Aged Garlic Extract May Reduce Plaque Buildup in the Arteries

A 2016 study found that aged garlic extract changed the nature of plaque formation and accumulation in the arteries of people with metabolic syndrome. Metabolic syndrome is a cluster of conditions, including obesity, hypertension, and insulin resistance, that contribute to heart disease risk. Published in the Journal of Nutrition, the study included 55 middle-aged patients with metabolic syndrome who were assigned to take either 2,400 grams per day of aged garlic extract or a placebo. Researchers measured the patients’ total coronary plaque, calcified (hardened) coronary plaque, and low-attenuation (soft) coronary plaque at the beginning of the study and after about a year of treatment. After adjusting for age, gender, history of coronary artery disease, and other risk factors, researchers found:

  • Patients taking the aged garlic extract experienced a 1.5% reduction in low-attenuation plaque compared with a 0.2% reduction in patients taking the placebo.
  • Changes in total plaque volume and calcified plaque over the course of the study were no different in the garlic group than in the placebo group.

Low-attenuation coronary plaque has previously been viewed as a close predictor of acute coronary syndrome—a sudden loss of blood flow to the heart that can result in a heart attack. A drop in the percentage of this type of plaque is thought to be a positive change that might protect the heart. At the time of this study’s findings, researchers were calling for further investigation into aged garlic’s effects on cardiovascular events. Until we know more, there are still other good reasons to try aged garlic—past research has linked it to better blood pressure medication performance and lower cholesterol. Of course, talk with your healthcare practitioner before adding aged garlic extract, or any other new supplement, to your health regimen.

Source: Journal of Nutrition

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