Aged garlic extract may help obese people ward off painful inflammation and lower cholesterol levels, a new University of Florida study shows.
Obesity has grown into a serious health issue worldwide, especially in Western countries. In the U.S., more than one-third of adults are obese, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. According to the study, led by Susan Percival, a UF/IFAS professor of food science and human nutrition, obesity often brings an increased risk of inflammation that may be able to be dampened by dietary means.
In the UF/IFAS study, scientists divided 51 obese people who were otherwise healthy into two groups: those who took the aged garlic extract for six weeks, and those who took a placebo. Researchers encouraged participants to continue their regular diet and exercise routine during the experiment.
Research showed the garlic extract helped regulate immune-cell distribution and reduced blood LDL – or "bad" – cholesterol in the obese adults. Aged garlic extract modified the secretion of inflammatory proteins from immune cells, Percival said.
That means aged garlic extract may help prevent chronic diseases associated with low-grade inflammation in obese adults, such as cardiovascular disease, researchers said.
"Garlic or garlic supplements can be part of a daily healthy routine," Percival said. Such supplements are available at health food stores, she said.
Garlic becomes aged garlic extract by storing it in an ethanol solution for up to 20 months, researchers said. Numerous studies have shown the health benefits of aged garlic extract.
In fact, UF/IFAS papers published in 2012 and 2016 showed that aged garlic extract could benefit the health of non-obese people. For instance, they found the extract could reduce cold and flu symptoms and improve the number of immune cells.