A combination of aged garlic extract and coenzyme Q10 may improve vascular health by improving the function of the cells lining the blood vessels, says a new study with LA County firefighters.
Daily supplements of an aged garlic extract (1200 mg per day) plus CoQ10 (120 mg per day) for one year were associated with decreases in vascular stiffness and improvements in endothelial function – the cells lining the surface of the blood vessels, according to findings published in Nutrition .
Dysfunction of the endothelium is reported to be a predictor of future cardiovascular events in people with high risk of atherosclerosis and heart disease.
“Our study demonstrated that aged garlic extract plus CoQ10 significantly improved vascular elasticity and endothelial function and for the first time provides supplemental evidence of benefiting high-risk individuals such as firefighters,” wrote researchers from Harbor UCLA Medical Center.
“Primary and secondary preventions for atherosclerosis are critical steps, and primary care physicians are in a position to advise at-risk individuals to use alternative and complementary therapies such as an aged garlic extract plus CoQ10 to decrease the morbidity and mortality of cardiovascular disease, thus minimizing the economic and social costs associated with the number-one killer in the USA.”
Led by Vahid Larijani, MD, the researchers recruited 65 LA County firefighters, a group of people at elevated risk of atherosclerosis because of the stressful nature of the job.
The firefighters were randomly assigned to receive daily supplements of an aged garlic extract plus CoQ10 (Wakanuga Inc. of America) or placebo for one year.
Results of the Firefighter Aged Garlic Extract Investigation with Coenzyme (CoQ10) as a Treatment for Heart Disease (FAITH) showed that the aged garlic-CoQ10 combination was associated with significant improvements in both endothelial function (as measured by digital thermal monitoring) and vascular stiffness (as measured by pulse-wave velocity).
The researchers previously investigated the effects of the age garlic extract only on endothelial function and report that the new results provide “supplemental evidence of a significant additive value of CoQ10 compared with our first age garlic extract -only trial”.
Commenting on the potential mechanism, the researchers note Dr Larijani and co-workers note that the effects may be related to the antioxidant activity of both the garlic extract and CoQ10, either directly or indirectly by increasing levels of antioxidant enzymes like superoxide dismutase (SOD). Garlic may also exert some anti-inflammatory activity, they added.
“This robust overall deceleration [in slowing the progression of atherosclerosis] necessitates more preventive care for firefighters and other similar at-risk groups,” they concluded.
Published online ahead of print, doi: 10.1016/j.nut.2012.03.016
“Beneficial effects of aged garlic extract and coenzyme Q10 on vascular elasticity and endothelial function: The FAITH randomized clinical trial”
Authors: V.N. Larijani, N. Ahmadi, I. Zeb, F. Khan, F. Flores, M. Budoff