The Extraordinary Heart Health Benefits of Aged Garlic Extract—An Interview with Dr. Matthew Budoff
Dr. Matthew Budoff is a fellow of the
American College of Cardiology
and the American Heart Association,
the president of the Society of Cardiovascular
Computed Tomography, the
principal investigator at the Los Angeles
Biomedical Research Institute at Harbor-
UCLA Medical Center and the author
of more than 300 articles and four
textbooks. This month, he shares some
of the extraordinary research being conducted
on aged garlic extract and heart
Heart disease is one of the leading causes of
death in the United States. What are the main
I think it is a combination of predisposition and lifestyle,
especially in United States where we don’t
have the best balanced diet and we don’t exercise
What are the main ways to maintain a healthy
I like to use the ABCs of heart disease prevention.
Blood pressure control
Fish and fish oil
How can nutritional supplements support heart
health? How does aged garlic extract (AGE)
factor into the equation?
I think we have excellent data that fish oil and
garlic have multiple therapeutic uses. Garlic
therapy shows reduction in cholesterol, reduction
in blood pressure and increased blood vessel
You were the lead author on a recent study on
aged garlic extract and its ability to reduce epicardial
adipose tissue (EAT). What is EAT? And
what were the results of the study?
This study looked at fatty buildup around the heart.
We know that fat comes with the very specific problem
of being metabolically active. In other words,
it causes atherosclerosis and inflammation, which
can lead to heart attack. Showing that you can reduce
the fat around the heart would therefore be
very beneficial. We found that AGE reduces fatty
buildup around the heart.
You also conducted a study on firefighters with
established risk factors for heart disease. What
were your findings?
We just published a new study on firefighters.
These firefighters had abnormal exercise results or
plaque buildups. We followed them for a year on
AGE or placebo. The study shows that AGE slows
the progression of plaque that can lead to heart
disease. Blood pressure and stress factors get better
How do you measure the results of the studies?
We look at changes in plaque and see if the garlic
group has less plaque than the placebo group. So
far, each study has demonstrated significant benefit
with aged garlic extract in different formulations.
How do these findings apply to the general
These were otherwise healthy adults who had
plaque buildup, which describes the general population
of the United States.
AGE can help those who already have risk factors
for heart disease. Can it also be taken as a
Yes. Most patients in the firefighter study were
treated preventively for plaque buildup rather than
established heart disease.
Why should we supplement with AGE when we
can just eat garlic?
The problem with garlic therapy is that it is very dependent
on how you prepare it and the quantity of
the garlic you eat. There is also a lot we don’t know
yet; for example, we think that the odor is associated
in part with the toxins. We don’t know what the
oxidative stresses are or how it should be prepared.AGE is more purified, and you know exactly
how much you are getting. It is easier to balance. It
is harder to quantify garlic for people. Are you eating
a clove or a gram, etc.,? When we do research
with AGE, we have a consistent amount.
How does garlic create these cardiovascular
changes? In other words, what mechanisms
are at work?
No one understands the exact active compounds in
garlic. That is why it has not been purified and sold
as a drug by major pharmaceutical companies.
What compelled you to conduct research on
A colleague told me that there were a lot of—hundreds if not
thousands—published AGE studies that were in the
cardiovascular arena. It was the enormous amount
of established data that drew me in.
What other health issues might be helped by
There has been research related to blood pressure,
as I mentioned before, and there has been research
related to cancer. AGE and antioxidants can help
with early cancer prevention. There is some evidence
for increased brain function as well.
Do you have more AGE studies planned in the
We just started a fourth study on AGE and its effects
on carotid plaque, the plaque that can travel
to the brain. We will also look on soft plaque in coronary
Can you talk a little more about the upcoming
We are enrolling patients with the metabolic syndrome
(prediabetes) and doing noninvasive angiography
(looking for soft plaque) and carotid
ultrasound (looking for plaque in the neck) and following
them for one year to see if aged garlic extract
improves soft plaque and carotid plaque.
How early should one think about supplementing
with AGE? How much should one supplement
I have been using 1,200 mg a day in the studies,
so that is the dose I generally recommend. People
with risk factors (cholesterol, hypertension, diabetes
and family history of heart disease) would benefit the
most—those are the people at risk of heart disease.