Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is a category of chronic noncommunicable diseases causing high global mortality and has been a heavy social burden in many countries. In the search of chemicals that arise from natural food source, allicin is one such ingredient from garlic that was discovered with the potential to provide beneficial effects to the cardiovascular system. From the pharmacokinetic studies, allicin is known to be hydrophobic and can be readily absorbed through the cell membrane without inducing any damage to the phospholipid bilayer and then rapidly metabolized to exert pharmacological effects that are important to the cardiovascular system. It was found to provide cardio-protective effects by inducing vasorelaxation and alleviating various pathological conditions of CVD, including cardiac hypertrophy, angiogenesis, platelet aggregation, hyperlipidemia and hyperglycemia. Allicin was also discovered to further protect the cardiovascular system by enhancing the antioxidant status by lowering the level of reactive oxygen species and stimulating the production of glutathione. Other pharmacological benefits such as anticancer and antimicrobial activities were also discussed. It is concluded that allicin can be potentially developed into a health product for the cardiovascular system.
Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.