Garlic supplements can dramatically reduce the buildup of fatty deposits in the arteries, it was claimed.
In laboratory tests, the formation of early deposits, or "nanoplaques," was cut by up to 40%. The size of existing nanoplaques also was reduced by 20% after exposure to the supplement Kwai garlic. The findings were presented at an American Heart Association meeting held in Washington.
Professor Gunter Siegel, from the University of Medicine in Berlin, who led the study, said, "Of course, the results on nanoplaque buildup have to be confirmed in a clinical trial.
"A positive outcome of such a study would complement the already existing clinical studies and not only give hope to the millions of men and women especially at risk for cardiovascular disease because they have high cholesterol or blood pressure, or because they are overweight, smoke or engage in low physical activity, but also benefit those with only normal concerns about general cardiovascular health.
"We expect this research to further garlic's role as significant in helping medical professionals develop effective natural therapies for reducing cardiovascular risk."
Nanoplaque formation is the first stage of the deposit buildup that leads to narrowing of the arteries. It is triggered when "bad" cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein (LDL), binds to the cells lining blood vessel walls.
Adding a solution of garlic supplement helped to prevent LDL-induced nanoplaque formation.