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Garlic still not a magic pill

several heads of roasted garlic in a garlic roaster

I reported recently (News Bite 12/12/06) on a study in Europe that showed that garlic supplementation had no effect on cholesterol levels. A group of researchers in Stanford, California have just released an even more compelling study that appears to confirm the earlier findings (Arch Intern Med 2007;167(4):346-353).

The Stanford study included 169 people with moderately high LDL cholesterol who were otherwise healthy and not taking any cholesterol or heart medications. They were randomly assigned to one of four groups: raw garlic, Garlicin (powdered garlic) tablets, Kyolic-100 (aged garlic) tablets, or placebo. The amounts of raw garlic and the two garlic supplements given to the test subjects were designed to yield approximately the same amount of the active ingredient in garlic that is thought to have cholesterol-lowering effects.

The test subjects took their garlic supplements six days per week for six months. Their cholesterol was tested before the beginning of the study and every month thereafter through the end of the study. Even though this study was the largest and longest of its kind and included raw garlic as well as two of the most popular garlic supplements on the market, the scientists could find no measurable effects on their subjects' cholesterol.

What this means for you

This study was specifically designed to find any effect on cholesterol that garlic might have, yet they found none. Need to improve your cholesterol scores? Improve your diet! The best way to use garlic supplementation in your diet is to eat it raw or roasted - in foods that taste great and are great for you.

First posted: February 22, 2007