Garlic & Blood Cholesterol LevelsFor those of you who force yourself to eat raw garlic or take garlic pills simply for the sake of reducing your blood cholesterol levels…don’t bother. In case you didn’t catch this in the news some years back, a well-conducted study from Stanford University has discredited the use of garlic for lowering levels of LDL cholesterol, as well as for total cholesterol, triglycerides, or for improving HDL or total cholesterol: HDL ratio in those with moderately high blood cholesterol levels.Key Garlic StudyChristopher Gardner, PhD, led the study that examined the effects of consuming garlic (raw, Garlicin dried powdered, or Kyolic aged extract) against a placebo group on blood cholesterol levels over a six-month period. All three forms of garlic had the equivalent of about 4 grams of raw garlic (a hefty dose) and were tested and found to contain active and stable sulfur compounds. Study participants had moderately high LDL levels (130-190 mg/dL or 3.36 – 4.91 mmol/L) and included 192 men and women with a BMI between 19 – 30 kg/m2. Blood cholesterol levels were tested at the beginning of the study, monthly and at the end of the study. No statistically significant effects were found between groups. That is, consumption of garlic did not significantly affect blood cholesterol levels over the course of six months. The authors point out that the results of their study do not generalize to people with very high LDL levels (> 190 mg/dL). Although garlic was not shown to be effective at reducing blood cholesterol levels, garlic could be effective at improving other factors that relate to heart disease risk, such as fibrinolysis and atherosclerosis, but the authors caution that these reputed effects should be studied with large, well-conducted trials.Garlic as FoodThe results of the study above should not deter you from using garlic as a food source.  In addition to garlic’s other potential health benefits (as an anticarcinogenic and antimicrobial agent), garlic contributes a great deal of flavor to any dish. Adding garlic might encourage you to eat more veggies by simply improving overall flavor.   Want more information on growing, preparing and cooking garlic? See below for some helpful links.
Colorado State University Extension. “The Goodness of Garlic.” Great tips on selecting varieties and growing garlic.
Cooking Light. Healthy garlic recipes.  
Cook’s Illustrated. Garlic Tips & Techniques.  
Eating Well. “Healthy Garlic Recipes and Cooking Tips.”  
Epicurious.com. Healthy garlic recipes.  
Have questions or comments about this post? Please feel free to comment on MyNetDiary’s Forum or Facebook page. I would love to hear from you!Best,Kathy Isacks, MPS, RDConsulting Dietitian for MyNetDiaryMore ResourcesChristopher D. Gardner, Larry D. Dawson, Eric Block, et al. Effect of Raw Garlic vs. Commercial Garlic Supplements on Plasma Lipid Concentrations in Adults with Moderate Hypercholesterolemia: A Randomized Clinical Trial. Archives of Internal Medicine, February 2007. You can access the full article at this site.Harold McGee. The Chemical Weapons of Onion and Garlic. New York Times, June 9, 2010. Disclaimer: Please note that we cannot provide personalized advice and that the information provided does not constitute medical advice. If you are seeking medical advice, please visit a medical professional.

Garlic & Blood Cholesterol Levels

For those of you who force yourself to eat raw garlic or take garlic pills simply for the sake of reducing your blood cholesterol levels…don't bother. In case you didn't catch this in the news some years back, a well-conducted study from Stanford University has discredited the use of garlic for lowering levels of LDL cholesterol, as well as for total cholesterol, triglycerides, or for improving HDL or total cholesterol: HDL ratio in those with moderately high blood cholesterol levels.

Key Garlic Study

Christopher Gardner, PhD, led the study that examined the effects of consuming garlic (raw, Garlicin dried powdered, or Kyolic aged extract) against a placebo group on blood cholesterol levels over a six-month period. All three forms of garlic had the equivalent of about 4 grams of raw garlic (a hefty dose) and were tested and found to contain active and stable sulfur compounds. Study participants had moderately high LDL levels (130-190 mg/dL or 3.36 – 4.91 mmol/L) and included 192 men and women with a BMI between 19 – 30 kg/m2. Blood cholesterol levels were tested at the beginning of the study, monthly and at the end of the study. No statistically significant effects were found between groups. That is, consumption of garlic did not significantly affect blood cholesterol levels over the course of six months.

The authors point out that the results of their study do not generalize to people with very high LDL levels (> 190 mg/dL). Although garlic was not shown to be effective at reducing blood cholesterol levels, garlic could be effective at improving other factors that relate to heart disease risk, such as fibrinolysis and atherosclerosis, but the authors caution that these reputed effects should be studied with large, well-conducted trials.

Garlic as Food

The results of the study above should not deter you from using garlic as a food source. In addition to garlic's other potential health benefits (as an anticarcinogenic and antimicrobial agent), garlic contributes a great deal of flavor to any dish. Adding garlic might encourage you to eat more veggies by simply improving overall flavor.

Want more information on growing, preparing and cooking garlic? See below for some helpful links.

  • Colorado State University Extension. "The Goodness of Garlic." Great tips on selecting varieties and growing garlic.
Have questions or comments about this post? Please feel free to comment on MyNetDiary's Forum or Facebook page. I would love to hear from you!

Best,
Kathy Isacks, MPS, RD
Consulting Dietitian for MyNetDiary

More Resources

Christopher D. Gardner, Larry D. Dawson, Eric Block, et al. Effect of Raw Garlic vs. Commercial Garlic Supplements on Plasma Lipid Concentrations in Adults with Moderate Hypercholesterolemia: A Randomized Clinical Trial. Archives of Internal Medicine, February 2007. You can access the full article at this site .

Harold McGee. The Chemical Weapons of Onion and Garlic . New York Times, June 9, 2010.

Disclaimer: Please note that we cannot provide personalized advice and that the information provided does not constitute medical advice. If you are seeking medical advice, please visit a medical professional.
Katherine Isacks, MPS, RD, CDE
Have questions or comments about this post? Please feel free to comment on MyNetDiary's Community Forum or Facebook page – We would love to hear from you. And consider visiting our new Pinterest page!

Disclaimer: The information provided here does not constitute medical advice. If you are seeking medical advice, please visit your healthcare provider or medical professional.

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Foods & Recipes/Fruit & Vegetables Other Health Issues/Cardiovascular Disease

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