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A-Z of Cardio: Garlic

Friday December 28, 2018
A-Z of Cardio: Garlic

Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is one of the leading causes of death and disability in the UK, it is said to contribute towards 32% of global deaths.(1,2) CVD is a range of conditions that impact our heart and blood vessels, a build-up of fatty substances can impact regular blood flow via the narrowing of blood vessels, potentially causing blockages. If CVD is not detected at an early stage, the consequences could prove life altering by impacting normal flow of oxygenated red blood cells and restricting delivery to our essential organs. 

CVD conditions include:

Coronary heart disease – reduced flow of oxygen rich blood to the heart, leading to angina, heart attacks or heart failure. 

Strokes and TIAs (Transient ischaemic attack) – restricted blood flow of oxygen rich blood to the brain. 

Peripheral arterial disease – reduced blood flow of oxygen rich blood to the limbs. 

Aortic disease – group of disorders impacting the aorta, the largest blood vessel in the body 


Potential Causes of CVD:


 High blood pressure Smoking
 High cholesterol Diabetes
 Inactivity Being overweight or obese
 Family history of CVD        Ethnic background
 Age Gender

Garlic, thought to have originated in Central Asia has been used in traditional medicine in human diseases, particular attention in research has been paid to the role garlic has in the pathogenesis of cardiovascular disease.(3) Literature has shown a range of nutraceutical properties including the compounds saponins, phosphorus, potassium, sulfur, and zinc. Pre-clinical and clinical trials have shown garlic to have cholesterol and lipid lowering effects, antithrombotic and anti-platelet aggregation, blood coagulation, blood pressure and vascular tone and endogenous antioxidants.(3)


An umbrella review of all published meta-analysis of garlic intake on biomarkers of cardiovascular disease was undertaken by Scwingshackl et, al. The review looked at observational and randomised controlled trials of lipid parameters and blood pressure parameters. Results showed significant decreases of total cholesterol and systolic blood pressure showing consistent reductions across the publications. Total cholesterol displayed significant reductions and LDL had a significant reduction in half of the publications. Systolic blood pressure was significantly reduced across and interestingly demonstrated that those with high blood pressure responded to garlic supplementation with reduced readings across the reviews.(2) 

With such significant reductions in cardiovascular parameters, garlic has shown to be a well-established nutrient that can be used in the role of preventing and reducing risk factors for cardiovascular disorders. For more advice on your own personal nutrition, please visit your local health food store.


Author: Phil Beard is a Technical Educator at Viridian Nutrition. He holds a MSc in Nutrition and Health.


1) National Health Service. (2018). Cardiovascular disease. Available: Last accessed 03/10/2018

2) Schwingshackle, L. Missbach, B. Hoffmann. (2016). An umbrella review of garlic intake and risk of cardiovascular disease. Phytomedicine. 23 (11), 1127-1133.

3) Rahman, K. Lowe, G. (2006). Garlic and Cardiovascular Disease: A Critical Review. The Journal of Nutrition. 136 (3), 736-740.

The information contained in this article is not intended to treat, diagnose or replace the advice of a health practitioner. Please consult a qualified health practitioner if you have a pre-existing health condition or are currently taking medication. Food supplements should not be used as a substitute for a varied and balanced diet.


TAGS: Nutrition News and ViewsCardiovascular health, Cardio


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