Garlic supplements reduce high cholesterol and decrease risk of heart disease

Date: 28-05-2013

Press Release from The National Institute of Integrative Medicine

New Australian research finds garlic supplements reduce high cholesterol and greatly decrease risk of heart disease

Monday 6 May, 2013 (TBC) – New research, led by Dr. Karin Ried of The University of Adelaide and the National Institute of Integrative Medicine and, has found garlic supplements can reduce cholesterol in those with elevated levels by 8 per cent[1]. This 8 per cent reduction is significant as it is associated with a 38 per cent decrease in the risk of coronary events for those at 50 years of age[2] [3].

The research, released in the May issue of Nutrition Reviews, follows Dr. Ried’s 2012 research which found Aged Garlic Extract reduces blood pressure by a degree comparable to frontline pharmaceutical medications. The research offers hope to those not responding to frontline medications, or who would prefer a natural therapy.

“The results of this study are really exciting for the 6.4 million Australians[4] who have high cholesterol, and especially those who are making lifestyle changes to bring their levels down before resorting to prescription medications,” said Dr. Ried.

“No one should change their current treatment plan or stop taking their medication without consulting their doctor. However this research – along with my previous research on Aged Garlic Extract – shows garlic and particularly Aged Garlic Extract, could be a safe and effective alternative to pharmaceutical blood pressure and cholesterol lowering medications for many people”.

The research is the most comprehensive to date (a meta-analysis of 39 primary trials) on the heart health benefits of garlic supplements. The results suggest garlic supplements to be effective in reducing total serum cholesterol by 17 +/- 6 mg/dL and low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol by 9 +/- 6 mg/dL in individuals with elevated cholesterol levels (>200 mg/dL) if taken for at least two months.

The research also found garlic supplements to be associated with minimal side effects in comparison to the potentially debilitating side effects of the commonly used pharmaceutical ‘statins’ which include muscular pain, memory loss, sexual dysfunction and an increased risk of diabetes.

“I think it is important for Australians to remember that our bodies need some cholesterol to function and that a combination of high blood pressure, high ‘bad’ cholesterol and age, are all contributors to heart disease,” continued Dr. Ried. “However in my opinion, for those experiencing slightly elevated levels of cholesterol, changes to lifestyle and proven natural heart health supplements such as Aged Garlic Extract, should be a first-option treatment ahead of frontline pharmaceutical medications”.

This research has been supported by the Australian Government Primary Health Care Research and Evaluation (PHCRED) Program.

[1] Ried K, Toben C, Fakler P. Effect of garlic on serum lipids: an updated meta-analysis. Nutrition Reviews 2013; 71:5 282-299
[2] Law MR, Wald NJ, Thompson SG. By how much and how quickly does reduction in serum cholesterol concentration lower risk of ischaemic heart disease? BMJ 1994; 308:367-372
[3] Wald NJ, Law MR. Serum Cholesterol and ischaemic heart disease. Atherosclerosis. 1995;118(Suppl): S1-S5

For more information on the study,
read Dr Ried’s interview with Jordanna Schriever from ‘The Australian’ or
Listen to Dr Ried’s interview on radio station 5AA