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Saudi researchers perform the first direct comparison of garlic and the drug atenolol.
By Robby Gardner, associate editor
A clinical trial on people with hypertension suggests that garlic can lower blood pressure-perhaps as much as the drug atenolol.
Because conventional blood pressure therapies often require the use of more than one drug, Saudi researchers sought an alternative in garlic. The close relative to onion is repeatedly studied for blood pressure support, but results have been inconsistent-maybe because of short durations of studies.
For 24 weeks, more than 200 subjects with high blood pressure were assigned to consume garlic (300, 600, 900, 1200, or 1500 mg), atenolol, or placebo daily. Researchers monitored for changes in diastolic and systolic blood pressure, and, by week 24, blood pressure significantly improved with garlic use. Garlic supported improvements in a dose-dependent and duration-dependent manner, and it even reached improvements that were comparable to the drug use.
The researchers say this is the first study to directly compare garlic to atenolol in hypertensive subjects.
How garlic may influence blood pressure is unclear, but the researchers speculate it has to do with garlic’s ability to produce hydrogen sulphide, its high allicin content, or its influence on nitric oxide production.