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The Aged Garlic Extract Difference

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.


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.

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 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. 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*

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.

 

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.

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?

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 like allixin and saponins. Recent studies have found that these compounds also make important contributions to Aged Garlic Extract’s health benefits. All together, the unique chemical profile of Aged Garlic Extract makes it a smart addition to the quest for a healthier life.

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.

Aged Garlic Extract and Cardiovascular Health

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 A previous 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.

Inflammation, Metaflammation and Your Body

It’s time for an update on inflammation.  In the past I’ve discussed the different types of inflammation, the acute type that is needed to promote healing of infections and bacterial or viral illnesses and on the other hand, the chronic low level inflammation that contributes to diseases like heart disease, diabetes, and cancer1, 2.  We called the chronic type – low grade inflammation, or it was often referred to as  “silent” inflammation, because in many cases you can’t feel that kind of inflammation.

However, this type of inflammation now has a new name, and I am glad because chronic inflammation isn’t always silent and it definitely isn’t without consequences.  The new name is metaflammation, and it brings with it a new focus on the main source of this type of inflammation – disrupted metabolic pathways.  I have been educating on metabolic sources of inflammation for years, so it was a no surprise to me when this term was coined.  We have also long known that chronic inflammation ages us, which is why it contributes to the chronic diseaseas of aging, I just mentioned.  This has led to other new terms, called inflammaging or metaflammaging.  So, let’s do a quick review of inflammation and then discuss metaflammation and what we can do about it.

Inflammation: A Quick Review

Inflammation, in general, is the body’s way of signaling the immune system to come and repair damaged tissue.  When the inflammation process starts, white blood cells travel to damaged areas or circulate through the blood stream and release chemicals called cytokines to start the healing process.

Acute inflammation only lasts for days while you are healing from a cut, a burn, a cold, a sore throat, etc and it goes away once you are well. Chronic inflammation is slower to develop but is a constant form of inflammation, that can last for months and years. As evidenced by our high rates of cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, cancer and Alzheimer’s, this type is quite common and can be devastating, when you are not taking steps to prevent it.  So what can cause metaflammation and how can we prevent it?

Causes of Metaflammation

Obesity is discussed as one of the major causes of metaflammation, but it is also an effect that can result from being chronically inflamed. Yes once you become obese, that in and of itself causes inflammation because our fat cells generate inflammatory substances.  However, inflammation from many other sources can damage insulin receptors, leading to insulin resistance that can lead to weight gain and obesity. Anything that causes or contributes to a poorly functioning metabolism and/or weight gain can cause metaflammation.  Naturally, lifestyle comes to mind and evidence has shown a link between metaflammation and a number of lifestyle factors, like physical inactivity, poor diet, medications, nutrient deficits, smoking and even stress,  and even biotoxin exposure, which can all activate multiple immune-inflammatory pathways in the body.3 Metaflammation affects the whole body and is indeed associated with a reduced metabolic rate.4   

In addition to the factors listed above, there is another major factor that contributes to metabolic inflammation: changes in the gut microbiome. So, if we want to be effective in preventing metaflammaging, it’s important to take a comprehensive approach.

The number one lifestyle factor that causes inflammation in our bodies day in and day out, is eating a high glycemic diet –  a diet that is high calorie and full of too much refined sugar and flours, while not containing enough vegetables, fruit and high fiber foods like beans.  This type of diet causes immediate production of inflammatory chemicals that damage the linings of our arteries, causes plaque to build up in our arteries, and can cause heart attacks and strokes5.

How does gut health contribute to metaflammaging?  When the gut bacteria change, from factors like medications or high sugar/low plant food diets, we switch to having too many unfriendly bacteria. When the microbiome is copmpromised it disrupts the immune function of the gut. Then, if any bacteria die off due to medication, low fiber or high fat diets,  they release molecules called lipopolysaccharides(endotoxin) . Once absorbed into the blood, LPS attach to cells and trigger the release of inflammatory cytokines. In other words it triggers a cellular inflammatory engine.  Gut endotoxemia is now known as a factor that can cause damage to our heart muscle and heart attacks, for example, and there’s a close correlation between metaflammation, heart disease and even chronic kidney disease.6 In addition, not having enough beneficial flora can cause our immune system in the gut to go awry and start reacting to food and environmental allergens.  Some of the most inflamed people I see in practice are people who have gut-immune system issues.  The gut can be quite an inflammation-producing engine and this source in particular is associated with pain, like pain in the abdomen after eating and/or joint pain, and arthritis (both rheumatoid and osteoarthritis.7

Chronic stress can trigger inflammation in a number of ways. It contributes to insulin resistance, that lowers our tolerance of carbs and contributes to metabolic syndrome and weight gain.  It can also actually lower our metabolic rate by interfering with thyroid hormone activation.  In addition, the constant overproduction of cortisol can cause us to become catabolic, burning precious muscle tissue that is needed to maintain a healthy metabolic rate.  In addition, chronic stress interferes with ability to sleep and has profound affects on our gut health.  So, in my view if you want to be thorough in addressing potential metabolic disruptors, you need to evaluate any and all potential sources of inflammation and you won’t overlook stress.

How to Reduce Inflammation and Support Metabolic Health

Here are some tips for reducing your body’s inflammation:

  1. Anti Inflammatory Eating: Control calorie intake and eat a diet that does not cause excessive elevations in blood sugar and insulin after you eat. That means reducing processed foods and eating more whole foods. Get white flour and refined sugars out of your diet as much as possible.  Reduce portions of high glycemic load foods like rice and potatoes to fill no more than ¼ of your plate, and fill your plate with lots of vegetables.  Eat fruit instead of sugary desserts. Eat high fiber foods like beans and chia seeds.  Fiber and eating protein with your main meals helps control blood sugar elevation after meals. Eat lean proteins and fish (fish has omega 3 fats that help fight inflammation). Vegetables, fruit and beans are loaded with antioxidants that help fight inflammation.  Also eat nuts and seeds (because they are loaded with magnesium and other healthy trace minerals that help control blood sugar) as well as other healthy fats like avocados and plant-based oils.8  While you’re at it, try to eat organically raised foods as often as possible to decrease the intake of pesticides that lower thyroid activity and cause insulin resistance.
  2. Gut Health: The focus should be on making sure you have adequate benficial flora populations and diversity of flora, because beneficial flora regulate gut immunity, control unfriendly flora and protect the mucosal linings, which are an added barrier preventing migration of unwanted substances from the gut into the blood stream. Low sugar, high fiber diets that include a lot of plant foods, help promote diversity of beneficial flora in the intestines. Eating fermented foods that contain active live bacteria like kefir, sauerkraut, and miso may help, but I feel it is more important to take probiotics, to help replenish your body’s good bacteria and make sure to eat or supplement with resistant starches, which have been identified as the number one thing that keeps beneficial flora populations thriving9.  Kyolic aged garlic has also been shown to promote diversity of gut flora, while also having over 870 publications showing various cardiovascular and immune and gut health benefits.
  3. Manage Stress and Get to Sleep: If you can’t commit to daily deep breathing techniques like box-breathing, meditation or yoga, or if they are not enough to noticeably lower your stress levels, do not hesitate to use adaptogenic herb blends that contain well-studied ingredients like rhodiola, ashwaganda, and holy basil. If stress interferes with sleep and/or causes carb cravings that make you cave in to sweets too often, it’s important to take an adaptogenic blend during the day.  Controlling daytime stress helps melatonin to work better then for sleep at night. Relora is another helpful ingredient here. It’s my go-to ingredient to reduce stress-induced carb cravings.

By incorporating a few of the tips above, you can reduce your body’s inflammation and may then even start to feel better and energetic enough to start exercising, and lower your risk of developing metaflammation, one day at a time.

References

  1. Kurylowicz A and Kozniewski K. Molecules 2020, 25, 2224
  2. Egger G and Dixon J. Biomed Res Int. 2014: 731685
  3. https://benthamopen.com/ABSTRACT/MEDJ-3-34
  4. https://jasn.asnjournals.org/content/15/11/2792
  5. O’Keefe et al. J Am Coll Cardiol, 2008; 51:249-255.
  6. Kanbay N et al. CKJ 2019; 12: 6. 861-870.
  7. Favazzo L et al. Curr Opin Rheum Jan 2020; 32:1
  8. Scoditti E, et al. Vascul Pharmacol 2014 Dec;63(3):127-34
  9. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0958166919301077

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.