Top medical researchers from across the globe gathered at the 2014 International Garlic Symposium to share new findings on the many health benefits of garlic. The symposium, which was held March 4th through March 6th at the St. Regis Monarch Beach Resort in Dana Point, California, was sponsored jointly by Harbor-UCLA Medical Center in Torrance, California and the University of Florida.
Garlic has a long history of medicinal use dating back to 2600 B.C. Today, a wealth of research has confirmed a wide range of benefits ranging from cardiovascular health to immune regulation and mitigating metabolic syndrome. Among the presenters was Matthew Budoff, MD, Professor of Medicine at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center and Chair of the symposium’s committee. Dr. Budoff presented four double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trials focusing on aged garlic extract's (AGE’s) beneficial impact on cardiovascular disease. The first three studies provided evidence of AGE’s ability to reduce cardiovascular risk factors and slow the progression of atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries) by enhancing blood vessel function, reducing LDL cholesterol, and improving both C-reactive protein and homocysteine levels.
Budoff’s fourth—and most recent—clinical study investigated AGE’s potential to decrease coronary plaque in 71 patients with metabolic syndrome using cardiac computed tomographic angiography. This cutting edge technology confirmed that AGE slowed the progression of total plaque accumulation by as much as 80 percent.
“AGE is both beneficial for slowing atherosclerosis and reversing the early stages of heart disease,” says Budoff. “Few therapies have ever been able to slow or stop atherosclerosis. AGE is now in an elite class of therapies that allows us to potentially reverse the process of heart disease.”
Research into AGE’s ability to improve other risk factors for metabolic syndrome was presented by Nessar Ahmed, PhD., of the United Kingdom’s Manchester Metropolitan University. His study, which involved 48 diabetic patients, found that high dose AGE inhibited oxidative stress and the formation of advanced glycation end products. Advanced glycation end products are proteins or lipids that become glycated after exposure to sugars. These damaged proteins have been linked to premature aging and contribute to complications in those with type 2 diabetes.
“Since cardiovascular disease and metabolic syndrome often co-exist and share a number of risk factors, these findings have real-world applications for people suffering from these two diseases,” notes Toshi Ide, Director of Research and Development at Wakunaga of America in Mission Viejo, California.
AGE also has immune modulating and antioxidant properties. Findings offered by Thomas Hofmann, PhD., Professor of Technische Universität München in Freising, Germany, and his colleague Timo D. Stark, confirmed AGE’s powerful antioxidant capabilities. Specifically, AGE increases the activity of superoxide dismutase, catalase, and glutathione while also scavenging harmful free radicals. This new research further adds to AGE’s immune boosting capabilities with the identification of two new lignin (polyphenol) compounds. While additional research needs to be done, this study may show that there are additional bioactives at work beyond AGE’s recognized organosulfur compounds. This may further establish AGE’s potential role in strengthening immune function.
Additional presentations on garlic’s health benefits were conducted by an international array of scientists including Khalid Rahman, PhD., Professor of the School of Pharmacy and Biomolecular Sciences at Liverpool John Moores University, UK; Karin Ried, PhD., Research Director of the National Institute of Integrative Medicine in Melbourne, Australia; Norbert Weiss, M.D., PhD., of the Center for Vascular Diseases and Department of Medicine III-Section Angiology, University Hospital Carl Gustav Carus at the Technische Universität in Dresden, Germany; and Patricio Lopez-Jaramillio, M.D., PhD., Research Director FOSCAL Medical School, Universidad de Santander, Bucaramanga, Columbia, among others.
“Taken together, these findings add to the growing body of scientific evidence on AGE’s broad health benefits,” says Jay Levy, Director of Sales for Wakunaga of America. “It’s extremely rewarding to see these benefits confirmed in human trials. This research reinforces our long-standing belief that AGE’s multiple health benefits can help millions of people around the world, especially those with cardiovascular, metabolic, or immune concerns.”