Over the years life expectancy has risen, with a parallel increase in age-related conditions and chronic diseases, of the cardiovascular, brain and immune systems, increases in cancer and bone fragility. Many of these pathological states are linked to the action of free radical reactions. In order to try and combat oxidant free radicals damage, antioxidant-rich herbs and natural products have gained popularity. Among these, garlic that is rich in antioxidants and other beneficial compounds and was used for thousands of years to treat age-associated ailments, is a most popular choice. Modern medicine and scientific research have confirmed many of the medicinal properties of garlic and its anti-aging potential, including the ability to boost immunity, reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and cancer, protect the brain and increase bone density.
While we enjoy garlic in small quantities as an excellent condiment, ingesting large amounts of fresh garlic to achieve its anti-aging benefits is not for everyone. Garlic’s strong odor lingers on the breath and skin and ingesting large quantities may lead to gastrointestinal problems, including flatulence and diarrhea. KyolicTM AGE, (aged garlic extract), an odorless supplement provides the benefits of the fresh bulb without the unpleasant side effects. AGE has been the choice garlic preparation in scientific and medical research on the health effects of garlic and its benefits have been documented in over 700 peer reviewed publications.
Aged Garlic Extract
Kyolic Aged Garlic Extract (AGE), is manufactured by Wakunaga of America, from organically grown garlic by a lengthy procedure of extraction and aging, at room temperature. The process converts harsh unstable substances such as allicin to stable compounds, increasing the antioxidant content of AGE above the levels found in fresh garlic.
AGE is rich in highly bioavailable organosulfur compounds with antioxidant activity, largely water soluble, including S-allyl cysteine and S-allyl mercaptocysteine. Also present are lipid soluble organosulfur compounds, carbohydrates, including fructans which are immune-boosters and micronutrients such as selenium and other antioxidants such as fructosyl arginine and alixin.
AGE had been shown to enhance immunity, reduce inflammation, lower cholesterol and blood pressure and help reduce the risk of cardiovascular and cerebrovascular diseases, cancer, neurodegenerative diseases, help maintain bone density as well as prevent cell damage by free radical-producing drugs and radiation, including UV.
Our immune system is the path to good health and longevity. A vigorous immune system protects against infectious bacteria, viruses, fungi and helps fight the development of cancer. Our goal is therefore to maintain a fortified immune system to protect us from colds and flu, fight invading disease-causing microorganisms, prevent cancer growth and combat inflammation, now known to play a critical role in cardiovascular disease as well as in cancer and neurodegenerative diseases. In most cases our immune system can handle an amazing variety of pathogens and microbes and overcome inflammation, but as a battle between a pathogen and the immune response takes place, the result can be sickness, when immunity is weak, or health, when the immune cells are winning.
The immune system is complex. Inflammation is one of the first responses of the immune system to infection and involves the release of prostaglandins and leukotrienes that attract white blood cells (leukocytes), and interferons that has anti-viral effects.
Leukocytes include a wide range of immune cells that include macrophages, neutrophils, that engulf foreign invaders and natural killer cells (NK) that destroy cancer cells and cells infected by viruses.
AGE Enhances Immunity
Aged garlic extract has been shown in a wide range of preclinical and clinical studies to enhance the immune response, mitigate infectious diseases, reduce inflammation and kill cancer cells. AGE intake enhances the phagocytic (cell-killing) activity of macrophages, the activity of the T lymphocytes that direct the immune system to combat invaders, increases the number and activity of natural killer cells (NK) and their anti-cancer action; AGE also was found to, suppress inflammation—related prostaglandins and enhance interferon.
AGE Increases NK Activity
A random double-blind clinical trial showed that AGE administered to patients with inoperable colorectal, liver or pancreatic cancer resulted in a significant increase in the number and activity of the NK cells.
A study in AIDS patients, who are found to have lower levels of NK cells showed that AGE enhanced NK cells and helper T cells. After a 6-week intake of AGE at 1800 mg/day the levels of NK cells rose to that of the healthy individuals. Helper T cells were also increased with patients showing improvement of a variety of conditions, often increased in aging, including herpes infection, yeast infections and diarrhea; when compared to the efficacy of fresh garlic, the investigators found that AGE was a more effective immune-stimulator than fresh garlic, and observed NK activity was up by 140 percent with the fresh preparation and by 160 percent with AGE capsules.
AGE Prevents UV induced Immunosuppression
Ultra violet radiation (UV) has been linked to cancer, largely skin cancer; one of the effects of UV is to decrease immunity. Studies in Australia on human volunteers have shown immunosuppression by exposure to UV irradiation and that this immunosuppression increases the incidence of skin cancer. Men were immunosuppressed by UV doses that were three times lower than those required to immunosuppress women. They concluded that this may be an important cause of the higher skin cancer incidence and mortality observed in men.
In a preclinical study, using contact hypersensitivity as the immune response, Reeve and colleagues found a 58 percent immunosuppression following moderate exposure to UVB radiation, direct DNA damage was reduced to 19 percent by intake of AGE as four percent of the diet. The pre-clinical studies offer the possibility that AGE may also help protect humans against UV induced immunosuppression, and have the potential to reduce the risk of skin cancer a condition that is more prevalent in aging.
AGE Reduces Inflammatory Prostaglandins
Oxidative damage and immune-inflammatory activation play a role in cancer, neurodegenerative disease, cardiovascular disease and in depression. Prostaglanding, are associated with inflammation and release of local pro-inflammatory prostaglandins and cytokines, accompanied by the destruction of tissue. Rahman and colleagues have found that dietary supplementation with AGE for 14 days reduced plasma and urine concentrations of the prostaglandin 8iso-PGF(2 alpha) by up to 37 percent in nonsmokers and up to 48 percent in smokers. Fourteen days after cessation of dietary supplementation, prostaglandin levels returned to similar levels as those before ingestion of AGE, showing that in order to maintain protection a continuous intake of AGE is required.
AGE Protects The Heart And Brain
Aged garlic extract has been shown to modulate cardiovascular risk factors in over 700 scientific and medical publications. The AGE protective action also reduced risk factors for dementia. AGE increases, by 30-40 percent, the production of nitric oxide (NO), a regulator of blood pressure and lowers blood pressure, thus protecting both the heart and the brain. AGE inhibits platelet aggregation and adhesion that play a role in atherosclerotic plaque formation, it lowers LDL and prevents its oxidation, reduces triglycerides and homocysteine. AGE elevates HDL cholesterol (the good cholesterol), and reduces smoking related oxidative damage.
The major effect of AGE in lowering cholesterol is by blocking an enzyme involved in the production of cholesterol (3 hydroxy 3 methylglutaryl CoA) by as much as 41 percent. The effect is additive with statins, the cholesterol lowering medications. Breakthrough clinical studies at the University of California Los Angeles, found that AGE significantly inhibits the progression of coronary artery calcification, a marker for atherosclerosis, thus reducing the risk of plaque formation and a heart attack. The same studies, authored by Dr. Budoff and colleagues also showed that AGE lowers homocysteine triglycerides and LDL cholesterol, and increases HDL.
Protection Of Blood Vessels
One of the age related cardiovascular problems is the narrowing of blood vessels due to calcification of the lining. AGE protects the lining of blood vessels (endothelial cells) from oxidative damage and increases microcirculation; an important factor in cardio-protection, notably in diabetes, where the disease damages microvasculature and the risk of cardiovascular disease and dementia is high.
The Bottom Line
Kyolic aged garlic extract (AGE) is a natural, odorless antioxidant-rich garlic supplement, manufactured by Wakunaga of America from organic garlic. It is the most popular garlic supplement and being the most standardized is the preferred form used in medical and scientific research. AGE has consistently shown an ability to act as an effective health promoting supplement with anti-aging activity, boosting immunity, reducing inflammation, lowering risk factors for cardiovascular disease, dementia and cancer as well as helping maintain bone density, an important consideration in aging as bone fragility increases with age.
- Zeb I, Ahmadi N, Nasir K, Kadakia J, Larijani VN, Flores F, Li D, Budoff MJ, Aged garlic extract and coenzyme Q10 have favorable effect on inflammatory markers and coronary atherosclerosis progression: A randomized clinical trial. J Cardiovasc Dis Res. 2012 :185¡V90.
- Borek C. Garlic reduces dementia and heart disease risk J Nut. 2006;136:810¡V812.
- Nasser A. et al Aged garlic extract with supplement is associated with beneficial effects on bone mineral density and predicts lack of progression of atherosclerosis: a prospective double blinded randomized trial 2015; Int J. of Cardiovascular Research 4:3 http://dx.doi.org/10.4172/2324-8602.1000206.
- Dillon SA, Lowe GM, Billington D, Rahman K. Dietary supplementation with aged garlic extract reduces plasma and urine concentrations of 8-iso prostaglandin F(2alpha). J Nutr. 2002 Feb;132 :168¡V71.
- Tanaka S, Haruma K, Yoshihara M, Kajiyama G, Kira K, Amagase H, Chayama K. Aged garlic extract has potential suppressive effect on colorectal adenoma in humans. J Nutr. 2006 Mar;136 :821S¡V826S.
- Ishikawa H, Saeki T, Otani T, Suzuki T, Shimozuma K, Nishino H, Fukuda S, Morimoto K. Aged garlic extract prevents a decline of NK cell number and activity in patients with advanced cancer J Nutr. 2006 Mar;136 :816S-820S.
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Carmia Borek, PhD
Carmia Borek has a PhD in genetics and molecular biology from the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel and an MS degree in the fields of physiology, pharmacology and biochemistry, from George Washington University. As an expert in the fields of cancer and in the role of nutrition and antioxidants in disease prevention, Dr. Borek has published in over 300 scientific publications and has been the editor of several books in medicine and biology. Additionally, Dr. Borek is the author of over 100 educational and popular articles in the fields of diet and health, including the book Maximize Your Health-Span with Antioxidants, The Baby Boomer’s Guide a science-based book for the non-scientist.