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Bratisl Lek Listy. 2010;111(8):452-6.

Garlic (Allium sativum L.) and cardiovascular diseases.

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  • 1Institute of Preventive and Clinical Medicine, Bratislava, Slovakia.


Garlic is an important component in the complementary and alternative medicine. Large segments of population believe in and utilize herbal products even when these have not been as thoroughly researched as garlic. Experimental and clinical studies confirm that the ancient experience with beneficial effects of garlic holds validity even in prevention of cardiovascular disorders and other metabolic ills. Most recent data published after year 2000 convincingly point out that garlic and its various forms reduce cardiovascular risk, including abnormal plasma lipids, oxidized low density lipoproteins (LDL), abnormal platelet aggregation and a high blood pressure. Stimulation of nitric oxide generation in endothelial cells seems to be the critical preventive mechanism. Garlic may promote an anti-inflammatory environment by cytokine modulation in human blood. Cardioprotective effects of dietary garlic are mediated in large part via the generation of hydrogen sulfide (H2S). Garlic-derived organic polysulfides are converted by erythrocytes into hydrogen sulfide which relaxes vascular smooth muscle, induces vasodilation of blood vessels, and significantly reduces blood pressure. There are data on potential ability of garlic to inhibit the rate of progression of coronary calcification. Garlic as a dietary component appears to hold promise to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease (Fig. 2, Ref. 46).

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