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Potential of garlic (Allium sativum) in lowering high blood pressure: mechanisms of action and clinical relevance

Authors Ried K, Fakler P

Received 20 May 2014

Accepted for publication 3 October 2014

Published 9 December 2014 Volume 2014:7 Pages 71—82

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/IBPC.S51434

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 3

Editor who approved publication: Dr Steven Atlas

Karin Ried, Peter Fakler

National Institute of Integrative Medicine, Melbourne, VIC, Australia

Abstract: Garlic supplements have shown promise in the treatment of uncontrolled hypertension, lowering blood pressure (BP) by about 10 mmHg systolic and 8 mmHg diastolic, similar to standard BP medication. Aged garlic extract, which contains S-allylcysteine as the bioactive sulfur compound, in particular is standardizable and highly tolerable, with little or no known harmful interaction when taken with other BP-reducing or blood-thinning medication. Here we describe biologically plausible mechanisms of garlic's BP-lowering effect. Garlic-derived polysulfides stimulate the production of the vascular gasotransmitter hydrogen sulfide (H2S) and enhance the regulation of endothelial nitric oxide (NO), which induce smooth muscle cell relaxation, vasodilation, and BP reduction. Several dietary and genetic factors influence the efficiency of the H2S and NO signaling pathways and may contribute to the development of hypertension. Sulfur deficiency might play a part in the etiology of hypertension, and could be alleviated with supplementation of organosulfur compounds derived from garlic.

Keywords: garlic, S-allylcysteine, hydrogen sulfide (H2S), nitric oxide (NO), redox signaling, hypertension

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