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Black garlic extract delivers heart health without bad breath

By Lorraine Heller , 06-Aug-2010
Last updated the 06-Aug-2010 at 15:04 GMT

Frutarom has launched a black garlic extract, which the firm says can be used in dietary supplements and functional foods to deliver garlic’s heart health benefits without its characteristic bad breath effects.

The new ingredient, which is part of the firm’s EFLA line, is derived from the fermentation of fresh garlic bulbs and is said to show “comparable” benefits for cardiovascular health to fresh garlic.

Production process

Otherwise known as fermented garlic, black garlic is produced by enzymatic fermentation.

“It’s not true fermentation as there is no yeast or fungus involved – some people refer to it as an ‘aging process’,” said Adeline Prevost, Frutarom’s Health product manager. “Our ingredient is produced more via an ‘auto-fermentation’ process, as it’s based on the enzymes that are naturally present in the fresh garlic.”

The garlic bulbs take one months to age, she explained, then they are dried and processed for the extract to be obtained.

Around 6g of fermented garlic is needed to obtain 1g of black garlic extract, meaning that the recommended daily intake of 660mg is equivalent to 4g of the fermented bulbs.

Benefits

Frutarom says that a number of published studies identify the health benefits of black garlic, which include a positive impact on blood pressure and blood lipids, as well as immunomodulatory activity, retardation of arterial calcification and acceleration of wound healing.

The firm has also conducted one (unpublished) study on its branded Black Garlic Extract EFLA 451, which supports its heart health benefits. The in-vitro study, which used plasma from healthy humans) demonstrated that the ingredient can “inhibit thrombocyte aggregation caused by various organic triggers”. This, says Frutarom, contributes to cardiovascular health because aggregating platelets have a negative effect on blood circulation as they increase the risk of capillary blockage and blood clots, and can therefore lead to thrombosis.

In addition, Frutarom said that black garlic has been shown to have a higher antioxidant potency than fresh garlic, which in part explains its cardiovascular benefits. The firm cited an article from Nutrition Research and Practice (2009), which demonstrated that the TEAC (Trolox-equivalence antioxidant assay) value for aged black garlic was 59 micromol/g compared to 13 micromol/g for fresh garlic (based on wet weight).

No bad breath

According to Frutarom, which also supplies garlic extract derived from fresh garlic, the distinctive advantage of its new ingredient is that it does not cause bad breath or body odour.

This is because the compounds that cause bad breath – alliin and allicin – are destroyed by the enzymatic activity in the fermentation process, explained Prevost.

However, a study published in 2007 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences indicated that the allicin in garlic is actually responsible for some of its health benefits. The study indicated that allicin produces hydrogen sulphide, which signals blood vessels to relax, increases blood flow and boosts heart health.

Prevost agreed that some of garlic’s heart benefits are linked to its allicin content, but said that other studies have shown that “in fermented garlic there are also some compounds that deliver health benefits.”

“But fermented garlic has a very different profile to fresh garlic, so we’re working on identifying which compounds in black garlic are responsible for delivering the health benefits” she said.

Applications

Frutarom said its black garlic ingredient can be used in traditional nutraceutical supplements, such as tablets and capsules, but also in liquid applications with a heart health positioning, instead of or in combination with standard garlic.

Without the pungency of fresh garlic, the fermented variety is said to have a sweet, mild taste and smell, similar to that of oven-roasted garlic.

Frutarom says the ingredient’s mild taste and good water solubility also make it suitable for a variety of savoury and sweet food applications.

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