ryanfitz, Author at Wakunaga of America

Aged Garlic Extract and Cardiovascular Health

How does Aged Garlic Extract improve cardiovascular health?

This is one of the most common questions we get asked. Managing the various aspects of cardiovascular disease is an important part of reducing your odds of a future heart attack or stroke. Here, we break down the science of how Aged Garlic Extract (AGE) helps to support better cardiovascular health in four important and well-known areas: atherosclerosis, blood pressure, cholesterol, and circulation.

Stop Atherosclerosis with Aged Garlic Extract

Your cardiovascular system is only as healthy as the arteries that carry your blood throughout your body. Healthy arteries are flexible with a smooth, undamaged endothelium—the single layer of cells that line the inner surface of your arteries—that allows oxygen and nutrient-rich blood to flow freely to all of your organs and tissues. But over time, the effects of heredity, unhealthy habits, and age can cause the buildup of artery-damaging plaque and calcium deposits. When arteries become damaged—a condition called atherosclerosis—blood flow can eventually be hindered or even completely blocked. In extensive research, clinical trials have shown that AGE can halt and even reverse the buildup of plaque and coronary artery calcification, ultimately helping to minimize the progression of atherosclerosis.1

High blood pressure and high cholesterol can contribute to the development of atherosclerosis. High blood pressure—which is defined as 130/80 mmHg or higher—is also called “the silent killer” because it typically has no symptoms. Although this condition often flies under the radar, it can lead to serious health problems. But a growing number of studies suggest that AGE can significantly lower both systolic and diastolic blood pressure.2

AGE can help with cholesterol reduction, too. While cholesterol is important for the formation of cell membranes, and for the production of hormones, bile acids, and vitamin D, too much of the wrong kind of cholesterol can encourage the buildup of plaque in your arteries. Clinical studies show that AGE can lower total cholesterol, as well as harmful low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol levels.3

Together, these clinical studies suggest that a daily dose of AGE can work in several ways to prevent the progression of atherosclerosis, even in people at a higher risk for the condition.  Read more about the health benefits of Aged Garlic Extract.

Better Blood Pressure with Aged Garlic Extract

heart with stethoscopeTechnically known as hypertension—high blood pressure can significantly increase your risk of atherosclerosis, chest pain, cognitive decline, heart failure, kidney damage, peripheral artery disease, stroke, and vision problems. It also increases the likelihood of premature death. The good news? Human studies suggest that AGE can effectively lower blood pressure. During one recent study that appeared in the journal Frontiers in Nutrition, researchers from the University of Adelaide in Australia reported that AGE produced a significant drop in systolic and diastolic blood pressure compared to a placebo. 4 Another study involving 88 people with high blood pressure found even better results with a reduction of 11.5 mmHg in systolic pressure and a 6.3 mmHg drop in diastolic pressure in 58 percent of those taking AGE.5 Earlier studies have reported similar results, leading researchers to conclude that AGE offers benefits similar to first-line blood pressure medication.6 But unlike pharmaceuticals, AGE is extremely safe with few, if any, side effects.

But as good as AGE is alone, it may be even more effective when paired with the enzyme nattokinase—which acts as a natural ACE inhibitor—and L-theanine—which has also been shown to lower blood pressure.7,8 Independent studies of these three nutrients support their potential to have a positive impact on blood pressure.

AGE Curtails High Cholesterol

Cholesterol is a fat-like, waxy substance that’s essential for good health. But too much of a harmful form of cholesterol known as low-density lipoprotein (LDL) can contribute to the buildup of plaque in your arteries. Clinical studies show that AGE can lower total cholesterol, as well as LDL cholesterol levels. This was clearly shown in a review of 39 human studies published in Nutrition Reviews. The researchers found that AGE reduced total cholesterol by 17 mg/dL and LDL by 9 gm/dL in people with slightly elevated cholesterol levels.A previous clinical trial reported that AGE lowered total cholesterol by 7% and LDL by 10% compared to a placebo.10 Adding plant sterols to AGE may also support healthy cholesterol levels even more. On their own, plant sterols were recently found to lower LDL by up to 10% in a trial of 221 people with high cholesterol levels.11

Improve Circulation with AGE

Your circulatory system is a complex superhighway made up of arteries, veins, and capillaries that carry oxygen-rich blood throughout your body. This blood delivers important nutrients to your organs and tissues and helps remove cellular waste. When the blood vessels that make up your circulatory system are healthy, blood flows freely throughout the body. But when they are damaged, the amount of blood that reaches your vital organs and extremities is reduced.

AGE has been shown to support healthy blood vessels and improve circulation in a number of ways. It promotes clear arteries by discouraging calcium deposits and plaque buildup. In addition, AGE lowers blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Clinical research shows that AGE also reduces oxidation and inflammation, and increases the production of nitric oxide (a molecule that dilates blood vessels for better blood flow).12,13,14

AGE also works on the microcirculatory system—that network of tiny capillaries, arterioles, and venules that moves blood from larger blood vessels to your cells. This was shown in a recent study published in the International Wound Journal. Among 122 people who took part in the study, those who supplemented with AGE for a year had better microcirculation than those taking a placebo. This was especially true among the participants with an increased risk of heart attack or stroke.15 These findings are good news for anyone with cardiovascular issues and especially for diabetics since microcirculation can be compromised in people with type 2 diabetes.

What is the best exercise for cardiovascular health?

how to improve cardiovascular health, exercise.

Strengthening your heart is one of the best things you can do to improve your cardiovascular health. And a great way to do this is through exercise! Experts recommend spending at least 150 minutes per week doing moderate physical activity. Because aerobic exercise, also known as “cardio,” increases your heart rate while also improving your blood pressure, it’s the most beneficial type of exercise for your cardiovascular health.16 Regular cardio workouts can help strengthen your heart and blood vessels, improve the flow of oxygen throughout your body, lower your blood pressure, and more. Walking is a great form of cardio—you just want to make sure to move at a nice quick pace (think power walking). Walking at a brisk pace will get your heart rate up and is easier on your joints than most other types of exercise. You can listen to a podcast or your favorite tunes while you walk and the time will fly by! Swimming is another good option, one that’s also easy on the joints. Try taking a water aerobics class—it can provide a great full-body workout that not only strengthens your body but your heart, too. Lastly, cycling is also a great way to get your heart rate up. Haven’t been on a bike for years? Consider signing up for a spin class.

How else can you improve your cardiovascular health?

Want additional ways to improve your cardiovascular health? Here are a few more tips that can help you show your heart some love.

Be mindful of your diet. A diet rich in a variety of colorful fruits and veggies is linked to healthier hearts and a lower risk of heart disease.17 In addition, we recommend switching to whole grains, which means they will have more nutrients like dietary fiber, B vitamins, vitamin E, and healthy fats. It’s also important to take time to read nutrition labels. This can help you avoid foods high in sodium and unhealthy trans fats.

Watch your portions. Eating fruits, veggies, and whole grains is great, but if you’re eating twice the proper portion size (or more!), you aren’t doing yourself any favors. One easy way to downsize your portions is to eat off a smaller plate. The average dinner plate today is around 12 inches, so try switching to a slightly smaller plate, maybe about 8 inches. This will help you to keep better track of the food you’re eating. Plus a smaller plate will make your portions actually look larger.

Get enough sleep. Sleep is important for a healthy heart. In fact, people who don’t get enough quality sleep are at greater risk for cardiovascular disease and coronary artery disease.18 The quality and quantity of sleep you get also affects your energy levels the next day. Adopt a regular bedtime and stick to it. This will help you get the recommended seven to nine hours of sleep per night.

Manage stress. Stress can raise your blood pressure, so it is crucial to find ways to unwind. Exercising and getting enough sleep can help relieve tension. It’s also important to try and set aside at least 15 minutes of quiet time every day to relax.

What foods do cardiologists say to avoid?

Cardiologists see first-hand what a bad diet can do to your heart. Here are some foods that they say to limit for optimal heart health.

Bacon, sausage, and other processed meats. Processed meats have been linked to an elevated risk of coronary artery disease.19 Plus, these foods are high in calories, saturated fat, salt, and sometimes have added ingredients like nitrates.

Potato chips and other processed/packaged snacks. Stay away from those crunchy, salty carbs. They taste good but they can be addicting—and these simple carbs aren’t the best for a healthy heart. Cardiologists recommend reaching for apples, carrots, and whole-grain snacks instead.

Too much protein. Scientists have made a connection between those popular high-protein diets and the risk of developing cardiovascular disease.20 Strive to limit your protein intake to the recommended amount of 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight per day. For someone weighing 150 pounds, that would total about 55 grams of protein daily.

Alcohol. Moderate drinking—no more than one to two drinks per day—won’t harm your heart unless you have high blood pressure or high triglycerides (a type of fat in your blood that can boost your odds of heart disease). Heavy drinking, on the other hand, can lead to a higher risk of high blood pressure, heart failure, stroke, and weight gain.21

By adopting these heart-healthy habits and supplementing with Aged Garlic Extract, you can give your cardiovascular system the tools it needs to keep beating strong for a lifetime. Want even more cardio-smart strategies? Bookmark our resource section at kyolic.com.

Disclaimer:  The scientific studies described here were conducted by independent researchers and presented for educational purposes only.  The products of the studies may be classified as dietary supplements in the United States. Those dietary supplements are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

The Unique Chemistry of Kyolic Aged Garlic Extract

While many of these texts promoted garlic for its supposed ability to enhance strength and increase the capacity for work, it was also used by early physicians to treat a variety of ailments.

The compound credited for garlic’s benefits throughout the ages was allicin, which is produced when fresh garlic is chopped or crushed. Although allicin appears to provide antibacterial, antifungal, and antioxidant benefits in test-tube experiments, human trials haven’t shown the same results. This is likely because, when allicin reacts with blood, it oxidizes and quickly metabolizes before it can do any good.

Female scientist with eyeglasses using tablet in laboratory studying Aged Garlic Extract

Because of this chemical instability, there are no clinical trials showing that allicin is bioavailable or beneficial to human health. In one study, participants ate 25 grams (10 cloves) of fresh garlic that had been crushed to provide a large amount of allicin. After examining blood and urine samples from each participant, the researchers found that no allicin or the 16 compounds related to allicin were present from one to 24 hours after consumption.

What’s more, research shows that most garlic supplements don’t actually contain ANY bioavailable allicin. If traditional garlic supplements don’t deliver allicin to the body, or if allicin can’t do what’s promised, what makes Aged Garlic Extract so effective?

Let’s start with what is Aged Garlic Extract. 

Kyolic Aged Garlic Extract was developed by the Wakunaga family over 60 years ago to help improve the health of the Japanese people after World War 2. Together Mr. Wakunaga and Dr. Eugene Schnell created a process to age raw garlic that resulted in a product with higher nutrient content and unique compounds not found in raw garlic. This unique proprietary aging process also eliminates garlic’s odor and harsh side effects.

Mr. Wakunaga’s mission was to provide ‘truthful education’ about how AGE works and how it affects the health of the body. From its inception, physicians and researchers have studied AGE to prove the clinical benefits that it offers.

The benefits of AGE have been backed by science for over 50 years, with over 870 peer reviewed published scientific articles that demonstrate its efficacy.

Because AGE is both safe and effective, with very few side effects compared to pharmaceuticals, it is an easy addition to a
healthy lifestyle for those concerned about supporting a healthy cardiovascular system, immune system, gut health, and more.

Why Does Chemistry Matter in Supplements?

Everything you can breathe, see, ingest, or touch is made up of chemicals. All matter, including us, is made up of chemicals. Chemistry also matters big time when it comes to health supplements!

The best supplements work with the body’s chemistry to produce health benefits.

Let’s take a look at Kyolic Aged Garlic Extract, for example…

Wakunaga’s proprietary aging process catalyzes the beneficial compounds found in raw garlic, such as the compound S-allyl cysteine (SAC), which is a safe, water-soluble organosulfur compound. Unlike allicin, which is another compound in garlic that reacts with blood, then oxidizes, and is metabolized by the body too quickly to be of much benefit, SAC is stable and extremely bioavailable.

In fact, after taking Aged Garlic Extract, SAC is quickly absorbed into the GI tract and has nearly 100% bioavailability.

Microscope with colorful beakersBecause SAC is a powerful antioxidant that prevents oxidation in the body, it has been shown to provide beneficial anti-aging properties and the ability to support a variety of bodily systems, including cardiovascular, immune, and neurological health, when combined with a healthy lifestyle. In fact, researchers that study AGE right now continue to find additional compounds that point to the many health benefits of AGE. The science is ongoing and continues to reveal the hidden chemistry of Aged Garlic Extract.

All in all, the unique chemical profile of Aged Garlic Extract makes it a smart addition in the quest for a healthier life.

So What is S-allyl cysteine (SAC)?

Wakunaga’s proprietary aging process catalyzes compounds in garlic other than allicin that have demonstrated an array of health benefits. One of the most active and abundant compounds in Aged Garlic Extract is S-allyl cysteine (SAC), a safe, water-soluble organosulfur compound. Unlike allicin, SAC is stable and extremely bioavailable. In fact, after taking Aged Garlic Extract, SAC is quickly absorbed in the gastrointestinal tract and has nearly 100% bioavailability. Once absorbed, SAC is metabolized into the antioxidant N-acetyl-SAC. A 2012 study that appeared in the journal Oxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity reported that SAC was detected in several types of tissue throughout the body up to eight hours after a single dose.

Because SAC is a powerful antioxidant that prevents oxidation in the body, it has been shown to provide beneficial anti-aging properties and the ability to support a variety of bodily systems, including cardiovascular, immune, and neurological health when combined with a healthy lifestyle. What’s more, some research suggests that SAC may be an anti-inflammatory agent that further supports good health.

While SAC is a primary compound in Aged Garlic Extract, it also contains other important non-sulfur compounds such as saponins. Recent studies have found that these compounds also make important contributions to Aged Garlic Extract’s health benefits. Altogether, the unique chemical profile of Aged Garlic Extract makes it a smart addition to the quest for a healthier life.

What Does The Science Say About Aged Garlic Extract?

We are very proud of the resources that we dedicate to scientific research to prove the efficacy of our supplements. Credible, reputable companies have peer-reviewed, double-blind clinical studies to support the use and effectiveness of their products.

Wakunaga has partnered with many highly regarded doctors, scientists, and universities, to publish studies showing the efficacy of Aged Garlic Extract when it comes to certain ailments.

Recaps of recent studies:

  • Dr. Karin Ried of the National Institute of Integrative Medicine in Melbourne Australia has discovered
    that a daily dose of Kyolic Aged Garlic Extract not only reduces blood pressure, but improves the
    bacterial balance in the gut. 1 In this double-blind trial, 49 participants with uncontrolled hypertension
    were randomized to receive either 1.2g of AGE or a placebo for 12 weeks. The mean blood pressure was
    significantly reduced over the course of the trial, with a 10mmHg drop in systolic blood pressure and a
    5.4 mmHg decrease in diastolic blood pressure compared to the placebo group. The researchers noted
    that AGE lowered pulse pressure and arterial stiffness.
  • A double-blind, placebo-controlled study, which was conducted at the Los Angeles Biomedical Research
    Institute at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center, looked at the impact CoQ10 had on a group of firefighters who
    were at moderate risk of heart disease. All of the firefighters underwent testing using Cardiac CT, a
    revolutionary imaging technology that accurately measures coronary artery calcium deposits and plaque
    buildup in the arteries. Once their risk was determined, the firefighters were either given a placebo or
    1,200 mg of Kyolic AGE plus 120 mg of CoQ10 every day for 12 months. The UCLA researchers found
    that the firefighters taking the AGE /CoQ10 supplement combination had significantly less coronary
    artery calcium deposits in their arteries and lower CRP levels (a marker of internal inflammation) than
    the placebo group.

The Aged Garlic Extract Difference

Kyolic’s Aged Garlic Extract, specifically,  is a form of garlic created using a quality assured, proprietary aging process. This proprietary aging process produces an odorless preparation and also converts the harsh, unstable organosulfur compounds in garlic into milder, more beneficial compounds, which are higher in antioxidants and other health benefits.

Did you know? garlic-bulbs

Through the ages, garlic has also been credited with numerous health benefits. Hippocrates, widely known as the “father of medicine,” prescribed garlic to treat wounds, fight infection, and ease digestive disorders. Garlic’s reputation as a medicinal wonder continued into the Middle Ages.

It was used in attempts to prevent the plague, cure leprosy, and treat a long list of other ailments! 

Traditionally, garlic bulbs were prepared in a variety of ways for medicinal purposes. The juice of the bulb was extracted and taken internally, while the bulb was ground into a paste for external treatment.

Since then, garlic has been made into oils, tinctures, tablets, and capsules that have enjoyed much popularity thanks to its rich antioxidant and antimicrobial properties.

Garlic is one of the oldest cultivated plants on the planet and has been used by various cultures for thousands of years. It was worshipped by the ancient Egyptians and thought to ward off evil spirits and increase strength. Ancient Greeks and Romans loved their garlic, too.

Greek athletes and soldiers ate garlic before entering the arena or the battlefield because they also thought it had strength-enhancing properties. Greek midwives hung garlic cloves in birthing rooms to repel demons. Roman soldiers ate garlic for inspiration and courage.

The Aging Process

However, as a growing number of studies show, there’s significantly more to garlic’s health benefits—and aging is the key. The Aged Garlic Extract (AGE) used in Wakunaga’s Kyolic brand supplements begins with garlic from certified organic farms in California’s Central Valley, where it is grown without the use of chemical fertilizers, herbicides, or pesticides.

When fully mature, the garlic is harvested, cleaned, and sliced before being placed in specialized stainless steel containers where it is aged without heat for up to 20 months.

This proprietary process mentioned increases the garlic’s antioxidant potential and converts harsh and unstable organosulfur compounds into the odorless, non-irritating, and bioavailable compounds which are responsible for AGE’s numerous health benefits.  Learn more about the chemistry of garlic here.

Kyolic’s aging process is quality assured from soil to shelf. The production process is controlled by over 250 stringent quality checks to ensure its safety and efficacy. Click here to read more about the aging process

Our manufacturing facility conforms to cGMP (Good Manufacturing Practice) guidelines in addition to ISO 9001:2015 and other international standards demonstrating our company’s commitment to the Quality Management System as audited by Intertek®. Learn more about our commitment to quality here.

Over forty-seven years of clinical research have documented the numerous benefits of Kyolic Aged Garlic Extract including:

  •         Lowering blood pressure and cholesterol levels*
  •         Slowing the progression of coronary artery calcification*
  •         Inhibiting the accumulation of “soft” unstable plaque*
  •         Decreasing blood platelet adhesion and aggregation*
  •         Enhancing circulation*
  •         Supporting immune function*
  •         Reducing the risk of gingivitis*
  •         Easing stress*
  •         Improving gut microbiota*

It supports cardiovascular health, immune health, gut health and more in a way that raw garlic just cannot. Odorless capsules (liquid or tablets) are convenient and allow for better compliance – taking it every day for better health is easy.

Kyolic Aged Garlic Extract is the most clinically researched garlic supplement on the market. To date, it has been the subject of more than 870 peer-reviewed scientific articles from prestigious universities and research institutes from around the world, documenting both its efficacy and an unparalleled safety record.  With Kyolic Aged Garlic Extract’s foundation in science, consumers can have confidence in every bottle they buy.

That’s the Kyolic difference.

This article is for informational purposes only. This article is not, nor is it intended to be, a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment and should never be relied upon for specific medical advice.

New to Green Drinks? Here’s What You Need to Know

Nutritionists, health agencies, and mothers everywhere have long heralded the benefits of eating your vegetables daily – especially green ones. Yet, it’s a goal that very few of us meet. Despite recommendations to eat two to three cups of vegetables daily, only 1 in 10 adults actually consumes that amount, which is unfortunate, because, calorie for calorie, vegetables provide optimal sources of nutrients among any food. The star among them is greens, including arugula, broccoli, dark leafy lettuces, kale, spinach, and watercress.

Why you need more greens

Green vegetables are essential for a strong immune system, proper gut health, healthy detoxification, and better cognition. Most importantly, greens help keep your body’s pH in balance, thanks to their alkalinizing properties. But greens go beyond what you’ll find at your local grocery store or farmer’s market. Think chlorella and kelp from the sea. Or barley and wheat grasses from the fields.

Whether you’re among those who are frightened by the sight of broccoli, or you simply have trouble meeting your daily quota due to a hectic schedule, upping your intake of a variety of greens should be an essential part of your health game plan. Smoothies and smoothie bowls are tasty ways to add more greens to your diet.

Build a Better Smoothie

Here are some tips to ease into smoothies and green drinks effortlessly:

Tip #1: Get to know your greens first. For first-timers, we usually recommend starting your greens journey with something mild in flavor, so it doesn’t completely catch you off guard. Take a small taste of each green before you add it to your blender. If anything seems completely off-putting to you, you can take it out. Spinach, for example, is a great, mild-tasting green that is perfect for first-timers…the same goes for cucumbers as well. You can always work your way up to stronger flavors like kale.

Tip #2: Add some fruit to the mix. We don’t mean you should throw just any fruit into the blender, we’d recommend one that is low in sugar, and high in antioxidants, such as berries (we recommend starting with half a cup). Doing this will add some sweetness to your green drink, and can offset the bitterness of some raw greens.

Tip #3: Texture matters. People often focus so much on the ingredients that are going into the smoothie, they neglect to think about how all the items they are adding in will affect the texture. Sometimes, an extremely chunky/thick smoothie is what truly sets people over the edge, causing them to give up on their smoothie. It is important to play around with different types and quantities of greens to get a texture that works for you. If you like a creamy smoothie, try adding half an avocado or half a banana, and blend on high.

Another easy way to get your quota of greens if your diet falls short, is by incorporating a nutrient-dense powdered drink mix (this can even be added to your smoothie for even greater health benefits!). Green drink mixes are a great addition to a healthy lifestyle because they not only help you meet your daily veggie intake, they support almost every system in the body and can even boost energy levels. Chlorella, kelp, wheatgrass, barley grass, and other powdered greens are packed with an array of concentrated vitamins and minerals essential for optimal health. Just be sure to check the ingredients in a pre-mixed powder and make sure you are not getting any added sugar or artificial flavors. If you would like to try an excellent and nutritious greens powdered drink mix, we recommend starting with the Kyo-Green® line.

Brimming with organic and naturally sourced ingredients, the Kyo-Green® Powdered Drink Mixes give you a much needed edge by providing a high-quality, balanced source of bioavailable nutrients that are rapidly absorbed by the body. These drink mixes aren’t just an easy way to help you meet your daily greens quota, each Kyo-Green Powdered Drink Mix gives you a unique blend of superfoods that offers a powerhouse of balanced nutritional benefits for the whole body. Go green to better fuel your active life!