Garlic oil component may form treatment to protect heart

A component of garlic oil may help release protective compounds to the heart after heart attack, during cardiac surgery, or as a treatment for heart failure.

At low concentrations, hydrogen sulfide gas has been found to protect the heart from damage. However, this unstable and volatile compound has been difficult to deliver as therapy.

Now researchers at Emory University School of Medicine have turned to diallyl trisulfide, a garlic oil component, as a way to deliver the benefits of hydrogen sulfide to the heart. Their findings suggest that doctors could use diallyl trisulfide in many of the situations where researchers have proposed using hydrogen sulfide.

The data are being presented Wednesday, Nov. 16 at the American Heart Association (AHA) Scientific Sessions conference in Orlando.

“We are now performing studies with orally active drugs that release hydrogen sulfide,” says David Lefer, PhD, professor of surgery at Emory University School of Medicine and director of the Cardiothoracic Surgery Research Laboratory at Emory University Hospital, Midtown. “This could avoid the need to inject sulfide-delivery drugs outside of an emergency situation.”

Working with Lefer, postdoctoral fellow Benjamin Predmore blocked the coronary arteries of mice for 45 minutes, simulating a heart attack, and gave them diallyl sulfide just before blood flow was restored. The compound reduced the proportion of damaged heart tissue in the area at risk by 61 percent, compared with untreated animals.

Garlic Oil Shows Protective Effect Against Heart Disease in Diabetes
Garlic has “significant” potential for preventing cardiomyopathy, a form of heart disease that is a leading cause of death in people with diabetes, scientists have concluded in a new study. Their report, which also explains why people with diabetes are at high risk for diabetic cardiomyopathy, appears in ACS’ bi-weekly Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.

Wei-Wen Kuo and colleagues note that people with diabetes have at least twice the risk of death from heart disease as others, with heart disease accounting for 80 percent of all diabetes-related deaths. They are especially vulnerable to a form of heart disease termed diabetic cardiomyopathy, which inflames and weakens the heart’s muscle tissue. 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.

The scientists 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.

“In conclusion, garlic oil possesses significant potential for protecting hearts from diabetes-induced cardiomyopathy,” the report notes.


American Chemical Society (2010, September 29)

“Interruption of oxygen and blood flow damages mitochondria, and loss of mitochondrial integrity can lead to cell death,” he says. “We see that diallyl sulfide can temporarily turn down the function of mitochondria, preserving them and lowering the production of reactive oxygen species.”

Additional data on diallyl trisulfide in a mouse model of heart failure is being presented by a member of Lefer’s team, postdoctoral fellow Kazuhisa Kondo Wednesday at 11:30 a.m.

Transverse aortic constriction results in enlargement of the heart and is a model of heart failure. Diallyl sulfide twice daily, given after aortic constriction, could reduce heart enlargement, Kondo found.

Garlic is Good for the Heart
Garlic a nature’s cure all food, is known to help a lot of ailments. Garlic is now widely used as a prevention and remedy for any heart condition heart, garlic helps in keeping blood flow smoothly by discouraging blood platelets from clumping together. It appears to increase the level of beneficial HDL cholesterol in the blood and to reduce the level of more harmful LDL cholesterol, therefore it helps in keeping arteries clear and reducing the risk of heart disease. Garlic also appear to help to reduce high blood pressure and therefore offers some protection against heart attacks and other circulatory problems such as strokes.

Allicin is the component in garlic that has the beneficial effects, allicin is produced only when fresh garlic is cut, crushed or heated. Allicin loses its potency rapidly, it is better to get your garlic in the fresh form whether cooked or raw, than to use products such as dried flakes, garlic powder or garlic salt.

Studies shows that eating between one to three fresh garlic gloves a day provides enough allicin to reduce the risk of a heart attack significantly. These findings seems to be confirmed by the relatively low incidence of heart attacks among people who eat diet that is rich in garlic.Garlic capsule, which do not release their allicin until they reach the stomach are a good alternative to fresh garlic, if you are worried about the smell in your mouth.

Also at the meeting, Lefer’s team is presenting additional data on mice deficient in the enzyme that generates hydrogen sulfide.


Jennifer Johnson
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Emory University

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