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 support better cardiovascular health in four important and well-known areas: atherosclerosis, blood pressure, cholesterol, and circulation.
How AGE Keeps Arteries Healthy
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—that 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. However, clinical trials show that Aged Garlic Extract (AGE) can reverse the buildup of plaque and coronary artery calcification, ultimately helping to minimize the progression of atherosclerosis.
One clinical trial that was published in the Journal of Nutrition found that AGE slowed the accumulation of plaque in arteries. The researchers recruited 55 patients with metabolic syndrome, all between the ages of 40 and 75. All the participants were screened using Cardiac Computed Tomography Angiography to measure the total amount of plaque and calcium in their arteries. This non-invasive imaging tool also measured the amount of low-attenuation plaque or “soft” plaque—which is fatty and unstable—that was clinging to artery walls. Low-attenuation plaque is especially dangerous because it can rupture and form a blood clot. This can lead to a heart attack or stroke. The participants were then assigned to take either a placebo or 2,400 mg of AGE every day. Follow-up testing conducted a year after the initial screening found that AGE slowed total plaque accumulation by 80% and significantly reduced the amount of soft plaque in arteries.1
Along with soft plaque, cardiologists from UCLA found that AGE—when paired with coenzyme Q10—also halted the progression of coronary artery calcification (CAC). In this particular study, 65 middle-aged firefighters who were at moderate risk of heart disease were screened to determine the severity of calcium deposits and plaque buildup in their arteries. A marker for inflammation, known as C-reactive protein or CRP, was also measured. The firefighters then were given either a placebo or a supplement containing 1,200 mg of AGE and 120 mg of CoQ10 every day for 12 months. At the end of the year, the firefighters were screened again. Those taking AGE had a significant reduction in the progression of CAC compared to those taking the placebo. They also experienced a considerable drop in CRP.2
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.
Better Blood Pressure with AGE
High blood pressure—which is defined as 130/80 mmHg or higher—is aptly 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 including atherosclerosis, congestive heart failure, and stroke. Human studies suggest that AGE provides blood pressure benefits similar to first-line medications.
During one recent study that appeared in the journal Frontiers in Nutrition, researchers from the University of Adelaide in Australia reported that Aged Garlic Extract produced a significant drop in systolic and diastolic blood pressure compared to a placebo.3 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% of those taking AGE.4 An earlier study published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition also showed that AGE produced similar results for lowering systolic pressure.5
But as good as AGE is alone, it may be even more effective when paired with the enzyme nattokinase—which acts like a natural ACE inhibitor—and L-theanine—which has also been shown to lower blood pressure.6,7 Independent studies of these three nutrients, support their potential to have a positive impact on blood pressure.
AGE Curtails High Cholesterol
While cholesterol is important for the formation of cell membranes—as well as 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. 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.8 An earlier clinical trial reported that AGE lowered total cholesterol by 7% and LDL by 10% compared to a placebo.9 Adding plant sterols to AGE may also support healthy cholesterol levels. 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.10
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).11
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.12 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.
Disclaimer: The scientific studies described here were conducted by independent researchers and presented for educational purpose 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.