Garlic may play vital role in treating hypertension

A University of Adelaide study shows that aged garlic extract may help lower blood pressure in the 3.7 million Australians who suffer hypertension. Research trials by Dr Karin Ried and her colleagues from the University’s Discipline of General Practice show that garlic could be used as an adjunct to conventional drugs for hypertension. However, raw or cooked garlic, and garlic powder are not as effective in treating high blood pressure as aged garlic extract. In a 12-week trial involving 50 people, Dr Karin Ried’s team found that those with systolic blood pressure above 140 who took aged garlic extract capsules experienced an average systolic blood pressure 10.2mmHg lower than the control group, who took a placebo. “This reduction is clinically

significant, as a drop in systolic blood pressure by 5 mmHg reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease by 8-20%,” Dr Ried says. “Garlic is thought to have an antihypertensive effect because it stimulates production of certain chemical substances called nitric oxide (NO) and hydrogen sulphide (H2S), which helps relax blood vessels.” The results of the team’s study have been published in Maturitas, an international peer-reviewed scientific journal produced by Elsevier, the world’s largest publisher of science and health information. “High blood pressure is an important risk factor for cardiovascular disease,” Dr Ried says. “About 30% of adults in Australia are hypertensive, yet only half that number are on BP medication and 60% of those who are receiving treatment are inadequately controlled.” Dr Ried says high blood pressure is the most frequently managed problem in Australian general practice, accounting for almost 10% of GP visits. “This statistic, coupled with the fact that Australians are comfortable with using complementary and alternative medicine, shows there is plenty of scope to explore the use of garlic as an effective treatment option for people suffering hypertension.” Last month, Dr Ried and her colleagues created worldwide attention for another study which found that dark chocolate was also

effective in reducing high blood pressure. – Dr Karin Ried is Research Fellow and Program Manager of the PHCRED  (Primary Health Care Research Evaluation & Development) program at The University of Adelaide since 2006. Karin has over 15 years experience in medical and public health research. She completed her PhD in Molecular Biology/Human Genetics at the University of Heidelberg in Germany, and came to Australia in 1997 to undertake post-doctoral research on cancer genes at the Women’s and Children’s Hospital in Adelaide. Karin extended her knowledge in health sciences with a Graduate Diploma in Public Health at the University of Adelaide (2001) and a Certificate in Integrative Medicine (2009). Dr Ried’s research interest is in complementary and integrative medicine with a focus on nutritional health. Her research projects encompass public health nutrition and epidemiology, infant nutrition, gastrointestinal health, cardiovascular health, bone health, and women’s health. In her current role as PHCRED Program Manager, Karin is responsible for mentoring PHCRED funded researchers and managing and developing capacity building activities, including workshops on research methods. Karin has expertise in quantitative research, in particular in systematic reviews and meta-analyses, questionnaire design and survey

methods, as well as in various aspects of qualitative research. In 2010, Karin took on the role as Honours Convenor for the School of Population Health & Clinical Practice.   Dr Karin Ried. News from: The University of Adelaide AUSTRALIA   adelaide.edu.au  ~  Properties: When crushed, Allium sativum yields allicin, a powerful antibiotic and antifungal compound (phytoncide). It has been claimed that it can be used as a home remedy to help speed recovery from strep throat or other minor ailments because of its antibiotic properties[citation needed]. It also contains the sulfur containing compounds alliin, ajoene, diallylsulfide, dithiin, S-allylcysteine, and enzymes, vitamin B, proteins, minerals, saponins, flavonoids, and maillard reaction products, which are non-sulfur containing compounds. Furthermore a phytoalexin called allixin (3-hydroxy-5-methoxy-6-methyl-2-penthyl-4H-pyran-4-one) was found, a non-sulfur compound with a γ-pyrone skeleton structure with anti-oxidative effects, anti-microbial effects, anti-tumor promoting effects, inhibition of aflatoxin B2 DNA binding, and neurotrophic effects. Allixin showed an anti-tumor promoting effect in vivo, inhibiting skin tumor formation by TPA in DMBA initiated mice.  Analogs of this compound have exhibited anti tumor promoting effects in in vitro experimental conditions. Herein, allixin and/or its analogs may be expected useful compounds for cancer prevention or chemotherapy agents for other

diseases. The composition of the bulbs is approximately 84.09% water, 13.38% organic matter, and 1.53% inorganic matter, while the leaves are 87.14% water, 11.27% organic matter, and 1.59% inorganic matter. The phytochemicals responsible for the sharp flavor of garlic are produced when the plant’s cells are damaged. When a cell is broken by chopping, chewing, or crushing, enzymes stored in cell vacuoles trigger the breakdown of several sulfur-containing compounds stored in the cell fluids. The resultant compounds are responsible for the sharp or hot taste and strong smell of garlic. Some of the compounds are unstable and continue to evolve over time. Among the members of the onion family, garlic has by far the highest concentrations of initial reaction products, making garlic much more potent than onions, shallots, or leeks.Although many humans enjoy the taste of garlic, these compounds are believed to have evolved as a defensive mechanism, deterring animals like birds, insects, and worms from eating the plant. A large number of sulfur compounds contribute to the smell and taste of garlic. Diallyl disulfide is believed to be an important odour component. Allicin has

been found to be the compound most responsible for the “hot” sensation of raw garlic. This chemical opens thermoTRP (transient receptor potential) channels that are responsible for the burning sense of heat in foods. The process of cooking garlic removes allicin, thus mellowing its spiciness. Due to its strong odor, garlic is sometimes called the “stinking rose”. When eaten in quantity, garlic may be strongly evident in the diner’s sweat and breath the following day. This is because garlic’s strong-smelling sulfur compounds are metabolized, forming allyl methyl sulfide. Allyl methyl sulfide (AMS) cannot be digested and is passed into the blood. It is carried to the lungs and the skin, where it is excreted. Since digestion takes several hours, and release of AMS several hours more, the effect of eating garlic may be present for a long time. This well-known phenomenon of “garlic breath” is alleged to be alleviated by eating fresh parsley. The herb is, therefore, included in many garlic recipes, such as pistou, persillade, and the garlic butter spread used in garlic bread. However, since the odour results mainly from digestive processes placing compounds such as AMS in the blood, and AMS is then released through the lungs over the course of many hours, eating parsley provides only a temporary masking. One way of accelerating the release of AMS from the body is the use of a sauna. Because of the AMS in the bloodstream, it is believed by some to act as a mosquito repellent. However, there is no evidence to suggest that garlic is actually effective for this purpose. ~  GoodNews International

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