Approximately 73 million people in the US and 16 million in the UK have high blood pressure. This equates to roughly one adult in three. Scarily, more than 28% of people suffering from high blood pressure are blissfully unaware that they even have it.* Untreated high blood pressure is a major cause of death, contributing to both heart disease and stroke.
A recent study performed at the University of Adelaide, Australia, has discovered that taking a garlic supplement daily can potentially lower blood pressure points as effectively as some medications. It would appear that those with the highest blood pressure to start with benefited most from the garlic.
The patients took the garlic in powdered form for periods between 12 and 23 weeks. Researchers noted that on average patients with high blood pressure had a reduced top figure (systolic reading) of 8.4 points, or mm Hg. The bottom figures (diastolic reading) dropped by an average of 7.3 points. This was then compared to a couple of widely used blood pressure medications. ACE inhibitors which generally reduce the top reading by 8 points, and beta blockers which average a drop in the top reading by 5 points.
The average person’s blood pressure dropped by 5 points off the systolic and 3 points off the diastolic. Researchers extrapolated these figures to point out that these drops in the blood pressure of the population as a whole could potentially decrease heart disease by about 20%.
How much garlic?
The participants in the study were given powdered garlic daily ranging from 600-900mg. This is equivalent to 3.6-5.4 mg allicin, garlic’s active ingredient. A small fresh clove of garlic will contain anywhere between 5 and 9mg of allicin. So roughly, you need to be consuming between 1/2 to 1 small clove of garlic daily.
Researchers pointed out that the long term effects of the garlic on lowering blood pressure needs more study. However, it would appear that eating garlic in the meantime is only going to provide yet another health benefit. For the 65%* of the population who do not have their high blood pressure under control, the addition of garlic to the daily diet, along with prescribed medications, would seem to be a simple and possibly effective additional supplement.
The benefits of garlic in the daily diet have been shown to lower blood pressure as effectively as some medications.
For those people who suffer from high blood pressure and are being treated it is important that you do not abandon your current doctor prescribed medications. Consultation with your medical practitioner is highly recommended before altering any blood pressure medications. If you haven’t had your blood pressure checked in a while perhaps you should do so.
* Figures obtained from the American Heart Organization.