We investigated hypohomocysteinemic action as a cardiovascular protective property of aged garlic extract (AGE). Hyperhomocysteinemia was induced in rats by feeding folate-depleted diets. Plasma folate concentrations of 5, 24, and 202 nmol/L were detected in rats fed a folate-deficient L-amino acid diet containing succinyl sulfathiazole, an AIN-93G folate-deficient diet, and an AIN-93G folate-sufficient diet, respectively. Plasma concentrations of total homocysteine were elevated to the highest level (32 micromol/L) by severe folate deficiency and to a moderate level (9 micromol/L) by mild folate deficiency, compared with the lowest level of (5 micromol/L), noted for the folate-sufficient group. The addition of AGE to the severely folate-deficient diet decreased plasma total homocysteine concentration by 30%. Hyperhomocysteinemia caused by mild folate deficiency remained unaltered by AGE supplementation. The reduction in total homocysteine of the severely folate-deficient rats was accompanied by a proportional decrease in protein-bound and free homocysteine, resulting in an unchanged protein-bound:free homocysteine ratio. AGE added to the diet did not alter plasma concentrations of other aminothiol compounds: cysteine, glutathione, and cysteinylglycine. These data, together with increased S-adenosylmethionine and decreased S-adenosylhomocysteine concentrations in the liver, suggest that the hypohomocysteinemic effect of AGE most likely stems from impaired remethylation of homocysteine to methionine and enhanced transsulfuration of homocysteine to cystathionine. More importantly, in addition to its cholesterol-lowering potential, blood pressure-lowering effect, and antioxidant property, a hypohomocysteinemic action may be another important cardiovascular protective factor of AGE.