June 8, 2006 - A single clove may be too little, 20 too much, but a new study suggests about a dozen cloves of garlic per day may be just right for lowering cholesterol.
Researchers say several studies have shown that garlic is good for the heart, but the optimal dose for reaping the most health benefits of the pungent produce is unclear.
In their study, researchers fed laboratory rats various doses of raw garlic, ranging from 500 milligrams to 1,000 milligrams per day per kilogram of the rat's body weight, along with a cholesterol-raising diet.
The research team included Shela Gorinstein, PhD, from the department of medicinal chemistry and natural products at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem.
After four weeks, the results showed that only the rats that got the 500-milligram daily dose of garlic were resistant to the cholesterol-raising effects of their diet. The 500-milligram dose of garlic was also associated with an increase in the time it would take for blood to clot. Heart attacks and strokes are primarily due to blood clots that block blood flow supply to the heart and brain.
Although the results aren't directly transferable to humans, the researchers' optimal dose for reaping the heart-healthy benefits of garlic in this study was equivalent to about 1.25 ounces of raw garlic (or about 12 cloves) per day for a 150-pound person.
The results appear in the Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry.