Aged garlic extract is rich in antioxidant phenols that are heart healthy. [Photo: Bigstock]

Daily aged garlic helps keep arteries clear

26 January, 2016

Natural Health News — Supplementing with aged garlic extract can reverse the build-up of deadly plaque in arteries and help prevent the progression of heart disease, according to a new study

The research, conducted at Los Angeles Biomedical Research Institute at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center (LA BioMed), found a reduction in the amount of low-attenuation plaque, more commonly known as “soft plaque,” in the arteries of patients with metabolic syndrome who took aged garlic extract (AGE).

Unlike hard plaque, which builds up on the walls of the arteries blocking blood flow, soft plaque, which is caused by inflammation and is made up of cells that aggressively clot the blood, can build up inside the artery wall, weakening it and raising the risk of rupture and the release of fatal blood clots. Soft plaque is thought to be the cause of the majority of heart attacks.

Significant effects from AGE

The small study, which appears in the Journal of Nutrition, involved 55 patients, aged 40 to 75 years, who had been diagnosed with metabolic syndrome – a health problem characterised by obesity, hypertension and other cardiac risk factors.

What you need to know» Aged garlic extract (AGE) is rich in naturally occurring antioxidant phenols which may be heart healthy.

» A new study has shown that taking a daily supplement of AGE can help reduce the accumulation of ‘soft plaque’ in the arteries by as much as 80%.

» Soft plaque, which builds up inside the artery walls, is believed to be the cause of most heart attacks.

» The researchers say the results show that AGE can help slow the progression of atherosclerosis and reverse the early stages of heart disease.

All underwent screening at the beginning of the study to measure their total coronary plaque volume as well as dense calcium, non-calcified plaque and low-attenuation plaque.

Following evaluation, the participants were given either a placebo or a dose of 2,400mg of AGE every day. A year later follow-up screening found those who had taken Aged Garlic Extract had slowed total plaque accumulation by 80%, reduced soft plaque and demonstrated regression (less plaque on follow-up) for low-attenuation plaque.

“This study is another demonstration of the benefits of this supplement in reducing the accumulation of soft plaque and preventing the formation of new plaque in the arteries, which can cause heart disease,” said co-author Matthew J. Budoff, MD, an LA BioMed researcher.

“We have completed four randomised studies, and they have led us to conclude that aged garlic extract can help slow the progression of atherosclerosis and reverse the early stages of heart disease.”

What is ‘aged garlic’?

Aged garlic extract, or AGE, differs from regular garlic and most types of garlic supplements in that it is naturally aged for 20 months.

This ageing process changes the garlic in some important ways. Apart from making it milder and less garlicky smelling, it also concentrates certain beneficial chemicals in the bulb. For example AGE contains higher levels of certain antioxidant phenols than cooked or raw garlic.

But the ageing process also allows certain sulphur-containing substances that are not present in raw garlic to develop. These substances – gamma-glutamyl cysteine, S-allyl cysteine, S-allyl mercaptocysteine and S-methyl cysteine – are thought to be responsible for the unique health benefits ascribed to AGE.

You can take aged garlic as a supplement and you can also cook with it (in the supermarket it is called black garlic and has a black colour and sticky texture) as part of a healthy diet.

Previous human trials have also shown that AGE can slow the progression of atherosclerosis (clogged arteries) and improve circulation.