Garlic as a Nutrition Supplement?

Millions of people around the world suffers or prone to high blood pressure. Due to increasing tasty yet oily foods and diminishing physical activities, cases of hypertension is rapidly increasing.

Medical nutrition therapy, centered on the DASH diet, weight management and increased physical activity, has proven to be effective in hypertension management, while physicians often will prescribe medications.

Recent interests in supplements, their effectiveness and potential drug interactions may prompt inquiries from patients diagnosed with hypertension.

With a long, varied history of medicinal use, garlic supplementation for decreasing diastolic and systolic blood pressure is rated as possibly effective on the Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database. To some pharmaceuticals, garlic appears to help in vasodilation, or widening of blood vessels due to relaxation of the muscular walls of the vessels. It also may reduce angiotensin II, a naturally occurring substance in the body that narrows blood vessels and increase blood pressure.

Though these are some good effects, the evidence is not strong enough to suggest that garlic preparations may be used as an alternative prescription medication, and garlic supplementation should not replace dietary, lifestyle or medical interventions for hypertension. More recent research, however, suggests garlic may have a modest effect on lowering systolic and diastolic blood pressure on individuals with hypertension.

So what does the garlic have in it?

Antioxidant allicin – a sulfur compound that not only responsible for the garlicky aroma, but also has been identified as the potential beneficial constituent for health. Allicin is formed when fresh garlic is crushed and begins degrading almost immediately.

Due to the noted possible side effects such as malodorous breath or body odor, nausea, vomiting, flatulence or diarrhea and allergic reactions, matters still needs to be discussed with patients before taking in such supplement.

Due to the wide range of product types – and because dietary supplements do not require FDA approval --- consumers should look for independent quality assessment seals and third party verification about a product’s ingredients and qualities.

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