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Aged Garlic Extract May Improve Blood Pressure

6/28/2016 1:09:02 PM
Nearly a third of all adults suffer from hypertension, which attributes to four in 10 cardiovascular deaths. Blood pressure medications, while widely prescribed, are not effective in all cases. In addition, they can cause serious side effects.
In many cases, blood pressure can be controlled with diet and lifestyle alone. Some natural supplements also are effective at lowering blood pressure. One of the supplements that receives a lot of attention is aged garlic extract (AGE). Previous studies have shown aged garlic extract (AGE) to reduce peripheral blood pressure. This 2016 study published in the journal Integrated Blood Pressure Control is the first to assess AGE’s effects closer to the heart, including central blood pressure and arterial stiffness—both important risk factors for death from cardiovascular disease.
This double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trial included 88 participants with uncontrolled blood pressure. They were assigned to take either AGE (1.2 g containing 1.2 mg S-allylcysteine per day) or placebo for 12 weeks. The researchers looked at the effects on blood pressure, as well as other markers such as cholesterol, homocysteine, and inflammatory markers.
They found that 50 to 58 percent of participants responded to the AGE, and those responders experienced significant blood pressure reductions of 11.5±1.9 mmHg systolic and 6.3±1.1 mmHg diastolic compared to placebo (p<0.001). The mean reduction of all participants, taking into account both responders and nonresponders, was still significant for systolic pressure: 5.0±2.1 mmHg (p=0.016) but did not reach significance for diastolic blood pressure. Central measures such as central blood pressure and arterial stiffness also tended to improve more in the garlic group than in the placebo group. For the other cardiovascular markers measured, changes did not reach significance. This might be because the subgroups with elevated levels of those markers were too small.
This trial also found that AGE was well tolerated and did not contribute to bleeding in people taking blood thinners. Given the safety profile of AGE, it may be worth including in blood pressure–reduction plans.
Reference: Ried K, Travica N, Sali A. The effect of aged garlic extract on blood pressure and other cardiovascular risk factors in uncontrolled hypertensives: the AGE at Heart trial. Integr Blood Press Control. 2016;9:9-21.