The C.A.M. Report
Complementary and Alternative Medicine: Fair, Balanced, and to the Point
  • About this web log

    This blog ran from 2006 to 2016 and was intended as an objective and dispassionate source of information on the latest CAM research. Since my background is in pharmacy and allopathic medicine, I view all CAM as advancing through the development pipeline to eventually become integrated into mainstream medical practice. Some will succeed while others fail. But all are treated fairly here.

  • About the author

    John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at, a complementary and alternative medicine website.

  • Common sense considerations

    The material on this weblog is for informational purposes. It is not medical advice or counsel. Be smart, consult your health professional before using CAM.

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    Garlic and the risk of cardiovascular disease

     Researchers from Hospital Universitario del Río Hortega, in Valladolid, Spain sum up the benefits.

    Now, the hard work must begin.

    First, the details.

    • The authors reviewed the evidence for the effect of garlic on cardiovascular risk factors, including the influence on cholesterol levels, vascular endothelium (cells that line blood vessels), and platelet aggregation (as a prelude to clotting).

    And, the results.

    • Taking 5 grams of raw garlic twice per day for 42 days decreases cholesterol and triglyceride blood levels.
    • However, almost all studies on cholesterol have been conducted in animals.
    • Also in animal models (dogs and rats), there’s a dose dependent blood pressure lowering effect.
    • Garlic consumption is associated with fibrinolysis (dissolving blood clots) and a decreased tendency for blood to clot.
    • Garlic alcoholic extract is a potent inhibitor of platelet aggregation — again, a reduced tendency for making blood clots.

    The bottom line?
    The effects of garlic on cardiovascular risk are important.

    “However,” concluded the authors, “it is necessary to demonstrate a decrease on cardiovascular events and to elucidate the amount of garlic [needed] to obtain beneficial effects.”

    In other words, we need studies that document health benefits in people, and the doses needed to realize those benefits — not just changes in laboratory numbers.

    Actually, the evidence that taking garlic will change laboratory numbers is controversial, as discussed here.

    7/8/09 17:03 JR

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