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Garlic for Cholesterol

3/12/2019 12:25:39 PM

Dyslipidemia, which can include elevated total cholesterol (TC), elevated low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C), elevated triglycerides, or decreased high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C), contributes to the pathogenesis of cardiovascular disease. Garlic contains sulfur-containing compounds, which benefit cardiovascular health via numerous mechanisms. Among these mechanisms are antimicrobial, antioxidant, anticoagulant, antihypertensive, and anti-hyperlipidemic actions.

Studies on Garlic for Cholesterol

To update the evidence for the efficacy of garlic in reducing serum cholesterol levels, researchers conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis. A total of 14 studies, involving 1093 hyperlipidemic patients, were included in the final analysis. All included studies were randomized, placebo-controlled, parallel-group studies evaluating garlic as an intervention and lipid profiles as an outcome. 
The studies ranged in duration from 4 weeks to 10 months. The types of garlic were aged black garlic, garlic oil, and garlic powder. Garlic dosages ranged from 0.3 grams to 20 grams per day. Pooled analysis showed that TC, LDL, and HDL levels were significantly different between garlic and placebo after the intervention. Garlic reduced TC by a standard mean difference (SMD) of -1.26 mg/dL (95% CI, -1.86 to -0.66), reduced LDL-C by a mean of -1.07 mg/dL (95% CI, -1.67 to -0.47), and increased HDL by a mean of 0.50 (95% CI, 0.06 to 0.94). There were no significant differences between groups for TG levels.

How to Use Garlic for Cholesterol

Given the wide variation in garlic types, dosages, and duration of use, the authors of this meta-analysis are not able to make specific clinical recommendations for its use. The pooled analysis of studies shows that garlic has a small yet statistically significant effect on lipid profiles. Patients with hyperlipidemia can be advised to eat more garlic, and further studies can confirm whether supplementation provides additional benefit.
Sun YE, Wang W, Qin J. Anti-hyperlipidemia of garlic by reducing the level of total cholesterol and low-density lipoprotein: A meta-analysis. Medicine (Baltimore). 2018; 97: e0255.

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