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New study reveals surprising effect of consuming garlic

Adding garlic to your diet regularly can have significant health benefits.

Would you consider adding garlic to your diet? [Times of India]

In a recently published review of existing research, researchers found that garlic consumption is associated with lower blood glucose and cholesterol levels.

The new meta-analysis of existing research aimed to determine how garlic may affect cholesterol, blood sugar and triglyceride levels. Scientists from Southeast University in Bangladesh and Xizang Minzu University in China found a significant relationship between garlic consumption and lowering cholesterol and blood sugar levels.

They believe that garlic has the potential to become a therapeutic option for people with disorders of lipid and glucose metabolism.

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Glucose and lipids are key nutrients that provide energy for the body. The level of sugar and fat in the body is influenced primarily by diet, but also by a number of other factors, such as alcohol consumption and physical activity.

"In healthy people, the metabolism of glucose and lipids is precisely regulated," the authors emphasise in the publication, adding that disturbances in the metabolism of these compounds can lead to many chronic diseases, including atherosclerosis, diabetes and fatty liver disease.

Garlic has long been associated with beneficial effects on health. In previous studies, it was associated with the regulation of lipids as well as glucose levels. Garlic contains a compound called allicin, which has antibacterial, antifungal and antiviral properties. In animal studies, allicin was effective in lowering cholesterol levels.

In their review, scientists focused on 29 studies involving a total of 1,567 people from different countries and age groups. The researchers only considered studies in which garlic was given to participants for more than two weeks.

Tests also had to include glycated haemoglobin (HbA1c) levels, fasting blood glucose, total cholesterol, HDL (high-density lipoprotein) cholesterol, LDL (low-density lipoprotein) and triglyceride levels. The researchers only considered studies involving participants 18 years of age and older and studies with control groups.

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In the analysed studies, garlic was administered in various forms. As a powder, in the form of oil poured into garlic, as an extract, powder tablets and, of course, raw. Finally, the researchers collected information about the participants' blood cholesterol and glucose levels to compare them to their baseline levels. All this data was used to see if garlic consumption could improve metabolic markers.

A meta-analysis of 29 studies confirmed the positive effect of garlic on glucose and cholesterol levels. People who regularly included garlic in their diet had lower levels of fasting blood glucose, glycated haemoglobin, total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol, also called "bad cholesterol." In addition, garlic increased the level of HDL cholesterol, called "good cholesterol". Interestingly, triglyceride levels seemed to be resistant to garlic supplementation.

The researchers also found that the longer the study lasted, the greater the improvement they saw in fasting blood glucose, total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol.

The study results show that garlic may be a new weapon in the prevention or treatment of certain cardiovascular and metabolic diseases.

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The meta-analysis included many studies that differed in terms of the doses of garlic used and the forms in which it was taken. Their duration also varied. Therefore, it is difficult to determine exactly which chemical compounds contained in garlic are responsible for its beneficial effects.

In addition to the previously mentioned allicin, researchers believe that alliin and diallyl disulfide may also play a role, but further research is necessary to determine the mechanism of action.

As commentators of the review admit, it is unlikely to change dietary recommendations. Garlic is considered a nutritious and healthy addition to almost any diet anyway.

This article was originally published on Onet.

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