Aged Garlic Extract and Stress
If the word panacea could be attributed to one supplement, it would be to aged garlic extract. Few, if any, have benefited from as many scientific studies, published in major prestigious journals. None have demonstrated such a wide array of effects, all of which are supported by serious scientific studies. Over 700 scientific publications have highlighted aged garlic extract’s effectiveness.
Aged garlic extract is, along with magnesium, the most prescribed supplement at our clinic. I have been using aged garlic extract for my children, for my patients and for myself, for over 25 years. Though I have worked with many different brands of supplements over the years, A.G.E. is the only one on which I have never waivered or changed my mind. Here’s why.
Aged garlic extract is not your regular food or food supplement garlic. This unique garlic supplement has undergone significant chemical changes through a natural aging process that takes almost two years. A.G.E. is produced from American, organically grown garlic, which is aged in stainless steel tanks for up to 20 months. During the aging the natural enzymatic reactions transform the garlic into A.G.E. A little like the transformation of grapes to wine or milk to yogurt, though the analogy is far from perfect. During this aging process the harsh and irritating garlic compounds, including allicin1 , are converted into safe and beneficial ones. From social point of view, aged garlic extract doesa not have the pungent garlic after odor, which is why it is often referred to as “sociable garlic”. Mind you, I have absolutely nothing against garlic as a food. I am half Italian after all! However, the aging process does create an entirely novel type of supplement. The image below details some of the effects of the aging process.
As mentioned earlier, A.G.E. has demonstrated a wide range of effects. Though I will not bore you with the 700 or so publications that highlight aged garlic’s effectiveness, I would like, to briefly mention some of its documented effects.
Anticancer: I am referring here of course to the cancer preventative and protective effects2 3 , of A.G.E., not to its therapeutic effects. Physicians have used aged garlic extract as an adjunct to cancer therapy. A group of patients with inoperable cancers were given aged garlic extract for 6 months. Administration of aged garlic significantly improved their immune function4.
Antioxidant: Aged garlic extract has exhibited important antioxidant activity5 6. One of the effects is due to the presence of S-allyl cysteine, an import precursor of glutathione7. The S-allyl cysteine in aged garlic extract has a 98% absorption rate8.
Liver protectant: Aged garlic extract was found to protect liver cells from the toxicity of several drugs, including acetaminophen9 and methotrexate10.
Immune enhancement: Several studies have shown that A.G.E. has significant immune enhancing activity. These effects have been demonstrated against bacteria, viruses as well as candida albicans. Recent research undertaken at the University of Florida at Gainesville has also highlighted the immune enhancing effectiveness of aged garlic extract in reducing the severity and duration of the cold and flu.11
Cardiovascular health: You will remember that one of the most detrimental effects of stress is that it increases the risk of the metabolic syndrome. The symptoms of this syndrome being high blood pressure, high LDL cholesterol, low HDL, high triglycerides as well as elevated blood sugar. A.G.E. is an invaluable tool when it comes to addressing the metabolic syndrome, here’s why. Research on aged garlic extract has demonstrated its ability to normalize blood pressure in patients with bad uncontrolled hypertension12. Research undertaken by Dr. Matthew Budoff has demonstrated that A.G.E. helps reduce calcium buildup in the coronary artery, 13lowers inflammation of the arteries14, improves blood vessel function15, and decreases the amount of metabolically active fat tissue surrounding the heart. Many studies have also shown that aged garlic extract lowers LDL cholesterol and increases the good cholesterol16 in ways that are similar to those of statin drugs17 . Furthermore, in animal studies aged garlic extract was able to lower stress-induced blood sugar18 as well as reduce the complications of diabetes itself19. A.G.E. was also shown to reduce fatigue and increase vitality20, and interesting effect for those who are, or have been affected by stress21. In a clinical study in Japan, hospitalized patients showed improved stress symptoms related to their conditions, following intake of aged garlic extract as well as the B vitamins, B1 and B1222.
1 Harunobu Amagase, Clarifying the Real Bioactive Constituents of Garlic, J. Nutr. March 2006 vol. 136 no. 3 716S-725S
2 Nishino, H., Iwashima, A., Itakura, H., Matsuura, T. & Fuwa T. Antitumor promoting activity of garlic extracts, Oncology, 46: 277-280, 1989
3 Tanaka S, Haruma K, Kunihiro M, et al. Effects of aged garlic extract (AGE) on colorectal adenomas: A double-blinded study. Hiroshima Journal of Medical Sciences 2004; 53(3–4):39–45.
4 Ishikawa H, Saeki T, Otani T, Suzuki T, Shimozuma K, Nishino H, Fukuda S, Morimoto Aged garlic extract prevents a decline of NK cell number and activity in patients with advanced cancer. J Nutr. 2006 Mar;136(3 Suppl):816S-820S.
5 Borek C. Antioxidant health effects of aged garlic extract J Nutr 131:1010S-1015S. 2001
6 Imai, J., Ide, N., Nagae, S. et al. Antioxidants and free radical scavenge effects of aged garlic extract and its constituents. Planta Med, 60: 417-420, 1994
7 Perla D. Maldonado, J. Raul Alvarez-Idaboy, Adriana Aguilar-Gonzalez, Alfonso Lira-Rocha,Helgi Jung-Cook, Omar Noel Medina-Campos, Jos_e Pedraza-Chaverrí, and Annia Galano, Role of Allyl Group in the Hydroxyl and Peroxyl Radical Scavenging Activity of S-Allylcysteine, J. Phys. Chem. B 2011, 115, 13408–13417
8 Borek C., The health benefits of aged garlic extract, Townsend Letter for Doctors and Patients, August-Sept, 2004
9 Gwilt PR et al. The effect of garlic extract on human metabolism of acetaminophen. Cancer Epidemiol Bimarkers Prev, 3:155-60, 1994
10 Kojima, R., Epstein, C.J. Mizui, T., Carlson, E. & Chan, P.H. Protective effects of aged garlic extracts on doxorubicin-induced cardiotoxicity in the mouse. Nutr. Cancer, 22:163-173 1994
11 Nantz MP, Rowe CA, Muller CE, Creasy RA, Stanilka JM, Percival SS., Supplementation with aged garlic extract improves both NK and ??-T cell function and reduces the severity of cold and flu symptoms: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled nutrition intervention. Clin Nutr. 2012 Jun;31(3):337-44.
12 Ried K, Frank OR, Stocks NP. Aged garlic extract reduces blood pressure in hypertensives: a dose-response trial. European Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 2013;67(1):64-70
13 Budoff MJ, Ahmadi N, Gul KM, et al. Aged garlic extract supplemented with B vitamins, folic acid and L-arginine retards the progression of subclinical atherosclerosis: a randomized clinical trial. Preventive Medicine. 2009;49(2-3):101-7.
14 Zeb I, Ahmadi N, Nasir K, et al. Aged garlic extract and coenzyme Q10 have favorable effect on inflammatory markers and coronary atherosclerosis progression: A randomized clinical trial. Journal of Cardiovascular Disease Research. 2012;3(3):185-90.
15 Larijani VN, Ahmadi N, Zeb I, et al. Beneficial effects of aged garlic extract and coenzyme Q10 on vascular elasticity and endothelial function: the FAITH randomized clinical trial. Nutrition. 2013;29(1):71-5
16 Steiner M., Li, W. Aged garlic extract, a modulator of cardiovascular disease risk factors: a dose finding study of the effects of AGE on platelet function, J. Nutr, 131:980S-984S, 2001.
17 Lijuan L., Yeh YY. S-Alk(en)yl cysteines of garlic inhibit cholesterol synthesis by deactivating HMA-CoA reductase in cultured hepatocytes, J. Nutr, 132: 1129-1134 2001
18 Kasuga S, Ushijima M, Morihara N, Itakura Y, Nakata Y. Effect of aged garlic extract (AGE) on hyperglycemia induced by immobilization stress in mice. Nihon Yakurigaku Zasshi. 1999 Sep;114(3):191-7.
19 Ahmed M. Antiglycation Properties of Aged Garlic Extract: Possible Role in Prevention of Diabetic Complications. J. Nutr. March 2006 vol. 136 no. 3 796S-799S.
20 Ushijima M. et al, Effects of garlic and garlic preparations on physiological and psychological stress in mice. Phytother Res, 22:226-230, 1997
21 Mitsuyasu Ushijima, Isao Sumioka, Masanori Kakimoto, Koji Yokoyama, Naoto Uda, Hiromichi Matsuura, Eikai Kyo, Ayumi Suzuki, Shigeo Kasuga, Yoichi Itakura, Brenda L. Petesch, Harunobu Amagase, Effect of garlic and garlic preparations on physiological and psychological stress, Phytotherapy Research, Volume 11, Issue 3, pages 226–230, May 1997
22 Hasegawa Y et al, Clinical effects of Kyoleopin against various indefinite complains in the field of internal medicine. Japanese Journal New Med Clin, 32: 365-376, 1983