Garlic doesn't lower cholesterol
Eating garlic cloves every day does not reduce the cholesterol levels. However, they may protect the heart in other ways.
Eating garlic cloves or garlic supplement every day does not reduce the cholesterol levels. However, they may protect the heart in other ways.
Researchers from the Stanford University Medical School in California found that adults with moderately high levels of LDL ("bad") cholesterol who ate the equivalent of one clove of garlic a day, six days a week, for six months showed no significant changes in their LDL levels or any other measurement of blood lipids or fats.
Garlic supplements or dietary garlic in reasonable doses are unlikely to produce lipid benefits. Crushing garlic triggers the release of allicin, a chemical that blocks the formation of cholesterol in a lab dish, and many animal studies have found garlic can lower cholesterol. However, human studies of garlic's cholesterol-lowering powers have had mixed results.
The biological activity of garlic may vary, depending on its formulation. The researchers compared three different forms - raw garlic, powdered garlic supplement, and aged garlic extract to placebo in 192 men and women with moderately elevated LDL cholesterol levels. The researchers took blood samples from the participants' monthly for six months, and found no significant reductions in LDL cholesterol for any of the four groups.
The current study used higher levels of allicin than investigated in past trials, and also involved more participants than almost all previous investigations. However, garlic could be helpful for people with higher levels of cholesterol than individuals in the current study.
The findings suggest that garlic may have other cardiovascular benefits, perhaps to slow hardening of the arteries or reduce a propensity to form blood clots. The results do not rule out usefulness of garlic in the prevention of cardiovascular disease. The supplements are probably, safe, but the jury is still out on their protective effects on the heart.
Archives of Internal Medicine,
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