New Studies Reveal How Garlic Protects The Heart

November 9, 1998

Benjamin Lau, MD, PhD, professor of immunology and microbiology, School of Medicine, Loma Linda University, is an invited speaker for the conference "Recent Advances on the Nutritional Benefits Accompanying the Use of Garlic as a Supplement" to be held at the Marriott Newport Center, Newport Beach, California, November 15 to 17, 1998. This conference is a continuing and distance education service of Penn State College of Health and Human Development department of nutrition in cooperation with Wakunaga of America Co., Ltd.

Dr. Lau's presentation is titled "Suppressed LDL oxidation by garlic," in which he will present the latest data from his laboratory providing mechanisms to explain how garlic can protect individuals from cardiovascular disease (heart attacks and strokes), the major cause of death in the United States and other affluent societies in the world.

It has been known for several decades that high blood cholesterol is a major risk factor for heart attacks and strokes and that lowering of cholesterol, particularly the low density type called LDL, can significantly reduce the risk for these diseases. However, in the past decade it has been recognized that the real culprit is the oxidized LDL. Oxidized LDL, but not native or un-oxidized LDL, damages the lining of the blood vessels, causes growth of cells that form the wall of the blood vessel, and causes thickening and narrowing of blood vessels; all these events are recognized to contribute to heart attacks and strokes.

In this conference, Dr. Lau will present findings which he and his associates have published showing that several garlic compounds can effectively suppress LDL oxidation. Short term supplementation of garlic in human subjects has demonstrated an increased resistance of LDL to oxidation. These data indicate that suppressed LDL oxidation is one of the powerful mechanisms accounted for the benefits of garlic to protect hearts and blood vessels.

Dr. Lau and his associates have been involved in phytochemical (plant chemical) research for the past 20 years. They have published more than 150 scientific papers of which more than two dozen dealt with garlic research. They have shown that garlic lowers cholesterol, enhances immune function, and has anticarcinogen and anti-tumor properties. Dr. Lau has written three books summarizing research for the general public. His latest book, "Garlic and You: The Modern Medicine," was published by the Apple Publishing Company of Canada early this year.