Age Well with Aged Garlic Extract
- Excerpted from Discover the Power of Aged Garlic by Rowan Hamilton, M.N.I.M.H., and Arnold Fox, M.D., and The Health Benefits of Aged Garlic - by Carmia Borek, Ph.D.
THE STORY OF AGED GARLIC EXTRACT BEGINS IN THE RUINS OF JAPAN IMMEDIATELY AFTER WORLD WAR II
The Americans overseeing the restoration of the country brought in a German expert, Dr. Eugene Schnell, to rebuild Japan's pharmaceutical industry and provide medicine for its suffering population. With natural medicines having a long and accepted history in Germany, Dr. Schnell proposed encouraging the Japanese to eat garlic (Allium sativum), a member of the onion family used to combat infectious diseases for thousands of years in the Middle East, Europe, and Asia. The fastidious Japanese, however, considered it rude to smell like garlic, so Dr. Schnell set out to produce a product with all of garlic's benefits without the odor.
The result is a highly standardized aged garlic extract, or AGE, produced by extracting and aging organic fresh garlic, at room temperature, for 20 months. This process increases the antioxidant level well above that of the fresh bulb and converts harsh, unstable compounds, such as allicin (an oxidant released upon cutting or chewing the clove), to stable healthpromoting substances. AGE contains mostly stable water-soluble organosulfur compounds, which are powerful antioxidants and largely responsible for AGE's health benefits. Today, Millions of Japanese use AGE daily. Interestingly, Japan has about half the rate of heart disease as the United States.
* Reducer of Cholesterol and Blood Pressure
AGE has been shown in over 350 scientific studies to be safe and effective for numerous conditions. The Framingham Heart Study, initiated in 1949, has been the gold standard for assessing cardiovascular disease risk factors. The four primary risks, according to this study, are high blood pressure, smoking, high total cholesterol, and high levels of LDL cholesterol. Secondary factors include obesity, diabetes, poor stress management, family history, high levels of homocysteine, and aging.
Clinical studies show that AGE and its antioxidant compounds, such as S-allyl cysteine, can help reduce these risks. A daily AGE dose of 2.4-4.8 gm, for six months, reduced total cholesterol by 5-7%; lowered LDL, triglycerides, and blood pressure; inhibited platelet clotting; and increased HDL. The LDL of patients taking AGE showed resistance to oxidation compared to LDL from control groups.
S-allyl cysteine lowers cholesterol by interfering with its synthesis. It does so by inhibiting the enzyme HMA-CoA, the same mechanism as that of cholesterol-lowering statin drugs. And when combined, statins and AGE work together to more effectively suppress cholesterol synthesis. AGE may serve as a safe and effective cholesterol-lowering nutrient without the side effects of fatigue and muscle pain in statin treatment.
* Homocysteine Reducer
Food processing depletes important B vitamins—namely B6, B12, and folic acid. These nutritional deficiencies lead to a buildup of a non-essential amino acid derivative called homocysteine, which has been implicated in cardiovascular disease. When levels of these B vitamins are insufficient, the amino acid methionine is not fully metabolized and homocysteine is the result. When combined with LDLs, homocysteine damages artery walls, paving the way for atherosclerosis.
Preclinical studies at Pennsylvania State University showed that AGE added to the diet, lowers homocysteine, and, in a folate deficiency, potentially helps prevent the dire consequences of high levels of this toxic amino acid.
* Artery and Heart Protector
Cardiovascular disease cannot occur without inflammation and oxidative stress—another term for free-radical damage.
The discovery of oxidation and free radicals in the body is revolutionizing the preventative treatment of disease. Dr. Denham Harman first described the free-radical theory of aging in 1954. The oxygen that the body uses to make energy has by-products, just as burning wood produces smoke and ash along with the heat that warms you. When your body burns oxygen—the process of oxidation—it produces energy and by-products called reactive oxygen species, or free radicals.
A free radical does a microscopic amount of damage to cells' membranes, DNA, and tissues. However, when you multiply that by millions of the free radicals produced in the body every second, it amounts to one of the greatest dangers the body faces. Much evidence implicates free radicals and oxidized LDLs as causes of atherosclerosis. Oxidized LDL is highly toxic. It damages arterial walls and induces the formation of atherosclerotic plaque.
A year-long, double-blind, placebo controlled clinical trial from the University of California (LA) showed 19 cardiac patients, on statin therapy, who received 1200 mg of AGE/day, reduced coronary plaque build-up by more than 50%, as measure by electron beam tomography, and improved HDL, compared to the placebo group. AGE also lowered blood homocysteine, while patients on placebo were shown to have increased levels.
Though small, the study's striking results in coronary artery protection by AGE in people with heart disease is hopeful news for those at high risk for heart attacks. AGE—such as the dietary supplement Kyolic, manufactured by Wakunaga—can be added to other routine medications for heart disease such as statins, without side effects, potentially enhancing treatment and helping postpone the need for cardiac surgery. As for healthy people, adding AGE to the diet could serve as a health strategy, to help prevent atherosclerosis and maintain a healthy heart.
OTHER HEALTH BENEFITS
In addition to these protective benefits, AGE's antioxidant-rich content also: