Neuroprotective Effects of Garlic: A review
Garlic has been investigated extensively for health benefits, resulting in more than one thousand publications over the last decade alone. It is considered one of the best disease preventive foods, based on its potent and varied effects. Midlife risk factors for cardiovascular diseases, such as high serum total cholesterol, raised LDL, increased LDL oxidation, increased platelet aggregation, impaired fibrinolysis, hypertension and homocystinemia are important risk factors for dementia in later years. These risk factors play a major role in the genesis of atherosclerosis of vital arteries causing both cardiovascular and cerebrovascular disease. Garlic is best known for its lipid lowering and anti-atherogenic effects. Possible mechanisms of action include inhibition of the hepatic activities of lipogenic and cholesterogenic enzymes that are thought to be the genesis for dyslipidemias, increased excretion of cholesterol and suppression of LDL-oxidation. Oxidative stress caused by increased accumulation of reactive oxygen species (ROS) in cells has been implicated in the pathophysiology of several neurodegenerative diseases including Alzheimer\'s disease (AD). Several studies have demonstrated the antioxidant properties of garlic and its different preparations including Aged Garlic Extract (AGE). AGE and S-allyl-cysteines (SAC), a bioactive and bioavailable component in garlic preparations have been shown in a number of in vitro studies to protect neuronal cells against beta-amyloid (A ) toxicity and apoptosis. Thus the broad range of anti-atherogenic, antioxidant and anti-apoptotic protection afforded by garlic may be extended to its neuroprotective action, helping to reduce the risk of dementia, including vascular dementia and AD.