Garlic: A Super Herb
Any quick search about garlic and metabolism brings up several articles concerning garlic as it pertains to weight loss support. In one 2011 study involving fat-induced mice, garlic increased thermogenesis and AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) activity and decreased the activity of several genes involved in adipogenesis (which contributes to the increased adipose tissue mass of obesity).1
In these studies, garlic showed promise in supporting several aspects of metabolism, including circulation and blood pressure support, reminding us that a healthy metabolism incorporates several aspects of the body, including digestion and the heart.
Garlic, vitamin B12, improved blood pressure and circulation
Aged garlic extract (AGE) is as beneficial as blood pressure medication, and improves heart and circulatory health, according to this review of 12 clinical trials covering 553 participants with high blood pressure. AGE lowered systolic and diastolic blood pressure by an average of 8.13 and 5.5 mmHg, respectively, a finding similar to standard medications.
Doctors also found new evidence that adequate levels of vitamin B12 improved blood pressure response to garlic extract. AGE also lowered blood pressure in the aorta, the large heart artery that pumps blood to the body; reduced artery stiffness; and increased levels of the probiotics lactobacillus and clostridia in the gut after three months on AGE.
In a separate study of 104 men and women who took a placebo or 2,400 mg of AGE per day, after 12 months, calcification in the coronary artery was 8 percent lower in those taking AGE compared to placebo. AGE also significantly lowered systolic and diastolic blood pressure.
Reference: BMC Complementary Medicine and Therapies; April, 2020, Vol. 20, Article No. 132
Aged garlic, microcirculation & wound healing
When arteries narrow due to buildup of plaques, chances increase for adverse heart events. People with this condition, and those with diabetes, have poor circulation in the smallest blood vessels in the skin, which impairs wound healing. Increasing blood flow by improving vessel health lowers chances for adverse events and improves wound healing. In this study, 122 men and women with higher chances for adverse heart events took a placebo or 2,400 mg of aged garlic extract per day.
To measure changes in blood flow to the smallest vessels, doctors restricted blood flow at the arm with a blood pressure cuff for three minutes, then released the cuff to gauge the increase in blood flow. After 12 months, blood flow to the smallest vessels in the skin increased by 30 percent more for those taking aged garlic extract compared to placebo.
Reference: International Wound Journal; 2019, Vol. 16, No. 6, 1487-93
Garlic extract improved circulation and reduced chronic inflammation in obese individuals. In this study, 88 obese men and women, aged 25 to 60, with no history of high blood pressure, coronary artery disease, stroke, or congestive heart failure, took 400 mg per day of garlic extract, or a placebo.
After three months, while there was no change for placebo, arterial stiffness had improved, becoming more flexible and lowering chances for a circulatory event. Also for garlic, levels of high-sensitivity C-reactive protein—an inflammatory factor—declined, as did LDL, the “bad” cholesterol, while total antioxidant capacity increased.
Discussing the findings, doctors said the results show, in obese individuals, garlic extract may improve arterial flexibility, reduce chronic inflammation, and lower chances for heart and circulatory events.
Reference: Biomedicine & Pharmacotherapy; 2018, Vol. 102, 792-7
1 J Nutr. 2011 Nov;141(11):1947-53. doi: 10.3945/jn.111.146050. Epub 2011 Sep 14
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