Garlic lowers blood pressure in hypertensive subjects, improves arterial stiffness and gut microbiota: A review and meta-analysis
Affiliations: National Institute of Integrative Medicine (NIIM), Hawthorn, Melbourne, Victoria 3122, Australia
- Published online on: December 27, 2019 https://doi.org/10.3892/etm.2019.8374
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Garlic supplements have shown effectiveness in reducing blood pressure in hypertensive patients, similarly to first‑line standard anti‑hypertensive medications. Kyolic garlic has also shown promise in improving cardiovascular health by reducing arterial stiffness, elevated cholesterol levels and blood ‘stickiness’. In addition, the prebiotic properties in garlic increase gut microbial richness and diversity. This article systematically reviews previously published trials investigating the effects of garlic on blood pressure, and provides an updated meta‑analysis of hypertensive participants. In addition, we summarise the findings of recent clinical trials investigating the effects of Kyolic aged garlic extract on arterial stiffness, and gut microbiota in hypertensive subjects. We searched online electronic databases, including PubMed and Google Scholar for randomised controlled trials (RCTs) published between 1955 and December, 2018 examining the effects of garlic on high blood pressure. The meta‑analysis of 12 trials and 553 hypertensive participants confirmed that garlic supplements lower systolic blood pressure (SBP) by an average of 8.3±1.9 mmHg and diastolic blood pressure (DBP, n=8 trials, n=374 subjects) by 5.5±1.9 mmHg, similarly to standard anti‑hypertensive medications. This reduction in blood pressure was associated with a 16‑40% reduction in the risk of suffering from cardiovascular events. Additionally, this review summarises new evidence for the vitamin B12 status playing an important role in the responsiveness of blood pressure to garlic. Furthermore, Kyolic aged garlic extract significantly lowered central blood pressure, pulse pressure, pulse wave velocity and arterial stiffness, and improved the gut microbiota, evidenced by higher microbial richness and diversity, with a marked increase in the numbers of Lactobacillus and Clostridia species found following 3 months of supplementation. Thus, Kyolic aged garlic extract is considered to be highly tolerable with a high safety profile either as a stand‑alone or adjunctive anti‑hypertensive treatment, with multiple benefits for cardiovascular health.