Garlic and cardioprotection: Insights into the molecular mechanisms

Division of Medicinal Chemistry and Pharmacology, Indian Institute of Chemical Technology (IICT), Hyderabad, India.
Canadian Journal of Physiology and Pharmacology (Impact Factor: 1.55). 06/2013; 91(6):448-58. DOI: 10.1139/cjpp-2012-0315
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Garlic is widely recognized for its immense therapeutic potential. Garlic has been shown to exert its beneficial effects against a wide spectrum of diseases, including cancer, diabetes, and microbial infections, as well as immunological and cardiovascular disorders. Most of the research on garlic has indicated that garlic and its active compounds are effective in reducing cardiovascular and metabolic risk by normalizing abnormal plasma lipids, oxidized low density lipoproteins, abnormal platelet aggregation, high blood pressure, and cardiac injury. Some of the beneficial effects of dietary garlic against cardiovascular disorders are mediated via the generation of hydrogen sulfide and nitric oxide in cardiomyocytes and endothelial cells. Garlic has the potential to protect the heart against myocardial infarction, doxorubicin-induced cardiotoxicity, arrhythmia, hypertrophy, and ischemia-reperfusion injury. The induction of cardiac endogenous antioxidants and the reduction of lipid peroxidation by garlic has been reported by several different groups. Other mechanisms, such as regulating ion channels, modulating Akt signaling pathways, histone deacetylase inhibition, and cytochrome P450 inhibition, could be responsible for the cardioprotective effect of garlic. Although several mechanisms have been identified for the cardioprotective effect of garlic, there is a need for further research to identify the specific molecular mechanism of cardioprotection in different cardiac diseases.

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    • "This is a clear example of a food being used in health contexts (see e.g. Gardner et al., 2007; Reinhart et al., 2009; Tsai et al., 2012; Khatua et al., 2013; Ried et al., 2013). In the ancient world, garlic was primarily an item of diet, much derided by comic authors because of its well-known impact on the breath (Wilkins, 2000). "
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    ABSTRACT: Garlic (Allium sativum L. fam. Alliaceae) is one of the most researched and best-selling herbal products on the market. For centuries it was used as a traditional remedy for most health-related disorders. Also, it is widely used as a food ingredient--spice and aphrodisiac. Garlic's properties result from a combination of variety biologically active substances which all together are responsible for its curative effect. The compounds contained in garlic synergistically influence each other so that they can have different effects. The active ingredients of garlic include enzymes (e.g. alliinase), sulfur-containing compounds such as alliin and compounds produced enzymatically from alliin (e.g. allicin). There is a lot of variation among garlic products sold for medicinal purposes. The concentration of Allicin (main active ingredient) and the source of garlic's distinctive odor depend on processing method. Allicin is unstable, and changes into a different chemicals rather quickly. It's documented that products obtained even without allicin such as aged garlic extract (AGE), have a clear and significant biological effect in immune system improvement, treatment of cardiovascular diseases, cancer, liver and other areas. Some products have a coating (enteric coating) to protect them against attack by stomach acids. Clinically, garlic has been evaluated for a number of purposes, including treatment of hypertension, hypercholesterolemia, diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, cold or the prevention of atherosclerosis and the development of tumors. Many available publications indicates possible antibacterial, anti-hypertensive and anti-thrombotic properties of garlic. Due to the chemical complexity of garlic and the use of different processing methods we obtain formulations with varying degrees of efficacy and safety.
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