Benefits of Garlic Powder for Heart Disease

Benefits of Garlic Powder for Heart Disease
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See what a penny a day worth of garlic powder can do.

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Below is an approximation of this video’s audio content. To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video.

In ancient Greece, the art of medicine was divided into three areas: cures through diet, cures through drugs, and cures through surgery. Garlic, Hippocrates wrote, was one such medicinal food, but that was to treat a nonexistent entity called “displacement of the womb.” So, ancient wisdom can only go so far.

Those who eat more than a clove a day do seem to have better artery function than those who eat less than a clove a day, but you don’t know if it’s cause and effect until you put it to the test.

Heart disease patients were randomized to receive either garlic powder or placebo tablets twice daily for three months. And, those lucky enough to be in the garlic group got a significant boost in their artery function: a 50 percent increase in function taking only 800 mg of garlic powder a day. That’s just a quarter-teaspoon of garlic powder; a 50 percent increase in artery function for less than a penny a day.

If regular, plain, boring garlic powder can do that, what about those fancy Kyolic aged garlic extract supplements? Thirty times more expensive, and they don’t work at all! Four weeks and zero significant improvement. It’s hard to improve on Mother Nature.

Garlic powder can improve the function of our arteries, but what about the structure of our arteries? Dozens of studies on garlic, all compiled together, show garlic can reduce cholesterol levels in the blood by more than 16 points. So, might garlic powder be able to actually slow the progression of atherosclerosis? Garlic powder tablet versus placebo for three months. The placebo group got worse, which is what tends to happen. Eat the same artery-clogging diet, and your arteries continue to clog. But, the progression of the disease appeared to slow and stall in the garlic group. Of course, it would be nice to see the artery wall thickening actually reverse, but for that, one might have to add more plants than just garlic to one’s diet. Still, though, that same quarter-teaspoon of a simple spice available everywhere may be considered as an adjunct treatment for atherosclerosis, the number one killer of both men and women in the United States and around much of the world.

What about garlic for high blood pressure? A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials demonstrating garlic has “a statistically significant and clinically meaningful effect” on both systolic and diastolic blood pressure, reducing the top number by nearly seven and the bottom number by about five. That may not sound like a lot, but reducing diastolic blood pressure—the bottom number—by five points can reduce the risk of stroke by about a third, and heart disease by 25 percent.

Plant-based medicine can provide beneficial effects, with little or no side effects, and “compared to other medicine are relatively cost effective.” I’d say so, at as little as a penny per day.

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Image credit: John Phelan via wikimedia. Image has been modified.

Motion graphics by Avocado Video

Below is an approximation of this video’s audio content. To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video.

In ancient Greece, the art of medicine was divided into three areas: cures through diet, cures through drugs, and cures through surgery. Garlic, Hippocrates wrote, was one such medicinal food, but that was to treat a nonexistent entity called “displacement of the womb.” So, ancient wisdom can only go so far.

Those who eat more than a clove a day do seem to have better artery function than those who eat less than a clove a day, but you don’t know if it’s cause and effect until you put it to the test.

Heart disease patients were randomized to receive either garlic powder or placebo tablets twice daily for three months. And, those lucky enough to be in the garlic group got a significant boost in their artery function: a 50 percent increase in function taking only 800 mg of garlic powder a day. That’s just a quarter-teaspoon of garlic powder; a 50 percent increase in artery function for less than a penny a day.

If regular, plain, boring garlic powder can do that, what about those fancy Kyolic aged garlic extract supplements? Thirty times more expensive, and they don’t work at all! Four weeks and zero significant improvement. It’s hard to improve on Mother Nature.

Garlic powder can improve the function of our arteries, but what about the structure of our arteries? Dozens of studies on garlic, all compiled together, show garlic can reduce cholesterol levels in the blood by more than 16 points. So, might garlic powder be able to actually slow the progression of atherosclerosis? Garlic powder tablet versus placebo for three months. The placebo group got worse, which is what tends to happen. Eat the same artery-clogging diet, and your arteries continue to clog. But, the progression of the disease appeared to slow and stall in the garlic group. Of course, it would be nice to see the artery wall thickening actually reverse, but for that, one might have to add more plants than just garlic to one’s diet. Still, though, that same quarter-teaspoon of a simple spice available everywhere may be considered as an adjunct treatment for atherosclerosis, the number one killer of both men and women in the United States and around much of the world.

What about garlic for high blood pressure? A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials demonstrating garlic has “a statistically significant and clinically meaningful effect” on both systolic and diastolic blood pressure, reducing the top number by nearly seven and the bottom number by about five. That may not sound like a lot, but reducing diastolic blood pressure—the bottom number—by five points can reduce the risk of stroke by about a third, and heart disease by 25 percent.

Plant-based medicine can provide beneficial effects, with little or no side effects, and “compared to other medicine are relatively cost effective.” I’d say so, at as little as a penny per day.

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Image credit: John Phelan via wikimedia. Image has been modified.

Motion graphics by Avocado Video

Doctor's Note

What else can garlic do?

Here’s a tasty recipe for garlic, from the How Not to Die Cookbook: Garlic Caesar Salad Dressing.

Of course, the best way to treat heart disease is to simply get rid of it by treating the underlying cause: How Not to Die from Heart Disease

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