Garlic May Not Lower Cholesterol
Study Shows No Improvement in Cholesterol Levels From Raw Garlic or Garlic Supplements
None of the three forms of garlic affected participants' total cholesterol,
LDL ("bad") cholesterol, HDL ("good") cholesterol,
triglycerides, or other blood fats, the study shows.
"The lack of effect was compelling and clear," Gardner says in a
Stanford news release. "The numbers just didn't move. There was no effect
with any of these three products, even though fairly high doses were
He says the study was large enough and long enough to have detected any
"We even looked separately at the participants with the highest vs. the
lowest LDL cholesterol levels at the start of the study, and the results were
identical," Gardner says.
However, the researchers don't rule out the possibility that garlic has
health benefits for other groups of people (such as those with higher LDL
cholesterol levels) or requires higher doses.
The study's results "do not demonstrate that garlic has no usefulness in
the prevention of cardiovascular disease," write the editorialists.
They included Marcus McFerren, MD, PhD, of the Center for Complementary and
Integrative Medicine at New York's Weill Cornell Medical College.
Many factors affect heart disease, and allicin may not be the only compound
in garlic that affects cholesterol, the editorialists suggest.
Garlic supplements are probably safe (no side effects were seen in the
study), write McFerren and colleagues. "Do they prevent cardiovascular
disease? The jury is still out," the editorialists write.
Gardner's team didn't set out to see if garlic prevented heart disease. The
study only tracked cholesterol and other lipid levels.
Supplement Maker Responds
WebMD contacted the makers of Garlicin and Kyolic for their comments.
"I don't know the exact research protocol for this study," Haru
Amagase, PhD, director of research and development of Wakunaga of America,
which makes Kyolic, tells WebMD.
Amagase says his company's studies show that Kyolic "does not have any
influence" on people with normal cholesterol levels, "but if you have a
higher cholesterol level, then you might have some reduction" in
He also notes that another Kyolic study shows that "our garlic
supplement was effective to slow down the plaque formation in a coronary
artery," which he says is "much closer" to heart disease.
"Multiple risk factors are deeply involved in cardiovascular
disease," Amagase says. "Of course cholesterol is one of the risk
factors, but it's not the single risk factor.
"So we believe that even though it may not have significant cholesterol
reduction -- I believe it should have moderate cholesterol reduction -- but I
think other risk factors [are] also important," Amagase says.
Garlicin's maker did not respond in time for publication.