Cholesterol Inhibitors In Garlic Identified

University Park, Pa. --- Penn State nutrition researchers have identified a group of chemicals in garlic that decreases cholesterol production by liver cells 40 to 60 percent in laboratory tests.

The study is among the first to pinpoint the specific garlic constituents that may be responsible for the cholesterol-lowering effects observed by researchers earlier in both animal and human feeding studies.

Dr. Yu-Yan Yeh, Penn State professor of nutrition, presented the findings today (Nov. 16) at a conference on "Recent Advances on the Nutritional Benefits Accompanying the Use of Garlic as a Supplement" at the Marriott Newport Center, Newport Beach, Calif.

The conference is a continuing and distance education service of the Penn State College of Health and Human Development Department of Nutrition in cooperation with Wakunaga of America Co. Ltd. The conference is supported by Wakunaga, National Cancer Institute and Rexall-Sundown, Inc.

Yeh's paper, "Allyl Sulfur Compounds of Garlic Inhibit Cholesterol Biosynthesis," was one of six offered in the session on Cardiovascular Benefits of Garlic. His co-author is Lijuan Liu, a doctoral candidate in nutrition at Penn State.

Yeh and Liu identified a group of three water soluble, sulfur-containing, garlic constituents (S-allyl cysteine, S-ethyl-cysteine and S-propyl cysteine) that decreased cholesterol production in cultured rat liver cells by 40 to 60 percent.

The Penn State scientist noted that he used fresh garlic extracts in his recent studies. Deodorized aged garlic extract consists mostly of the same water soluble, sulfur-containing chemicals, he said.

In Yeh's earlier feeding studies with rats, aged garlic extract reduced blood cholesterol by 15 percent. In the human studies, 34 men who took deodorized garlic capsules for five months showed a 7 percent drop in total blood cholesterol levels and a 12 percent drop in LDL or so-called "bad

Contact: Barbara Hale
Penn State

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