Aged garlic for healthy ageing: Australian study reveals heart health benefits of supplement
The 12-week study, published in Frontiers of Nutrition, investigated the effects of daily intake of Kyolic Aged Garlic Extract or placebo on 49 hypertensive patients, measuring changes in their blood pressure, arterial stiffness, inflammatory markers and gut microbiota.
They then reported that in the group supplemented with Kyolic, mean blood pressure was significantly reduced (10mmHg to 13.6mmHg systolic and 5.4mmHg to 7.7mmHg diastolic), compared to the placebo group.
Other positive effects observed in the supplemented group included improvements in arterial stiffness, inflammatory markers and gut microbiota.
Speaking to NutraIngredients-Asia, lead researcher Dr Karin Ried said: “We’ve been researching Kyolic for the last 10 years, and we’ve found consistently that it can reduce blood pressure as well as standard blood pressure medication can.
“We have had patients in our trials with a blood pressure of 160/80, and Kyolic reduced this over three months to about 120/80 in some of them, who had each taken two capsules a day. This represents a significant reduction of 40mmHg systolic blood pressure.”
Ried, who is an associate professor at the National Institute of Integrative Medicine (NIIM) in Melbourne, added that she and her team at the NIIM had conducted four trials on Kyolic involving approximately 300 patients so far.
These participants all had uncontrolled hypertension, meaning their blood pressure had not yet been lowered by standard medication at the time of these trials; some were on medication while others were not.
While standard blood pressure medication does not work the same way for every hypertensive patient, Ried said 90% of the participants in these studies were responsive to Kyolic in terms of blood pressure reduction, suggesting that it had surpassed standard medication.
The active ingredient S-allylcysteine (SAC) is responsible for Kyolic’s effect on blood pressure, with the optimal daily intake amount per person being 1.2mg.
Ried added: “Kyolic does not have the same side effects standard blood pressure medications can have. Over 60% of patients on standard medication experience side effects — sometimes, it can be severe and require hospitalisation, which is rare, but many may experience dizziness or dry mouth.
“Kyolic does not have these side effects, though it may cause minor issues such as bloating in the first week of supplementation.”
In addition, while standard blood pressure medication can also lower normal blood pressure, making it possible for a pre-hypertensive individual with normal blood pressure to have his blood pressure reduced to an unhealthy level, Kyolic merely normalises low and high blood pressure instead of lowering normal blood pressure.
Ried further revealed: “In our first trial, which was published in 2010, we looked at pre-hypertensive patients, including those with normal blood pressure and those with high blood pressure. Kyolic did not reduce normal blood pressure significantly, whereas standard blood pressure medication can do so.”
Components and compositions
However, she also cautioned against simply increasing the amount of garlic in one’s diet, as garlic loses its active component allicin — which possesses anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties — when cooked.
Furthermore, an excessive intake of garlic itself can cause over-thinning of the blood, whereas Kyolic does not.
Ried said; “In previous trials, we’ve observed that Kyolic can also normalise cholesterol, as well as blood stickiness — this ensures the blood is not too thick or thin.
“A 2006 trial showed that Kyolic did not increase the risk of bleeding in patients on blood-thinning medication, who were each given 10g of Kyolic daily.”
These findings hold great potential for the Australian population, among whom almost six million adults (33.7% of adults) suffer from hypertension.
High blood pressure is also the leading risk factor for cardiovascular disease, and left uncontrolled, can result in heart attacks, stroke or kidney failure.
While Kyolic is sold in capsule format in Australia, it is also available in liquid format in the US, where Wakunaga of America develops and sells the supplement. In Australia, Vitaco’s Nutralife brand has the exclusive rights to Kyolic.
The heart of the matter
In addition to its normalising effects on blood pressure, Kyolic was also found to improve other cardiovascular health markers, such as arterial stiffness (i.e., how quickly blood flows through the arteries), inflammation and gut microbiota.
Ried said, “One of the major findings in our latest trial is that Kyolic reduced arterial stiffness. With age, it’s normal for arteries to become stiffer. But in three months, Kyolic was able to reduce arterial stiffness by five years.
“This rejuvenates the arteries, making them more flexible and better able to take in more oxygen due to the slower blood flow, therefore improving aerobic fitness. For example, this leads to greatly improved recovery and general lung capacity in middle-aged people when they exercise.”
She further said that even a person without high blood pressure or with a genetic pre-disposition to more flexible arteries can benefit from Kyolic, as the ageing process was bound to change the composition of one’s arteries eventually.
Recent research around the link between the gut microbiome and cardiovascular health and cognitive function lends further credence to the healthy ageing benefits of Kyolic.
Ried said, “We are the first in the world to have looked at the impact of Kyolic intake on gut health. Kyolic contains prebiotics, which help good bacteria to grow.
“We found in this trial that good bacteria — especially Lactobacillus and Clostridia — increased in the group supplemented with Kyolic, and their gut composition stayed the same even after they stopped taking the supplement.
“In the placebo group, there was no change in Lactobacillus or Clostridia but in another bacteria, which thrives on cellulose found in the placebo.”