Garlic has been an important part of human history, both as a culinary ingredient and as a folklore cancer remedy and treatment for respiratory conditions.
Risks of High Cholesterol
High cholesterol, or hypercholesterolemia, is a major risk factor for coronary heart disease, the leading cause of death in the United States. It causes the formation of plaque inside of blood vessels that can restrict blood flow and increase your risk of blood clots. LDL, or bad cholesterol, constricts blood flow that might increase the chances of a clot breaking free because it is thrombogenic in nature, or prone to causing clots, explains a 2002 study by the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York.
How does Garlic Work?
Garlic might help control cholesterol in two ways. It might help lower LDL, while increasing levels of HDL, or good cholesterol. HDL assists the body in the elimination of cholesterol, making an increase beneficial for cholesterol management. A 2008 study by the Russian Academy of Medical Sciences found that garlic supplementation lowered LDL levels by nearly 14 percent after 12 weeks. HDL levels increased by 11.5 percent. Researchers attributed the results to the use of a time-release formulation of garlic.
Hypercholesterolemia is often controlled with medications called statin drugs. While effective, they carry health risks, including potential liver damage from prolonged use. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about half of the patients taking cholesterol-lowering drugs stop taking them. MayoClinic.com identified several alternative remedies that might help lower your cholesterol without the side effects of statin drugs. Among these remedies is garlic.
How to use it?
Garlic might not be appropriate for all individuals. If you are taking a blood thinner such as coumadin, you should refrain from taking garlic due to potential drug interactions. Some individuals might experience gastrointestinal upset or heartburn from taking garlic. To avoid unpleasant side effects from the odor of garlic, you should consider taking a time-release supplement or coated pill. These preparations delay digestion until it reaches the small intestine. If in doubt, consult your doctor to see if garlic is right for you.