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Aged Garlic Extract

  • Garlic has been an important herbal remedy for centuries. Painted on the walls of Egyptian tombs and placed in the tombs, for consumption in the afterlife, as early as 3700 BC, garlic was used as a remedy for heart disease, cancer and other ailments, as documented in ancient Egyptian medical documents, dating from 1550 BC.

  • Garlic has been an important herbal remedy for centuries. Found in carvings and paintings on the walls of Egyptian tombs, dating from 3700 BC, garlic's uses as a remedy for cancer and other ailments are recorded in detail in Egyptian medical documents, dating from 1550 BC.

    Modern studies and human observations have validated many medicinal effects of garlic and its potential to help lower the risk of various ailments, including colon cancer. The cancer preventive mechanisms of garlic, shown largely through research using KyolicTM Aged Garlic Extract® (AGE), an odorless supplement made from organic garlic by Wakunaga of America, are largely due to potent antioxidants, a high content of organosulfur compounds, an ability to stimulate immunological responsiveness, detoxify carcinogens, inhibit inflammation and prevent mutations that may lead to cancer.

    Epidemiological Studies
    Several population studies have found an association between a high intake of garlic and a reduced risk of certain cancers, including stomach and colon cancer. An analysis of the results of these studies, showed, that the higher the amount of garlic consumed, the lower the risk of stomach and colon cancer.

    The "Iowa Women's Study"1 is a large prospective study investigating whether diet and other risk factors are related to cancer incidence in older women. Results of the study showed a strong association between garlic consumption and colon cancer risk. There was a 50 percent lower risk of colon cancer in women who consumed the highest amounts of garlic, compared to those consuming a low level.

    Several population studies conducted in China and Italy also showed repeatedly that consumption of allium vegetables, onions and especially garlic was associated with a reduced risk of stomach and colon cancer, sometimes as low as 50 percent.

    The Nature of Colon Cancer

    Colon Cancer is the third leading cause of deaths in the United States. It is a multistage disease that is initiated by a series of mutations in DNA that give rise to adenomatous polyps, of a benign nature, that may progress to full blown cancer. Colon cancer can have hereditary components, and is found in families, but external factors including environmental factors, lifestyle and diet play important role in the development of the disease.

    Colon cancer develops slowly, over a period of 10 to 15 years; though people over 50 are most prone to getting the disease, colon cancer can develop at any age. The disease usually begins as a non-cancerous polyp that can progress with time into cancer, screening by colonoscopy is effective in lowering the cancer risk and increasing the chance for cure, by detecting and removing emerging adenomatous polyps. Cancer screening by colonoscopy is recommended starting at the age of 50, though people with a family history of the disease may begin at an earlier age and be tested more often.

    Diet and Lifestyle in Prevention
    While screening is important in reducing risk, diet and lifestyle are critical in supporting the body's natural defenses, helping prevent the onset and growth of polyps and blocking their subsequent development into colon cancer.

    Leading a physically active life, maintaining a healthy weight, not smoking and reduced levels of alcohol are important aspects of prevention; as diet goes, a diet rich in plant food, low levels of red meat and intake of milk products that contain calcium and vitamin D are some of the recommendations by the American Cancer Society.

    Among the plant foods that have been associated with lowering the risk of colon cancer, garlic ranks as a highly effective protector. In some people a high consumption of fresh garlic may cause gastrointestinal adverse effects; such occurrences and the fact that the odor of garlic lingers on the skin and breath, prevents many from taking advantage of its health effects. Many have therefore turned to the odorless supplement Kyolic Aged Garlic Extract (AGE), as an effective way to seek protection against colon cancer. Currently, with over 700 scientific and medical publications showing the wide range of AGE health benefits, this odorless garlic supplement is the most researched and popular garlic supplement.

    AGE a Natural Protectant against Colon Cancer
    Kyolic Aged Garlic Extract (AGE), is produced by the Wakunaga Company from organically grown garlic, using a process of aging and extraction, at room temperature, for 20 months. Harsh volatile garlic components, such as allicin, are converted by this process to stable compounds, such as S-allyl cysteine, S-allyl mercaptocysteine and others. S-allyl cysteine is the major watersoluble organosulfur compound in AGE; it is a highly bioavailable and is used to standardize AGE, assuring quality control. The high quality control of AGE insures consistent efficacy in helping sustain consumer health, remaining the choice garlic preparation in clinical studies and research on the health effects of a garlic. AGE lacks harsh or toxic compounds, and can be ingested safely for years, for its health effects.

    The wide range of AGE¡¦s anticancer actions has been reported in studies using model systems. Findings show that AGE and its organosulfur constituents inhibited colon cancer in a dose-dependent manner. In addition, AGE stimulated colon and liver glutathione S-transferases, enzymes assist in detoxifying carcinogens. Other studies have shown that AGE and its compounds with their high antioxidant action show anti-carcinogenic actions by scavenging toxic reactive oxygen species, unstable molecules that are waste products in metabolism, which have the ability to trigger cancer-mutations in DNA. Other effects of AGE found experimentally, were an inhibition of the binding of carcinogens to DNA, detoxifying carcinogens, blocking the proliferation of colon cancer cells and killing them by apoptosis, a mechanism of programmed cell death.

    Human Studies

    While epidemiological studies have shown the efficacy of garlic in lowering colon cancer risk, and experimental models found AGE and its components, largely water soluble S-ally cysteine and S-allyl-mercaptocysteine have anti-carcinogenic effects, the protective action of AGE and its efficacy in lowering the risk of colon cancer in humans had to be established by a clinical study.

    To determine a potential protection against colon cancer in humans, Tanaka2 and colleagues carried out a randomized, double-blind, clinical trial, using high intake of AGE (AGE 2.4 ml/day) as an active treatment and low-dose AGE (AGE 0.16 ml/day) as a control.

    The study enrolled 51 patients who were diagnosed with adenomatous polyps. Investigators assigned the patients randomly to two groups, after removing adenomas that were larger than 5 mm in diameter. Using colonoscopy, the investigators determined the number and size of adenomas before the patients began the intake of AGE (0 months) and at six and twelve months after intake. There were thirty-seven patients who completed the study; 19 in the active group, receiving AGE and 18 in the control group, receiving placebo.

    The investigators found that in the control group the number of adenomas increased in linear fashion from the beginning of the study (baseline point); by contrast, in the group taking the high dose of AGE the size and number of adenomas were significantly suppressed, after the 12 months of treatment. These findings showed that the intake of Kyolic AGE has the potential to protect humans against colon cancer, by preventing the progression of precancerous colon adenomas into colon cancer.

    The clinical study, showing AGE as a supplement with potential preventive effects against human colon cancer, adds to the results of several epidemiological studies showing a reduction of colon cancer by high garlic consumption.

    At this point, with overwhelming evidence of garlic protection against colon cancer, it should be noted that a recent single prospective study from Harvard Medical School3, did not find a protective effect by the intake of fresh garlic. The study did not include AGE.

    To possibly understand the discrepancy in results, it should be realized that the findings of efficacy by AGE in inhibiting the growth of precancerous adenomas and potentially inhibiting colon cancer, is partly due to the high standardization of its active ingredients. This is in contrast to fresh garlic cloves that cannot be standardized in the same way.

    Depending on the conditions of their cultivation, garlic bulbs may contain up to 33 different lipid- and water-soluble organosulfur compounds, with varying inhibitory effects on colon cancer, as shown in laboratory studies.

    In a prospective study, unknown are the number of bulbs (that means the dose of garlic components), that would be required for human intake to have an inhibitory effect on colon cancer. Food preparation methods are known to affect the potency of sulfur compounds in garlic. For example, microwave heating and oven cooking block the anti-cancer activity of some compounds in the fresh garlic. The Harvard study had no biomarkers that reflected the actual active garlic component in the human body.

    By contrast, AGE is prepared at room temperature, with no heating in the process of its production, preserving its anticancer activity; in addition, S-allyl cysteine, the most prevalent organosulfur compound in AGE, has been shown experimentally to have a 98 percent bioavailability; this means it can be used potentially as a marker to reflect the intake of Aged Garlic Extract components.

    References:

    1. Steinmetz KA, KushiLH, Bostick RM, et al Vegetables, fruit and colon cancer in the Iowa Women's Health Study. Am J. Epidemio.1994: 139:1-13.
    2. Tanaka S, Haruma K, Yoshihara M, Kajiyama G, Kira K, et al. Aged garlic extract has potential suppressive effect on colorectal adenomas in humans. J Nutr. 2006; 136:821S-826S.
    3. Meng S, Zhang X, Giovannucci EL, et al No association between garlic intake and risk of colorectal cancer. Cancer Epidemiol. In Press; On line Dec 12 2012.
  • Research on the efficacy of garlic and aged garlic extract in eliminating yeast infections has focused in recent years on the potential therapeutic actions of their components, which in team fashion are strengthened in acting as remedies and providing health benefits.

    Candida, the Infective Fungus
    Candida albicans (C. albicans) is the most prevalent fungal pathogen in humans, causing various forms of infection, called Candidiasis that range from superficial infections of organ linings to life-threatening systemic diseases, especially in immuno-compromised patients with AIDS, cancer or organ transplantation, indicating that the mammalian immune system is a primary barrier to infectious agents.

    Candida normally exists in small amounts in the human body. Present in the oral and vaginal lining, the organism can transform itself to a highly virulent form that can be lifethreatening, particularly in patients with weakened immunity.

    The virulence factors of C. albicans include changes to an invasive form, adhesion to host cells and escaping host immune system.

    A limited number of anti-fungal treatments are available, but these remedies often have unpleasant side effects. In addition Candida acquires resistance, requiring a switch in medication or an increase in dose. In a move to find sources of treatment other than the accepted medications fluconazole or amphotericin women have sought natural, non-drug therapy to eliminate the fungal infection.

    The Nature of Candida
    Candida albicans (C. albicans) is a form of yeast and a cause of oral and genital infections in humans, mostly women. Invasion of C. albicans into the blood is considered an important cause of disease and death in immuno-compromised patients (e.g., patients with AIDS, those receiving cancer chemotherapy, or those undergoing organ or bone marrow transplantation). C. albicans forms bio-films on surfaces of implanted medical devices, increasing risk of infection. A major cause of concern in hospitals are hospital-acquired Candida infections, in patients who had not been considered at risk, for example, patients in intensive care units.

    C. albicans is one of many organisms that reside in the human mouth and gastrointestinal tract. Under normal conditions, C. albicans lives in 80 percent of the population, causing no harm; but overgrowth results in candidiasis. To infect tissues, the single cell form of C. albicans reacts to environmental signals and switches into an invasive form that contains many cells and has filaments (hyphae). These filaments are an essential step for C. albicans to become virulent and cause infections that can become systemic. The switch in form and the addition of the hyphae is largely controlled by a gene called SIR2.

    Candidiasis and Women
    Candidiasis affects around 75 percent of women, at some point in life. Symptoms of this yeast infection may vary, depending on the affected areas. Infection of the vagina or vulva causes severe itching, burning, soreness and a discharge; using douches for vaginal cleansing disturbs the normal vaginal flora that includes lactic acid bacteria, such as Lactobacilli, causing an overgrowth of Candida cells, promoting infection and local inflammation. The risk of Candidiasis increases during pregnancy, in the use of oral contraceptives, during hormone replacement therapy, and infertility treatments. Antibiotic use is also linked to an increased incidence of yeast infections, as is wearing of a wet swimsuits for long periods of time, as moisture increases Candida infection.

    Medical treatment of vaginal Candidiasis by anti-fungal drugs is effective to a large extent but C. albicans develops resistance to medications, over time, and the infection returns.

    For example, a popular oral medication, fluconazole, may be partially effective in treating a vaginal yeast infection, but as resistance develops over time the dose must be increased or one must switch to another medication. Many women, concerned by possible adverse effects of the medications prefer natural cures over the use of drugs.

    Garlic and Kyolic Aged Garlic Extract
    Garlic contains compounds with antifungal activity but many shun the fresh bulb, because of the pungent garlic odor that lingers on the skin and breath, compromising social activities and the potential of adverse gastric effects. The solution, as many sufferers of C. albicans have found out, can be a daily consumption of the odorless garlic preparation, Kyolic Aged Garlic Extract (AGE) that has antifungal compound and in addition enhances immunity.

    Kyolic AGE is made by the Wakunaga of America, by a slow extraction and aging process, at room temperature; it contains largely water soluble compounds, such as S-allyl cysteine and S-allyl mercaptocysteine, as well as lipid soluble organosulfur compounds, such as Diallyl disulfide (DADS) and other beneficial compounds.

    AGE is the most popular garlic supplement; it is rich in antioxidants, that help increase the power of the immune system; it has high bioavailability and its manufacturing is regulated by dependable quality control; AGE, standardized by the water soluble organosulfur compound, S-allyl cysteine, has a wide range of health effects that often surpass those of fresh garlic. Being odorless, its consumption does not have the potential anti-social drawbacks or gastrointestinal adverse effects that accompany the eating of large amounts of fresh garlic.

    Garlic Extract Compounds as Therapeutic as Anti-Candida Agents
    Over the last few years preclinical experiments have supported the action of garlic compounds as therapeutic agents against Candida infections, as the ubiquitous opportunistic pathogen C. albicans was found to be sensitive to garlic. AGE, contains compounds called saponins, with a particular saponin Eruboside B found by Matsuura et al, to be an antifungal agent that is active against C. albicans. Another compound contained in AGE, DADS, has also been shown in several studies to act as antifungal agent and inhibit the growth of C. albicans. The mechanism of action is complex; the organosulfur DADS kills the Candida yeast by decreasing respiration and suppressing the activity of protective enzymes and other molecules that are critical for the viability of Candida albicans.

    Inhibition of the Virulent, Invasive Form of Candida
    In order to transform from a single infectious cell to the virulent and invasive form, C. albicans must form filaments (hyphae), a process that is largely controlled by a gene called SIR2. A series of studies undertaken by Low et al, at the University of Putra, Malaysia, investigated the effect of a garlic extract on the transformation of C. albicans to its virulent invasive form. The investigators found that growing Candida cells in the presence of garlic extract prevented the transformation of the yeast to its hyphal, invasive form. They also found that by increasing concentration of the garlic extract there was a one and a half to two and a half fold decrease in the expression of the SIR2 gene that regulates the formation of the filaments. The investigators concluded that it is unlikely that C. albicans would develop a resistance to the garlic compounds; therefore, the anti-Candida effects of the garlic extract, in preventing transformation of Candida to its virulent pathogenic form may provide an important alternative route to treatment with antifungal medications.

    Summing Up
    Of all the kinds of infections caused by C. albicans, vaginitis is considered one of the most disturbing to women. Vaginal yeast infections occur when new yeast is introduced into the vaginal area, or when there is an increased quantity of yeast already present in the vagina, relative to the number of normally residing protective bacteria. Such imbalance occurs, for example, when beneficial, protective bacteria are destroyed by antibiotics that are taken to treat infections of the urinary and respiratory tracts, or some other types of infection. Other cases that increase risk of vaginitis are in the use of immune-suppressive drugs, as Candida cells can multiply, invade tissues, and cause irritation of the lining of the vagina.

    Women with suppressed immune systems, for example after taking cortisone-related medications such as prednisone, develop vaginal yeast infections more frequently than women with normal immunity. Additional conditions that may predispose women to developing vaginal yeast infections include oral contraceptives, pregnancy and the use of douches or perfumed vaginal hygiene sprays.

    Treatment with antifungal medications can be effective but Candida albicans develops resistance. One of the most promising treatments that rely on natural ingredients is garlic and the odor free Aged Garlic Extract (Kyolic AGE) that contain antifungal components. In addition, AGE has been shown to increase immunity, helping the body fight the Candida infections.

    Though clinical trial will prove the efficacy of garlic in eradicating Candida and curing vaginitis, experimental studies show that exposing Candida cells to a variety of garlic compounds present in AGE prevents Candida from developing into the virulent invasive form that can lead to systemic infections, strongly suggesting that AGE, the odorless form of garlic may be a powerful remedy against infections by Candida albicans.

    References:
    1. Low CF, Chong PP, Yong PV, Lim CS, Ahmad Z, Othman F. Inhibition of hyphae formation and SIR2 expression in Candida albicans treated with fresh Allium sativum (garlic) extract. Appl Microbiol. 2008;105:2169–77.
    2. Lanzotti V, Barile E, Antignani V, Bonanomi G, Scala F. Antifungal saponins from bulbs of garlic, Allium sativum. Phytochemistry. 2012; 78:126–34.
    3. Kyo E, Uda N, Kasuga S, Itakura Y. Immunomodulatory effects of aged garlic extract. J. Nutr2001;131:1075S-9S. Review.
    4. Matsuura H, .Ushuroguchi T. Itakura Y., Hayashi Y and Fuwa T. Chem Pharm Bull. 1988; 36: 3659–63.
    5. Yousuf S, Ahmad A, Khan A, Manzoor N, Khan LA. Effect of garlic-derived allyl sulphides on morphogenesis and hydrolytic enzyme secretion in Candida albicans. Med Mycol. 2011;49:444–8.