By: Jen Blackstock
A new report recently published in the American Chemical Society’s bi-weekly Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry adds a new punch to the power of garlic in the fight against heart disease. The report concludes that garlic has “significant” potential for preventing cardiomyopathy, a form of heart disease that is a leading cause of death in people with diabetes.
Heart disease is not the first thing that people think of when they think diabetes, yet heart disease accounts for an astonishing 80 percent of diabetes-related deaths. The report, written by Wei-Wen Kuo and colleagues, explains why people with diabetes are at high risk for diabetic cardiomyopathy, which inflames and weakens the heart’s muscle tissue. They also note that people with diabetes have at least twice the risk of death from heart disease as others.
While most diabetics are focused on their blood sugar levels, many doctors suggest that heart disease must be factored in as well, mostly in the form of prevention. According to E! Science News, Kuo’s group had hints from past studies that garlic might protect against heart disease in general and also help control the abnormally high blood sugar levels that occur in diabetes. But they realized that few studies had been done specifically on garlic’s effects on diabetic cardiomyopathy. So they set out to see if the preventive effect of garlic was as true for diabetic cardiomyopathy as it was for heart disease in the general population.
The team from China Medical University fed either garlic oil or corn oil to laboratory rats with diabetes. Animals given garlic oil experienced beneficial changes associated with protection against heart damage. The changes appeared to be associated with the potent antioxidant properties of garlic oil, the scientists say, adding that they identified more than 20 substances in garlic oil that may contribute to the effect.
The researchers speculated that the antioxidant properties of garlic oil may be responsible for its protective effect. In addition, garlic may help high blood pressure.