The cardiovascular effects of garlic consumption

Essay by pacman82University, Bachelor's July 2006

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Cardiovascular disease is considered to be the major cause of death in the United States. Whether the deaths are related to biological factors, such as genetics or high cholesterol levels, cardiovascular disease is a major concern for many Americans. With obesity on the rise and more than half the population experiencing heart problems, solutions to heart disease are becoming more and more necessary. As healthcare cost and insurance premiums continue to rise people are seeking alternative ways to help treat their ailing hearts. Cheaper methods of treating cardiovascular disease have begun to surface as terms such as alternative and naturopathic medicine become more and more popular. Whether it is yoga or taking vitamins or supplements of some variety, research is now being conducted at an increasingly rapid rate to discover alternative forms to treating and preventing cardiovascular disease. One such supplement in particular has drawn increased attention from researchers over the past decade.

The natural herb garlic, is growing ever so popular amongst the elderly as well as the young as a way to treat and prevent various parameters, such as blood pressure, cholesterol levels, fatty streak formation on walls of arteries, and other biological factors that are associated with cardiovascular disease.

The cardiovascular benefits derived from garlic may be due to the bioavailability of the cultivated garlic supplement to yield the compound allicin (Lawson, 1998). Allicin is released when garlic is broken down. This compound that researchers discovered has many beneficial effects in terms of cardiovascular health. It has shown to have antiatherosclerotic (therapeutic), antiatherogenesis (preventative), as well as antithrombocytic (anticoagulant) properties. By examining past and recent studies on humans as well as animals I will show the beneficial effects garlic has on cardiovascular health.

The effect of garlic on various factors of cardiovascular disease has puzzled researchers over...