Saravanan (Van) Krishnamoorthy MD, Co-Founder of TapClarity.com
Millenia ago, Ayurvedic texts elucidated the benefits of garlic. Indeed garlic has wide ranging effects on the body, including the hridaya (heart). Fast forward to modern times and, In the last 10 years, we have learned a lot more about the wonders of garlic. One of the forms of garlic that is under study by trineOMICS Advisor, Dr Matt Budoff, and others is Aged Garlic Extract (AGE). Fresh garlic has benefits on its own. By aging garlic, we enhance it's the ability to fight cardiovascular diseases.
Before we dig into the health benefits of Aged Garlic Extract, let's discuss how we prepare it. Fresh garlic is crushed and stored in a solution of ethanol and water. The amount of time people keep the garlic in this solution varies from as little as 3 months to as long as 20 months. Through this aging process, dozens of organosulfur compounds are produced. Some of these compounds are bioactive, meaning they have biological effects on us. These effects are quite remarkable and help protect against inflammation, infection, cardiovascular diseases, cancer, and maybe even Alzheimer's disease. One brand of AGE is Kyolic. Wakunaga, a Japanese company manufactures Kyolic.
Using Kyolic brand AGE, Dr Budoff and his team performed several small clinical studies comparing AGE to placebo. In one study, study participants with evidence of coronary plaque on imaging were given 2400 mg of AGE. As a refresher, coronary arteries supply blood to the heart. When fatty plaques form in coronary arteries, we call that heart disease. The devastating event that can occur in the setting of heart disease is heart attack.
Fatty plaque has 2 general forms - soft (or non calcified) plaque versus calcified plaque. Using a specialized imaging test called a CT Angiogram (CTA), we can analyze the coronary arteries for the presence of plaque. Each person in the study got a CTA in the beginning of the study and again at the end of the study 1 year later. Some of the participants were given 2400 mg of AGE and the others were given a placebo pill that did not contain any bioactive compounds. Dr Budoff quantified the amount of soft plaque on the CTA scans and found that AGE reduced the amount of sot plaque!
CTA if a coronary artery. The lumen is the part of a coronary artery that is open to blood flow. Eccentric soft (noncalcified) plaque is present.
How about calcified plaque you ask? We measure the amount of calcified plaque in a person's coronary (heart) arteries using a test called the Heart Calcium Scan. President Donald Trump had a heart calcium scan. In case you want to refresh your memory, in a separate blog post, I detailed the power of measuring calcified plaque (link here). Dr Buodff, who is the world expert in the Heart Calcium Scan, performed another small study in which he used Calcium Scans to follow people treated with AGE.
As we get older, an abnormal Heart will typically worsen. The data in this study supported this pattern. However, the study participants who took AGE had a lower rate of progression. In other words, the amount of calcified plaque did not increase as much as it did for the participants who got placebo. In addition, AGE reduced LDL (bad cholesterol), while increasing HDL (good cholesterol).
AGE helps attack heart disease in other ways as well. I will cover one of those in a future blog post - inflammation. In that future post, I will also dig into scientific data about heart disease in autoimmune inflammatory diseases like lupus and rheumatoid arthritis. While you wait for that post, you may want to join me in taking 1200 mg of AGE a day. Here is it at Amazon:
1. Matsumoto, Suguru, et al. "Aged garlic extract reduces low attenuation plaque in coronary arteries of patients with metabolic syndrome in a prospective randomized double-blind study." The Journal of nutrition 146.2 (2016): 427S-432S.
2. Budoff, Matthew J., et al. "Aged garlic extract supplemented with B vitamins, folic acid and L-arginine retards the progression of subclinical atherosclerosis: a randomized clinical trial." Preventive medicine 49.2-3 (2009): 101-107.
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