Garlic-Derived Organic Polysulfides and Myocardial Protection

J Nutr. 2016 Feb;146(2):403S-409S. doi: 10.3945/jn.114.208066. Epub 2016 Jan 13.


For centuries, garlic has been shown to exert substantial medicinal effects and is considered to be one of the best disease-preventative foods. Diet is important in the maintenance of health and prevention of many diseases including cardiovascular disease (CVD). Preclinical and clinical evidence has shown that garlic reduces risks associated with CVD by lowering cholesterol, inhibiting platelet aggregation, and lowering blood pressure. In recent years, emerging evidence has shown that hydrogen sulfide (H2S) has cardioprotective and cytoprotective properties. The active metabolite in garlic, allicin, is readily degraded into organic diallyl polysulfides that are potent H2S donors in the presence of thiols. Preclinical studies have shown that enhancement of endogenous H2S has an impact on vascular reactivity. In CVD models, the administration of H2S prevents myocardial injury and dysfunction. It is hypothesized that these beneficial effects of garlic may be mediated by H2S-dependent mechanisms. This review evaluates the current knowledge concerning the cardioprotective effects of garlic-derived diallyl polysulfides.

Keywords: acute myocardial infarction; cardioprotection; heart failure; hydrogen sulfide; nitric oxide.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cardiovascular Agents / pharmacology
  • Cardiovascular Agents / therapeutic use
  • Garlic / chemistry*
  • Heart / drug effects*
  • Humans
  • Hydrogen Sulfide / metabolism
  • Hydrogen Sulfide / pharmacology
  • Hydrogen Sulfide / therapeutic use*
  • Myocardium*
  • Phytotherapy*
  • Plant Extracts / pharmacology
  • Plant Extracts / therapeutic use*
  • Sulfides / pharmacology
  • Sulfides / therapeutic use
  • Sulfinic Acids / pharmacology
  • Sulfinic Acids / therapeutic use*


  • Cardiovascular Agents
  • Plant Extracts
  • Sulfides
  • Sulfinic Acids
  • allicin
  • polysulfide
  • Hydrogen Sulfide