Posted on Nov 01, 2021, 3 p.m.
Article courtesy of Dr. Joel Kahn, MD, who is a Clinical Professor of Medicine at Wayne State University School of Medicine, one of the world's top cardiologists, best-selling author, lecturer, and a leading expert in plant-based nutrition and holistic care.
The notion that food items could slow or even reverse atherosclerosis of heart arteries, one of the most serious health threats in the Western world, was considered unlikely until demonstrated by the LifeStyle Heart Trial decades ago (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9863851). The emphasis on plant-based nutrition has been confirmed as effective for reversing heart disease in other centers (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25198208) and has been approved by Medicare as a covered therapy.
However, it is unclear if specific components of a whole food plant-based diet accelerate the reversal process. For more than a decade, garlic has been in the spotlight as having the potential to impact coronary atherosclerosis favorably. But is there data?
The rate of increase in coronary artery calcium scoring, a marker for atherosclerosis, was measured in subjects taking an aged garlic product or placebo (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15475033). The mean change of the calcium score was significantly lower in subjects taking the active garlic product along with a trend towards improved high-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels and homocysteine levels.
Since then, studies using coronary CT angiography, a more advanced imaging modality, have been completed (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26764322). Over the course of a year, subjects consuming aged garlic extract experienced a significantly lower change in plaque compared to subjects taking a placebo. Using a different vascular assessment, the carotid intima-media thickness (CIMT) test, a group of subjects taking garlic powder tablets or placebo were studied (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25573347). After 3 months of treatment, CIMT differences existed with superior prevention of progression in the garlic group.
The mechanism by which garlic may prevent the progression of atherosclerosis has been studied. The inflammatory marker C-reactive protein was lower after the garlic and CoQ10 therapy than with placebo after 1 year of therapy (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22923934). In another investigation, aged garlic extract reduced peripheral and central blood pressure while improving arterial stiffness and inflammation (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26869811). Aged garlic may also lower cholesterol levels and provide a mild thinning of the blood to prevent dangerous clots.
While a complete immersion into a whole food plant-based diet is supported by scientific studies for the reversal of atherosclerosis, not all persons are willing to adopt this dietary pattern. Aged garlic is inexpensive and very well tolerated. The weight of the scientific evidence supports its use in a more widespread manner. Most patients at the Kahn Center take Kyolic Cardiovascular Aged Garlic
About the author: At his core, Dr. Joel Kahn believes that plant-based nutrition is the most powerful source of preventative medicine on the planet. Having practiced traditional cardiology since 1983, it was only after his own commitment to a plant-based vegan diet that he truly began to delve into the realm of non-traditional diagnostic tools, prevention tactics, and nutrition-based recovery protocols.
As with anything you read on the internet, this article should not be construed as medical advice; please talk to your doctor or primary care provider before making any changes to your wellness routine.
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