Garlic is an anti-bacterial and anti-viral medicinal herb, which contains a number of essential nutrients that make it powerful enough to treat a number of diseases. Unfortunately it stinks. This is why many people turn to garlic extract supplements for high blood pressure treatment, as well as for general overall health. Most research shows that garlic extracts in supplements have no less an effect than the natural equivalent. Its all just a matter of taste
However, a recent study has cast doubts over garlics ability, whether fresh or as a supplement, as a high cholesterol treatment. The study involved 192 adults aged about 50 on average with moderately elevated levels of LDL cholesterol, the bad kind that contributes to high blood pressure and heart disease. Some were given daily doses of fresh garlic, others were given supplements, while the rest were given placebos. After 6 months, cholesterol levels in all three groups was largely unaffected.
Though the study did not investigate high blood pressure, there is still reason for sufferers of hypertension to be worried if the results of this study are true. Garlic extract is thought to act as an antioxidant and lower high blood pressure by reducing the number of LDLs in the blood. If garlic doesnt actually do this, then perhaps it doesnt really reduce high blood pressure?
Firstly, the study conducted has not been accepted widely among the medical community. It is still though that garlic extract could be beneficial to people with extremely high blood pressure. Secondly, even if it were, there are still a couple of other ways that garlic extract is known to lower blood pressure and reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke.
So How does Garlic Treat High Blood Pressure?
There are two main ways, besides the disputed antioxidant properties, that garlic extract is known to help in the treatment of high blood pressure.
1. Stops Blood Clots: It is common for people with high cholesterol levels to also experience blood platlets, the debris of the blood, stick together to form clots in the bloodstream. Not only does this lead to high blood pressure, it also increases the risk of stroke. Garlic extract is thought to stop this platlet build up, and so lower blood pressure.
2. Prevents Plaque Buil-up: Cholesterol, especially the bad kind (LDLs), tend to stick to the inside of blood vessels in people with elevated cholesterol levels. This build up, called plaque, leads to high blood pressure and the associated risks. A clinical trial conducted in the University of California showed that patients suffering from high blood pressure showed a reduction in coronary plaque build-up by more than 50% and improved HDL cholesterol levels after taking 1200 mg of garlic extract per day.
3. Improves Peripheral Circulation: Garlic extract also lowers blood pressure by improving the peripheral circulation and plasma lipid concentration in the blood. As a result it helps thin the blood and reduces the growth of smooth muscle cells that decrease blood flow through the vessels causing high blood pressure. In a clinical trial by the Universities of Mississippi and Turkey high blood pressure patients showed a reduction of 9 mmHg in blood pressure and 5 mmHg in diastolic blood pressure after taking garlic extract.
It appears that there is more study supporting the virtues of garlic extract than its ineffectiveness. Even if recent research seems to downplay garlics effectiveness in lowering cholesterol, there is nothing simlar to contradict the research that shows garlics role in lowering blood pressure. In addition, numerous studies have confirmed the safety of garlic extract in high blood pressure treatment. So what is there to lose in trying garlic extract to lower your blood pressure?