Does Garlic Lower Blood Pressure? – Cleveland Clinic

We have attributed medicinal properties to garlic – also known as Allium sativum For thousands of years. You can find references to the herbaceous vegetable throughout human history. It has been used to treat everything from tuberculosis to snakebites. In fact, garlic was so important to some ancient cultures that archaeologists have discovered bulbs of it in the Egyptian pyramids.

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Our ancestors may have been a little overenthusiastic, but they weren’t wrong to cherish the plant. Garlic tastes good – and it’s good for you.

Garlic has anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and antibiotic properties. Studies suggest it can boost your immune system. It might even be a useful addition to cancer treatment plans.

This little plant has a lot to offer. Is it possible that it can also lower your blood pressure?

What is the effect of garlic on blood pressure?

There is evidence to suggest that garlic can lower your blood pressure. But according to cardiologist Ashish Sarraju, MD, it’s still quite limited.

He is not alone in this assessment. Even those who claim garlic lowers blood pressure are quick to note that there’s still a lot we don’t understand. For example, a recent study demonstrated that vitamin B12 levels can influence the effectiveness of garlic in lowering blood pressure. But what we eat is personal and specific. This makes it difficult for scientists to determine the impact of a single food, especially on a complex medical condition like high blood pressure. As a result, many studies on the relationship between garlic and hypertension are poorly designed.

Whether garlic does indeed lower blood pressure, we still don’t know how. Our best guess is that our red blood cells react to the sulfur in garlic, creating nitric oxide (NO) and hydrogen sulfide (H2S) gas. These compounds relax and dilate our blood vessels.

How much garlic should you take?

Garlic has many health benefits, but how much of the stinky stuff should you ingest?

You’ve probably had enough already. While some studies show that taking a garlic supplement can lower your blood pressure, Dr. Sarraju doesn’t think the data is strong enough to recommend it.

But he Is recommend cooking with garlic. In his words, “one of the greatest values ​​of garlic is that it makes an evidence-based diet – like the DASH diet – tastier.” If you’re trying to make heart-healthy choices, like reducing your sodium intake or eating more vegetables, garlic could be your secret weapon.

Although it’s a secret weapon, it’s not a silver bullet.

Hypertension (high blood pressure) is complicated. When it comes to lowering blood pressure, diet is only part of the equation. Some of the other lifestyle changes doctors might recommend include:

Garlic is great for flavoring your food, but it can’t change the way you live your life. Unless, of course, you’re a vampire.

Is it safe to take?

The jury is also still out on the safety of garlic supplementation. In fact, the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not approved the use of garlic for medicinal purposes. They also do not regulate the sale of garlic pill supplements. This means you cannot be sure of the dosage or quality of any supplements or concentrates you buy over the counter.

Dr. Sarraju does not recommend garlic supplements. There just isn’t enough evidence to support it. But does he think garlic is dangerous in high doses?

There is some evidence that in high doses, garlic can interfere with blood clotting. While this is particularly concerning for people who are already taking blood thinners, Dr. Sarraju is not yet convinced by the research.

Although we don’t know for sure if garlic supplementation is dangerous for Everybody, we know that concentrated garlic can be harmful for people with certain health conditions. We know, for example, that people with stomach problems like gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) have their symptoms worsen when they eat garlic-based foods. . This is why people on a low FODMAP diet should avoid it, at least for a while.

Although rare, some people are allergic to garlic. This is another reason to avoid concentrated garlic in any form until you have discussed it with your doctor.

There is not enough evidence to support garlic supplementation, but there is also not enough evidence to suggest that garlic is dangerous. So it’s best to enjoy it the way you always have: in your diet, with a breath mint scavenger.

Can garlic replace medication?

Even if you enjoy garlic in all of your meals, don’t give up on your prescribed medications. There is no evidence to suggest that you can use garlic in place of blood pressure medication. And even if there were, it’s important to remember that doctors don’t prescribe these drugs in isolation. As Dr. Sarraju says, “It’s hard to replace a conversation with your doctor and multifaceted attention to lifestyle and medications with a supplement.”

Diet and lifestyle changes are important. In fact, Dr. Sarraju describes controlling hypertension as 70% lifestyle and 30% medication. Yet that 30% is also important, especially since we can’t control the factors, like genetics and certain environmental conditions, that influence our blood pressure.

You’d bring more than garlic to a confrontation with a vampire, so don’t rely on garlic alone to lower your blood pressure. The stakes, so to speak, are too high.

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