Friday, March 02, 2007


It has always been difficult to study natural products which cannot be patented. There is just no funds to investigate natural products, be it co-enzyme Q10, vit-C, chitosan, hyper-O2 water, even chelation therapy, etc. Some of these products may have some health benefit. Who knows? Without clinical evidence, how can we know?

Recently investigators at Stanford, funded by the NHLBI tried to find out if natural garlic, or garlic tablet supplements, would lower cholesterol or LDL-C. They studied about 200 subjects. Their findings were published in the 27th Feb, 2007 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine. They found that garlic made no difference to the subjects cholesterol levels after 6 months of treatment. Looking at the study, this is actually not surprising.

Firstly, the study is really too small for such a purpose. I would have thought that we will need a study size of about 10-20,000. What that would mean is that even if garlic is able to lower cholesterol, the cholesterol reduction will not be dramatic, maybe a little, so we may need a large population to show. Secondly, the investigator did not measure that hs-CRP, to see it garlic may help the heart not so much by LDL-C reduction, but more by hs-CRP reduction. The investigators did not include clinical indices of heart disease, eg, presence or absence of CAD etc. However, we must also note that garlic causes no harm except perhaps the garlic smell, especially if you try kissing. Since garlic is natural and causes no harm, it may be wise to take some, or more especially for those of us who like garlic. It does know harm and who knows, it may do some good.

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Palmdoc said...

I wouldn't discount bad breath and flatulence = no friends as "no harm" :P

just me said...

Any idea which race in Malaysia has the highest cholesterol? And do they consume the least garlic in their food?