory drugs or anticoagulants, you should be wary of possible drug interactions. Garlic tends to inhibit platelet aggregation â which basically means your blood will take longer to clot and you may bleed longer than normal. If you are already on medication that has this effect, like anticoagulants, for instance, it could amplify these effects, causing problems with clotting and putting you at risk of excessive bleeding.13
You May Like: Are Egg Beaters Low In Cholesterol
Garlic Can Combat Sickness Including The Common Cold
Garlic supplements are known to boost the function of the immune system.
One large, 12-week study found that a daily garlic supplement reduced the number of colds by 63% compared to a placebo .
The average length of cold symptoms was also reduced by 70%, from 5 days in the placebo group to just 1.5 days in the garlic group.
Another study found that a high dose of aged garlic extract reduced the number of days sick with cold or flu by 61% (
In one study, 6001,500 mg of aged garlic extract was just as effective as the drug Atenolol at reducing blood pressure over a 24-week period .
Supplement doses must be fairly high to have the desired effects. The amount needed is equivalent to about four cloves of garlic per day.
Summary High doses of garlic appear to improve blood pressure for those with known high blood pressure . In some instances, supplements may be as effective as regular medications.
Does Garlic Actually Work
Garlic is one of the most widely purchased herbal supplements used to lower cholesterol levels. Research studies involving both animals and humans suggest that garlic can lower cholesterol levels. In most of the studies that produced cholesterol-lowering results, about one-half gram or one gram of garlic was consumed a day. LDL cholesterol levels were very modestly lowered whereas HDL cholesterol was not affected by the administration of garlic.
The cholesterol-lowering abilities of garlic appear to be dose-dependent. That is, the more garlic you take, the lower your cholesterol will drop. In the very few studies that looked at the long-term effects of cholesterol, it appears that the cholesterol-lowering effect of garlic may be only temporary.
Additionally, there is some debate as to which form of garlic is the best in lowering cholesterol levels. Some studies suggest that garlic powder may have lower amounts of allicin, one of the active ingredients in garlic. This, too, remains under debate.
It’s important to note that the studies are very conflicting. While there are many that conclude garlic works well to lower cholesterol levels, there are also others that dispute this, contending garlic is ineffective in lowering cholesterol. Until more studies are conducted, garlic may not be the best choice for you if you’re solely relying on it to lower your cholesterol.
Don’t Miss: What Should My Cholesterol Level Be In Mmol L
What Is High Cholesterol
High cholesterol is a well-known risk factor for heart disease. Cholesterol itself is a waxy, fat-like substance that is primarily made by the liver, although some comes from the diet. It is an essential component of cell membranes and is used by the body to produce hormones and vitamin D.
Cholesterol is carried through the bloodstream attached to two different compounds called lipoproteins: low-density lipoproteins and high-density lipoproteins . LDL is commonly known as the bad cholesterol because it transports cholesterol from the liver throughout the body, and potentially allows it to be deposited in artery walls. HDL, known as the good cholesterol, picks up cholesterol from the blood and delivers it to cells that use it, or takes it back to the liver to be recycled or eliminated from the body.
Too much cholesterol in the blood builds up on artery walls causing hardening of the arteries . The buildup of cholesterol narrows arteries, slowing or blocking the flow of oxygen-carrying blood to the heart, which can manifest as chest pain. If blood flow to the heart is cut off because of clogged arteries, the result is damage to the heart muscle a heart attack.