Background: Garlic (Allium Sativum) has been used in herbal medicine for centuries for various ailments. In recent years garlic has been the focus of serious medical and clinical attention because of beneficial effects on several cardiovascular risk factors like reduction of serum lipids, blood pressure and plasma viscosity. There is also wide spread belief among general public that garlic has beneficial effects on cardiovascular system. The purpose of present study was to evaluate the effects of garlic on one of the major cardiovascular risk factors i.e. dyslipidemia in patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus.
Method: This 12 week randomized, single-blind, placebo controlled study was conducted on Type 2 diabetic patients with newly diagnosed dyslipidemia (n=70). Patients were selected from Diabetic OPD of Jinnah Post Graduate Medical Centre, Karachi and were divided into two groups each comprising of 35 patients, they were given tablet garlic (Garlex-Bosch Pharmaceuticals) 300 mg (containing 1.3 % allicin) twice daily and identical placebo tablets respectively. Both groups were given diet and exercise plan.
Results: After 12 weeks the garlic treated group (n = 33) had a significant reduction in total cholesterol (-28 mg/dl, - 12.03 % P= <0.001), LDL - C (-30 mg/dl, - 17.99 % P=<0.001) while the placebo treated group ( n=32) had a non significant decrease in total cholesterol (- 2 mg/dl, - 0.9 % p= ns) and LDL-C (-3 mg/dl, -1.6 % p=ns). HDL cholesterol was significantly increased in patients treated with garlic (3.35 mg/dl, 8.81% P= <0.05) compared with placebo group (0.62, 1.6% P= n.s) but there was no significant difference in triglyceride was observed between two groups.
Conclusion: This study suggests possible small short term benefits of garlic on dyslipidemia in type 2 diabetic patients. Garlic significantly reduced serum total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol and moderately raised HDL cholesterol as compared to placebo. Controlled Clinical Trials of longer duration are needed to assess the long term benefit of garlic on vascular and circulatory disease processes.