Garlic Fights Deadly Hypertension
April 23, 2005
Bad breath may be the price to pay for warding off high blood pressure in the lungs. According to research on rats, an ingredient in garlic was found to prevent pulmonary hypertension, a potentially deadly type of high blood pressure in the arteries that bring blood to the lungs.
The magic ingredient: Allicin.
Researchers explain the garlic ingredient allicin likely prevents pulmonary hypertension by causing the constricted blood vessels to relax, and by preventing damage to the blood vessels.
Positive, Preventative Effects of Allicin
To determine the ingredient's preventative effects, scientists first increased the risk of pulmonary hypertension in rats using a drug that triggers the constriction of the arteries feeding the lungs.
Some of the rats were given a powdered form of garlic that contained allicin; others ate boiled garlic that was void of the ingredient (it dissipates when exposed to heat through boiling). After three weeks, researchers found:
High blood pressure in the lungs was prevented in the rats that received allicin.
Rats that ate the boiled garlic developed pulmonary hypertension, proving allicin as the key ingredient.
How Will These Findings Affect Humans?
For humans, pulmonary hypertension can lead to potentially fatal complications in the heart and blood vessels. And while consuming two cloves of garlic every day would equal that of the rats' dosage in the experiment, additional research needs to be done before doctors are able to recommend garlic to patients who have an increased risk of pulmonary hypertension.
Forbes.com April 3, 2005