Ever wonder if your mother’s old saying that garlic was good for your heart was just an old wives tale or if it actually had some basis? Well, during my dietetic internship, my partner and I were determined to find out if it was true.
Garlic is claimed to have cardiovascular protective properties, particularly to lower cholesterol. Cholesterol is basically a fat molecule that is found in animal products such as meat. It is essential for life because it is one of the major components that make up a cell membrane (of which our body has billions) and it can be turned into important hormones (chemical messengers in our body), and even Vitamin. Too much cholesterol, however, can be bad news. It can build up in your blood vessels and cause atherosclerosis, which is fatty plaque buildup that can eventually clog your arteries and cause a heart attack or stroke.
Does Garlic help lower cholesterol? Meta-analysis of 10 studies that were conducted on the cardiovascular protective properties of garlic shows that it lowers total cholesterol when consumed as part of a healthy diet.
BOTTOM LINE: Person with extremely high cholesterol, LDL, and TG, cannot depend on raw garlic or garlic supplements to help in lowering the serum lipid levels. There is no harm in taking garlic to help reduce these numbers when they are part of a healthy diet. Not everyone will see a drastic reduction, and patients who are interested in taking garlic supplements should be advised that the therapeutic effect may not be clinically substantial.