Regardless of age, taking care of your ticker should be high on everyone's "to do" list. Each year in February we commemorate Heart Health Month and it's a good time to focus on how aged garlic extract (AGE) loves your heart.
What is aged garlic extract?
The process of aging foods is done for several reasons, including to improve their flavor and/or their benefits. Aged garlic extract is a product that fits both of these reasons, and especially the latter.
Kyolic Aged Garlic Extract is made by placing fresh organic garlic in a water-based ethanol solution at room temperature in stainless steel tanks. The garlic stays in the tanks for up to 20 months, during which time several transformations take place:
- Any harsh and unstable compounds, such as allicin, which can cause indigestion and give garlic supplements their pungent odor, are transformed into body-friendly substances such as S-allylmercaptocystine (unique to AGE) and S-allylcysteine, among many others.
- The resulting aged garlic extract is readily bioavailable to the body and fully compatible with gut flora, as well as odor-free.
*The process used by Kyolic is unique to them. Other companies may make aged garlic extracts, however, they may not do it in the same way or use organic garlic, as Kyolic does.
Aren't there other types of garlic supplements? Yes, and they include garlic oil, garlic powder in tablets and capsules, and garlic oil macerates. All four types of garlic supplements provide health benefits. However, the advantages of both garlic powder and garlic oils cannot be guaranteed because they have little to none of the structure necessary for ensuring they are bioavailable. Both of these forms also are harsh on the body and can make your skin and breath smell like garlic.
Show your heart some AGE Love
Over 870 peer-reviewed articles have been published on the impact of aged garlic extract on the heart, blood pressure, blood circulation, high cholesterol, and other related heart conditions. Among the most recent studies is one appearing in the International Wound Journal.
The study participants were individuals with heart disease or diabetes who had poor blood flow in tiny blood vessels (also known as impaired microvascular perfusion). The authors found that patients who were given AGE for 12 months had much better microcirculation than those who received a placebo.
Another article looked at the effect of a special component called S-1-propenylcysteine, which is found in AGE. In the experiment, the authors gave S-1-propenylcysteine to rats with high blood pressure. After the animals were given the compound, their systolic blood pressure dropped significantly. As an added benefit, blood flow improved significantly as well. Similar results have been achieved in human clinical trials for AGE and blood pressure.
Hardening of the arteries, also known as atherosclerosis, is a significant risk factor for heart disease. Researchers have demonstrated that AGE can suppress atherosclerosis by preventing damaging changes to the smooth muscle in blood vessels. The extract also can stimulate the production of nitric oxide, which helps boost blood circulation.
Perhaps the biggest risk factors for heart disease that first comes to mind is high blood pressure (hypertension). AGE can come to the rescue here as well. Several studies have shown that Kyolic AGE can reduce blood pressure in individuals in a way similar to that of antihypertensive medication.
In a 2018 study, for example, experts evaluated the use of AGE in 49 individuals with uncontrolled high blood pressure in a double-blind, placebo-controlled trial lasting 12 weeks. At the end of the study, individuals who took AGE showed a significant mean decline of 10 mmHg in systolic blood pressure and 5.4 mmHg in diastolic blood pressure. The supplement also significantly lowered central blood pressure and arterial stiffness, which is another risk factor for heart disease.
Using aged garlic extract
The recommended daily dose of aged garlic extract to promote and support a healthy heart is 600 mg to1200 mg of AGE, in capsule or tablet form, a day. (Always follow the label and check with your health care provider before changing doses of medication.) If you prefer the liquid, 30 to 60 drops with a meal twice daily is suggested. These levels are recommended if you want to improve blood circulation, boost immune system function, and support healthy cholesterol levels.
Garlic and other foods that love your heart
Garlic and garlic supplements are good for your heart, but there are other foods you should include in your diet to promote heart health because of their fiber, antioxidants, protein, and/or healthy fat content. Here are a few candidates:
- Avocado, a fruit that is an excellent source of healthy fat and vitamin E. It also helps reduce bad cholesterol and raise good cholesterol and contains potassium, which can lower blood pressure.
- Beans, including white, pinto, kidney, black, navy, and garbanzo, among others. They are rich in protein and fiber.
- Berries, such as strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, cranberries, and raspberries. They are excellent sources of antioxidants that fight heart-damaging molecules.
- Dark green vegetables, such as spinach, kale, collard greens, broccoli, mustard greens, dandelion greens, and more. Rich in antioxidants and fiber.
- Extra virgin olive oil is a source of unsaturated fats, which can help good cholesterol levels and reduce your risk of heart disease.
- Green tea, which has potent antioxidants known as catechins. These antioxidants fight heart-damaging free radicals.
- Nuts, ranging from almonds and cashews to hazelnuts, pecans, pistachios, and walnuts. Good sources of omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin E, and fiber.
- Oily fish, an excellent source of heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids as well as protein.
- Whole grains, always a good choice for fiber to help lower cholesterol levels.
You can make various lifestyle modifications to support your heart health, including following a clean diet, engaging in routine physical exercise, maintaining a healthy weight, not smoking, limiting alcohol consumption, and managing stress. Aged Garlic Extract loves your heart too. The use of AGE supplements is an excellent way to complement and enhance these efforts.
[Editor's Note: We have partnered with Kyolic to bring you this information which is so important for your health. To learn more about Kyolic and its products visit their website.]
Read this next: 15 Health Benefits of Garlic Backed by Science
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