Close this search box.

The potential benefits of garlic on cholesterol and blood sugar levels

woman cutting garlic

Garlic has been a staple in culinary traditions and medicinal practices for centuries, and its potential health benefits continue to be a subject of scientific inquiry. Recent studies have focused on understanding how garlic consumption might influence cholesterol, blood sugar, and triglyceride levels, with promising findings that suggest garlic could become a therapeutic option for managing lipid and glucose metabolism disorders.

Garlic and metabolic health: What does the research say?

A new review and meta-analysis of existing studies has shed light on the relationship between garlic intake and certain health markers. The analysis, which included data from 29 trials, found an association between garlic consumption and lower cholesterol and blood sugar levels. These findings are particularly relevant given the rising prevalence of coronary artery disease and type 2 diabetes, conditions often monitored through blood tests for cholesterol, fasting blood glucose, HbA1c, and triglyceride levels.

Understanding garlic’s active compounds

Garlic contains allicin, a compound known for its antibacterial, antifungal, and antiviral properties. Research suggests that allicin and other sulfur-based compounds in garlic, such as allicin and diallyl disulfide, may improve blood sugar control and cholesterol levels. However, the exact mechanisms by which garlic exerts these effects are not fully understood.

Study findings and implications for health

The meta-analysis revealed that garlic supplementation improved fasting blood glucose levels, HbA1c, total cholesterol, and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, commonly known as bad cholesterol. Additionally, an increase in high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, or good cholesterol, was observed. Despite these positive outcomes, the impact of garlic on triglyceride levels was insignificant. The study’s authors suggest that garlic interventions may potentially prevent or manage cardiovascular and metabolic disorders.

Expert insights on garlic’s health benefits

Medical experts who reviewed the research noted the variability in study designs and called for more research to identify the active compounds responsible for garlic’s beneficial effects. While the study is unlikely to alter dietary recommendations immediately, garlic is recognized as a nutritious and healthy addition to any diet. Further studies with larger sample sizes and longer durations are needed to confirm these findings and potentially influence future dietary guidelines.

While garlic’s role in improving metabolic health is supported by recent research, more high-quality studies are necessary to fully understand its benefits and to potentially integrate garlic into dietary recommendations for preventing and managing heart disease and type 2 diabetes.