Obesity is associated with inflammation that can exacerbate pain and contribute to chronic conditions such as diabetes or heart disease. Now researchers have found that a dietary supplement containing aged garlic extract can reduce some immune system compounds associated with inflammation (Xu et al, Clinical Nutrition ESPEN, online, Dec. 6, 2017).
A Scientific Study of Aged Garlic Extract:
The study was a randomized placebo-controlled trial of 51 healthy but obese individuals. Obesity itself is linked to increased inflammation, and low-grade inflammation is associated with many chronic diseases. The researchers wondered whether the supplement would reduce inflammation due to obesity.
Half took aged garlic extract for six weeks, while the other half took an identical-appearing placebo. At the beginning and end of the study, blood was drawn to measure inflammation and cholesterol.
In addition to drops in two inflammatory markers, IL-6 and TNF-alpha, the investigators found that those taking the extract had significantly lowered their dangerous LDL cholesterol. Because heart disease is associated with elevated LDL cholesterol and inflammation, it is plausible that this supplement might be protective.
However, there are some red flags. The study was supported by Wakunaga of America, the manufacturer of Kyolic aged garlic extract. In addition, the study was of limited size and duration. The results are certainly intriguing, but more research is needed before concluding that garlic supplements can prevent heart disease.