New Study Shows Garlic’s Positive Impact on Cholesterol and Blood Sugar Levels

Love garlic? Here’s a good reason to include more of it in your diet: Eating garlic may help improve cholesterol and blood sugar levels, according to a large new meta-analysis published in the journal Nutrients.

The current analysis combined the results of 29 studies with a total of more than 1,500 participants. Investigators only included randomized controlled trials that compared garlic to a placebo control, which is the gold standard for any research design and means the meta-analysis is of high quality, says Alyssa Kwan, RD, a registered dietitian who works with people in the cardiovascular ICU and surgical units at Stanford Health Care in California.

A Large Body of Evidence Confirms the Benefits of Garlic

Overall, the results agree with what previous studies have shown: Garlic leads to some reduction in A1C levels and a small reduction in LDL (or “bad”) cholesterol, says Matthew Badgett, MD, an integrative health physician at Cleveland Clinic in Ohio, who were not involved in the study.

Hemoglobin A1C is a blood test that shows a person’s average blood sugar level over the past two to three months.

All of the studies that looked at A1C levels found a reduction in the group that took garlic, and the average reduction in LDL cholesterol across the studies was 8.2 points, says Dr. Badgett.

That’s a small benefit in lowering “bad” cholesterol, though many studies were probably too short to show garlic’s full benefit, he says.

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