Garlic (Allium sativum) is known worldwide. enjoyed with meals, it adds an undeniable flavor. But as a natural medicine, it takes a lot of garlic to get healthy benefits.
Now it is very likely that your patients have heard about the many benefits of garlic, most of them relating to heart health.
A Simple Way To Help The Heart
There is very strong evidence of garlic’s support for the cardiovascular system. Clinical studies and overall reports about garlic have been very positive. In a recent overall analysis of 26 studies, garlic was cited as having “striking effects” during “long-term” interventions. In fact, the authors of this meta-study concluded that garlic would help patients in general “at risk of cardiovascular disease.”
One of the ways that garlic helps is by reducing oxidative stress throughout the body, including the cardiovascular system. In fact, oxidative stress and inflammation are two primary reasons that cholesterol can begin to clog arteries. Fresh garlic has been shown to reverse the markers of oxidative stress in the cardiovascular system. Garlic also triggers nitrous oxide (a strong vasodilator) to open up blood vessels and reduce blood pressure.
In another meta-analysis, studies examining garlic and blood pressure levels were reviewed. All of the eleven studies that met the criteria (there were 25 to start with), showed a decrease of systolic blood pressure (the top number in your blood pressure readings) compared to placebo. The average for those in the subgroup that actually had hypertension was a decrease of 8.4 mm/Hg for systolic blood pressure and 7.3 mm/Hg for diastolic (the bottom number) blood pressure. For your patients, that can mean the difference between having high blood pressure and having perfectly normal blood pressure.
The authors of the analysis concluded that “garlic preparations are superior to placebo in reducing blood pressure in individuals with hypertension.”
Because garlic reduces inflammation, it may address heart disease and diabetes, as well as other conditions that contribute to metabolic syndrome.
Garlic appears to help in metabolic syndrome conditions, including preventing the platelet aggregation that leads to clogged arteries.
What Are The Garlic Components To Look For?
The compounds in garlic that work so well in the body must work together at the right time in order to be effective. The first two compounds are alliin and allinase, an activating enzyme. These two separate elements combine when fresh garlic is crushed to form allicin.
Allicin is one of the most beneficial compounds in garlic, and is responsible for its smell. Unfortunately, when allicin is exposed to oxygen the way garlic is during a meal, the allicin content is not very stable. It becomes even less so in the acidic environment of the stomach.
Make sure that the elements that create allicin are present. That’s why an effective garlic supplement should be standardized for its alliin content.
Fresh Garlic Really is Different Than the Rest
A word about aged garlic: It really is different from fresh garlic.
Despite both originating as garlic, aged and fresh garlic extracts are not alike. They are processed differently and contain different components. Aged garlic extract contains S-allyl mercaptocysteine (SAMC). Interestingly, fresh garlic does not contain any SAMC, because this compound only appears after the aging process. And aged garlic doesn’t contain any beneficial yield of allicin.
Other Health Benefits
Like all natural substances, garlic does more than just one job for us. While garlic has been primarily associated with heart health, there is growing evidence that the compounds in fresh garlic inhibit tumor growth.
One compound of particular interest is ajoene. A cellular study showed that ajoene was responsible for about 30 percent of the tumor apoptosis in human leukemia cells. Additionally, it even supported the other conventional treatments for these tumors.
Taking Care of Your Heart Can Be Easy
Of course, your patients need to have a sensible diet and exercise program when they have concerns about heart health. But recommending a fresh garlic supplement each day as part of their supplement protocol may be one of the simplest ways of providing the compounds they need for extra cardiovascular protection.
For best results, take a fresh garlic extract standardized to the key compound alliin.