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Garlic oil may reverse diabetes linked heart disease

By Nathan Gray , 30-Sep-2010

Problems in heart function related to diabetes may be improved by supplementation with garlic oil, according to new research with rats.

The study, published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, suggests that cardiac abnormalities induced by diabetes can be reversed in as little sixteen days of garlic oil supplementation.

“Our results show that garlic oil supplementation for diabetic rats leads to several alterations at multiple levels in hearts including cardiac contractile functions and structures, myosin chain gene expressions, oxidative stress, and apoptosis and related signaling activities,” wrote the researchers, led by Wei-Wen Kuo from the China Medical University in Taiwan.

Diabetic risk

Diabetes mellitus is a major risk factor in the development of cardiovascular disease, accounting for 80 percent of all diabetic mortality.

Damage to cardiac function is well documented in diabetes, and death from heart disease is known to be between two and four times higher in patients with diabetes than those without diabetes.

Garlic (Allium sativum) has been suggested to exhibit several health benefits, including inhibiting enzymes involved in lipid synthesis, decreasing platelet aggregation, preventing lipid peroxidation, and increasing antioxidant status.

Garlic oil is commonly used in cooking and folk remedies.

Previous studies have suggested that garlic oil could protect the cardiovascular system. However, the mechanism by which garlic oil protects diabetes-induced cardiomyopathy is unclear.

The new study investigated the effects of garlic oil on the cardiac function of rats induced with diabetes.

Dose-dependent reversal

Diabetes related cardiac dysfunctions were dose-dependently relieved through administration with garlic oil.

The researchers observed diabetes to significantly decrease heart rate– which was dose-dependently reversed to control levels by garlic oil feeding.

Garlic oil was also reported to reverse the effects of diabetes on cardiac output and the hearts pumping capacity in a dose dependant manner.

Diabetic rats also showed significantly decreased levels of myosin heavy chains– key contractile proteins in the heart – which were dose dependently attenuated by garlic oil.

Significant potential

The researchers concluded that “garlic oil possesses significant potential for protecting hearts from diabetes-induced cardiomyopathy.”

Adding that garlic oil reduces oxidative stress and counteracts activations of up-regulated cell suicide signals, and as such could be considered to possess potential in protecting hearts from diabetic cardiomyopathy.

“All of these phenomena might be associated with the antioxidant potential of garlic oil, which is attributed to the presence of organosulfur compounds that modulate the cardiac antioxidant activity,” said the authors.

They added that further studies were needed, “to investigate the individual garlic oil constituent compounds on improving diabetic cardiac dysfunction.”

Source: Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry
Published online ahead of print: 10.1021/jf101606s
“Cardiac Contractile Dysfunction and Apoptosis in Streptozotocin-Induced Diabetic Rats Are Ameliorated by Garlic Oil Supplementation”
Authors: H.C Ou, B.S Tzang, M.H. Chang, C.T Liu, H.W. Liu, C.K Lii, D.T Bau, P.N Chau, E.W Kuo

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