In a new clinical study of individuals with moderately elevated cholesterol levels, Pharmactive Biotech Products’s Aged Black Garlic (ABG+) demonstrated new potential to balance blood pressure favourably. ABG+ is grown and cultivated locally, just two hours from Pharmactive’s facility, and gently processed using green technology. The process generates very low waste and significantly reduces the environmental impact.
Positive study results
Published in the science journal Nutrients on 18 Jan 20221, the randomised, double-blind, sustained, crossover-controlled intervention was conducted at the Sant Joan de Reus University Hospital in Barcelona. The study was led by Dr Rosa Valls, author of more than 150 scientific papers and director of dozens of doctoral theses, and included 67 adult hypercholesterolemic volunteers with relatively high blood LDL levels. Each participant consumed 250mg ABG+ or a placebo over six weeks, with a three-week washout period before crossover. Subjects also were assigned a set diet that excluded lipo-lowering and anti-hypertensive foods.
Results at six weeks demonstrated that ABG+ extract significantly reduced diastolic blood pressure (DBP) by an average of 5.85mm Hg on average compared to the placebo. The favourable reaction was particularly evident in men.
“A reduction of just 5mm Hg of diastolic blood pressure lowers substantially the risk of stroke and other vascular events,” explained Alberto Espinel, head of R&D for Pharmactive.
High blood pressure affects nearly a third of adults worldwide and is the leading preventable risk factor for cardiovascular problems and all-cause mortality. The risks associated with common cardiovascular problems and stroke double with every 10mm Hg diastolic increase among people aged 40 to 89.
This is the first clinical study conducted on ABG+, spurred by the company’s encouraging results of two previous animal studies. Those trials demonstrated the ingredient’s cardioprotective role, as well as its ability to favourably balance blood lipids and enhance vascular function.
“Aged black garlic has long been regarded as a culinary delicacy and integral component of the Asian diet, as well as a tool to maintain health,” asserted Espinel. “Empirical evidence is unfolding on the beneficial effects of black garlic on cardiovascular health. However, the magnitude of its effect depends on the amount and type of chemical compounds accumulated during the aging process and the ability to extract and preserve those compounds during processing.”
This savoury ingredient is traditionally produced by aging whole bulbs of a selected Spanish species of fresh garlic at high humidity and temperatures for a minimum of 30 days. The garlic cloves turn dark and assume a soft, jellylike texture while losing the characteristic pungent garlic flavour as it turns sweet. During this process, the aged bulbs undergo substantial biochemical changes. The main organosulfur compounds in fresh garlic — alliin and allicin — are diminished. Yet the bioactivity of a complex of soluble polyphenols, predominantly SAC, flavonoids, and melanoidins, is significantly increased. The synergetic action of these antioxidants is believed to be the primary source of the cardioprotective qualities of ABG+.
Pharmactive’s ABG+ extract is standardised to1.25mg S-allyl-L-cysteine (SAC) polyphenols. It is produced using the company’s proprietary ABG Cool-Tech aging technique. Its rich concentration of SAC is confirmed by HPLC (high-performance liquid chromatography). This ingredient complies strictly with European ethical standards and was evaluated and approved before participant recruiting.
“SAC is virtually absent in fresh garlic, yet is synthesised and accumulated during ageing under specific ambient conditions,” explained Espinel. “The presence and concentration of active substances critically depend on the production process. Most commercial black garlic products on the market are intended just for their culinary properties and barely contain SAC. In other cases, SAC is produced in garlic by long industrial processes which included soaking the bulbs in organic solvents and the results are erronously labled as ‘aged garlic’. This compromises the content of bioactives and is the reason the available studies of black garlic extracts show contradictory results and health capabilities.
“This is some of the first evidence emerging on the blood pressure-balancing effect of an ABG+ extract, as a natural alternative, in a population where the strategies of intervention are based on diet and maintaining a healthy lifestyle,” continued Espinel. “Importantly, its positive effects were achieved following a simple protocol of consuming one ABG+ extract tablet daily.”
“Future clinical studies focusing on the blood pressure-managing capacity of our ABG+ extracts are in the pipeline,” added Julia Diaz, head of marketing for Pharmactive. “Lifestyle choices, including dietary protocols such as the DASH or Mediterranean diets, are the first line of treatment for delaying and preventing increases in blood pressure. ABG+ offers an additional potent — and flavourful — nutritive tool for helping to manage blood pressure, especially in people who have difficulty abiding by dietary restrictions.”
All ABG+ ingredients are water-soluble and can be used in multiple applications, including gummies, capsules, soft gels, syrups, and powders. ABG+ ingredients are ideal for functional foods and even gummies due to the absence of garlic’s characteristic odour and flavour.