People with diabetes have at least twice the risk of death from heart disease as others without diabetes. They are especially vulnerable to a form of heart disease termed diabetic cardiomyopathy, which inflames and weakens the heart's muscle tissue
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.
Wei-Wen Kuo and colleagues (1) fed either garlic oil or corn oil to laboratory rats with diabetes. Animals given garlic oil experienced beneficial changes associated with protection against heart damage.
Hyperglycemia, resulting from either insulin deficiency in type 1 diabetes or insulin resistance in type 2 diabetes, induces the production of reactive oxygen species (ROS), which is the major cause of diabetic myocardial injury. Due to low content of free radical scavengers, the heart is susceptible to being damaged by ROS.
The harmful effects of oxidative stress on the diabetic heart include abnormal gene expression, altered signal transduction, and activation of pathways leading to programmed myocardial cell death. Several antioxidant enzymes were identified to be decreased in the diabetic heart, due to hyperglycemia, by an oxidative mechanism found in both rats and humans
Interestingly, the exogenous or insulin-mediated antioxidant ability can inhibit this rise in oxidative stress, indicating a possible beneficial effect of antioxidants on preventing diabetic cardiomyopathy.
The changes in the garlic oil-fed rats appeared to be associated with the potent antioxidant properties of garlic oil. The scientists have identified more than 20 substances in garlic oil that may contribute to the effect.
Researchers are also investigating whether fermentable carbohydrates found in foods that include garlic and asparagus could help weight loss and diabetes.
The three-year study by the Nutrition and Research Group at Imperial College London, aims to establish whether these carbohydrates cause the release of gut hormones that could reduce appetite and enhance insulin sensitivity, which in turn could reduce blood sugar levels and help control weight. The carbohydrates will be given to participants in the study as a daily supplement.
Dietitian Nicola Guess, who is leading the study (2), said: "By investigating how appetite and blood glucose levels are regulated in people at high risk of type 2 diabetes we hope to find a way to prevent its onset."
- Hsiu-Chung Ou, Bor-Show Tzang, Mu-Hsin Chang, Cheng-Tzu Liu, Hui Wen Liu, Chong-Kuei Lii, Da-Tian Bau, Pei-Min Chao, Wei-Wen Kuo. Cardiac Contractile Dysfunction and Apoptosis in Streptozotocin-Induced Diabetic Rats Are Ameliorated by Garlic Oil Supplementation. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, 2010; Full Text
- The Guardian, Monday 23 August 2010
- Each Garlic Pearl by VitaHealth contains 1mg of Garlic Oil
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