Natural Foods Merchandiser

Study Shows Garlic Good for Heart

Taking aged garlic can save the lives of people at high risk for cardiovascular disease or who have had heart surgery, said Matthew Budoff, M.D.

Budoff, assistant professor of medicine at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center in Los Angeles, was lead scientist on a UCLA Research and Education Institute study that looked at 19 cardiac patients over one year. Study results were released Feb. 28.

Nine study participants received regular dosages of Kyolic aged garlic extract, and 10 were given an odorless placebo. By the end of the study, patients taking the garlic extract had significantly less coronary plaque formation than did those in the placebo group. The garlic extract also raised HDL, or "good," cholesterol, and lowered homocysteine levels in study participants. Homocysteine is an amino acid that can block arteries.

Acknowledging that the study is small, Budoff said its results are still significant, and the study has been submitted for publication. The next study will include at least 300 patients and will likely look at such risk factors as C-reactive protein and inflammatory eicosanoids, like prostaglandin, that also link heart disease and inflammatory disease processes, Budoff said.

James J. Gormley is a freelance writer in New York.

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