Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Yeah, But It Still Reduces the Risk of Vampire Bites

Alas and alack, another supposed cholesterol reducing supplement bites the dust! This time, a double-blind, placebo-controlled study revealed that GARLIC has absolutely no effect on LDL or HDL cholesterol nor triglycerides. See the full text at Archives of Internal Medicine 2007; 167:346-353 or view the abstract by CLICKING HERE (these may require free member registration)

On the lighter-side, I gotta say this had to be one of the most enjoyable studies to participate in. In order to keep the study blind, volunteers all ate daily gourmet sandwiches in addition to taking supplements in order to mask who was receiving natural garlic (via the sandwich) and who was receiving the active ingredients in pill form. Which brings me to the question of the week, "What the heck did they use as a placebo in place of raw garlic in the sandwiches?!"

The researchers were quick to point out that while garlic is useless for lowering LDL cholesterol (as originally thought), it does not mean it does not have some other unknown effect on atherosclerosis. That is scientific CYA-speak for "it's about as effective as eating dirt." Garlic is a healthy food to be sure, it just won't lower your cholesterol.

Dr. Gardner, the head researcher put it best, "You just can't go out and have an Egg McMuffin for breakfast, a Big Mac for lunch, and a clove of garlic later and think you're okay. That's not the way it works. I really hope the take-home message from this is, if you're going to use garlic, use it in humus on whole-wheat bread, or in an Asian stir-fry full of vegetables, all power to you. That's where garlic is really good for you: do that."

Well Said!



neil said...

Hi HH,

There is one garlic supplement called "Kyolic" that markets a type of refined aged garlic supplement. They seem to back up their products with documentation...link (PDF file).


I would be interested in what you think about this product. I took it for awhile, but did not notice it changed my life in magical ways.

I do agree that RAW garlic does not have a pronounced special lipid effect, other than probably containing small amounts of fiber and anti-oxidants like any other veggie.



HeartHawk said...


The study tested the following four formulations:

Raw garlic

No statistical difference in lipids was observed between placebo and any of the active formulations tested including Kyolic. This was a public study untainted by manufacturer bias and will likely serve as the definitive analysis until something better comes along.



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