Garlic powder tablets have been reported to lower serum cholesterol levels. There is widespread belief among the general public that garlic powder tablets aid in controlling cholesterol levels. However, much of the prior data demonstrating the cholesterol-lowering effect of garlic tablets involved studies that were inadequately controlled.
To determine the lipid-lowering effect of garlic powder tablets in patients with hypercholesterolemia.
This was a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, 12-week, parallel treatment study carried out in 2 outpatient lipid clinics. Entry into the study after 8 weeks of diet stabilization required a mean low-density lipoprotein cholesterol level on 2 visits of 4.1 mmol/L (160 mg/dL) or lower and a triglyceride level of 4.0 mmol/L (350 mg/dL) or lower. The active treatment arm received tablets containing 300 mg of garlic powder (Kwai) 3 times per day, given with meals (total, 900 mg/d). This is equivalent to approximately 2.7 g or approximately 1 clove of fresh garlic per day. The placebo arm received an identical-looking tablet, also given 3 times per day with meals. The main outcome measures included levels of total cholesterol, triglycerides, low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, and high-density lipoprotein cholesterol after 12 weeks of treatment.
Twenty-eight patients (43% male; mean ± SD age, 58 ± 14 years) received garlic powder treatment and 22 (68% male; mean ± SD age, 57 ± 13 years) received placebo treatment. There were no significant lipid or lipoprotein changes in either the placebo- or garlic-treated groups and no significant difference between changes in the placebo-treated group compared with changes in the garlic-treated patients.
Garlic powder (900 mg/d) treatment for 12 weeks was ineffective in lowering cholesterol levels in patients with hypercholesterolemia.