Pharmactive Biotech Products SLU’s aged black garlic (ABG10+) significantly reduced blood pressure in patients with stage 1 hypertension, according to a study published in Nutrients.

Aged black garlic is a whole raw garlic bulb (Allium sativum L) that has been aged under controlled temperatures for a certain period of time. Pharmactive’s proprietary aging process potentiates the accumulation of garlic’s bioactive complex of antioxidant compounds, including polyphenols, flavonoids, and melanoidins—particularly S-allyl cysteine (SAC).

The study was a randomized, triple-blind controlled trial conducted at the Hospital Universitari Arnau de Vilanova (Lleida, Spain) and in collaboration with the Atherothrombotic Disease Detection and Treatment Unit. The study involved 81 volunteers with stage 1 hypertension and who were already on blood pressure-reducing medication.

Over 12 weeks, the subjects received 250mg of ABG10+ daily, which provided 0.25mg of SAC, or a placebo. No changes were made to diet or lifestyle, and the subjects were instructed to continue taking their blood pressure medication. Blood pressure measurements were recorded daily at home by the participants as well as at baseline and at the end of the study by specialists.

The addition of ABG+ supplementation helped better control blood pressure levels, with reductions observed in both systolic and diastolic blood pressure of 1.8 mmHg and 1.5 mmHg, respectively.

Moreover, it was observed via blood serum tests that ABG10+ supplementation may boost the release of nitric oxide and increase the body’s antioxidant capacity. Angiotensin converting enzyme activity seemed to be reduced, and lower blood uric acid levels also were observed.

“These secondary parameters help us gain an understanding of the likely mechanism behind ABG10+’s effect on blood pressure,” says Alberto Espinel, open innovation director at Pharmactive, in a release. “Nitric oxide is a natural vasorelaxant produced in the body to maintain cardiovascular function, improving blood pressure, and increasing blood flow. Nitric oxide also is a cellular antioxidant and thus helps mitigate oxidative stress and its associated negative effects on blood vessels and the cardiovascular system. Reducing the angiotensin converting enzyme activity is a key strategy to decrease blood pressure in hypertensive patients.”

The majority of the volunteers enrolled in the study had a medical history of high blood pressure spanning 15 years on average. Despite adhering to their prescribed pharmacological routine, they were still unable to maintain blood pressure levels within a normal range. 

“This study suggests that incorporating food bioactives such as aged black garlic extract into the treatment regimen could serve as a valuable complement to conventional drug therapy and could contribute to reduced cardiovascular risk,” Espinel adds in the release. “Such intervention could be especially beneficial for the management of arterial high blood pressure in persons experiencing resistance to drug therapy—all without inducing side effects.”

Research has demonstrated that even modest reductions in blood pressure can lead to meaningful gains in the prevention of such incidents. For example, a reduction of 2mm Hg in systolic blood pressure can reduce the risk of stroke by 10% in middle age.

The new study followed favorable outcomes of a 2022 clinical trial involving ABG+, where participants with moderately elevated cholesterol levels achieved significant reduction in diastolic blood pressure (5.85 mmHg on average) compared to placebo.

“As garlic ages, its fresh compounds like allicin and sulphur undergo chemical changes, forming new compounds, including SAC and melanoidins,” says Carlos Rodríguez, communication manager at Pharmactive, in a release. “These compounds create the special flavor, aroma, and color of aged black garlic which is why it is a culinary favorite of chefs. Yet these same bioactive compounds are believed to possess powerful antioxidant and support cardio health.”

Pharmactive’s ABG10+ extract is derived from garlic grown and cultivated in Castilla la Mancha, two hours away from the company’s facility in Madrid, and gently processed using green technology, without the use of solvents, or chemicals. The ingredient can readily be incorporated into supplements as well as functional foods.

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