Is aged garlic the answer to obesity?

Chronic inflammation is a widespread problem. But there’s one group that’s more inflamed than any other — people who are overweight or obese.

When you put on extra weight, it triggers a cascade of inflammatory reactions in your body. Eating excess calories stresses out the body parts in charge of your metabolic health, like your fat tissue, liver, muscle, pancreas and brain. As a result, these cells and tissues become inflamed.

There’s even a name for the inflammation that occurs when you give your body more calories than your metabolic system can handle — metainflammation.

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Of course, inflammation isn’t just caused by overdoing the calories. It’s also caused by getting your calories from the wrong places. Certain foods drive inflammation, like trans-fats, sugar and refined carbs. When you eat too much of these, you cause oxidative stress. And unless you counteract that oxidative stress with a heaping dose of antioxidants, it’s going to trigger an inflammatory reaction.

But if you lose weight, you should be able to crush chronic inflammation too, right?

Unfortunately, it’s not that simple. Inflammation and obesity create a vicious cycle…

Once your body is inflamed, it’s much harder to break free from excess weight. There are a lot of reasons inflammation hampers weight loss, but mostly it’s due to a hunger hormone called leptin. Leptin tells your brain when your body is full. But inflammation makes you more resistant to this hunger-suppressing hormone, so your brain isn’t receiving that important “I’m full” message.

The moral of the story? If you can tackle inflammation, you have a much better chance of turning your weight and health around. And that’s where aged garlic extract comes in…

Aged garlic extract eases inflammation

The latest study from researchers at the University of Florida shows that aged garlic extract could curb inflammation in people with obesity.

Their study included 51 obese people. Researchers had half of these people take aged garlic extract for six weeks, while the other half took a placebo. When six weeks was up, the people who took aged garlic extract received impressive benefits…

Researchers noticed a significant difference in two markers for chronic inflammation (serum IL-6 and TNF-α) in people who took the aged garlic extract. In fact, the supplement seemed to suppress their chronic inflammation without any other changes to their diet or exercise habits. People who took aged garlic extract also had less LDL (bad) cholesterol in their blood than people who didn’t take it.

So all this has researchers wondering…could aged garlic extract help people break free from the chains of inflammation and obesity?

That’s a big question to answer. But they think it’s possible. They think it could prevent some of the diseases associated with chronic inflammation and obesity too, like heart disease.

Related: Black garlic—Odor-free cancer fighter

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Understanding aged garlic’s benefits

In case you’re wondering what aged garlic extract is, let me explain…

Aged garlic is garlic that’s been stored in ethanol solution for as long as 20 months. Why choose aged garlic over fresh garlic?

Well, aging garlic gets rid of the unpleasant odor. And if you’ve ever taken unaged garlic pills, you know that even in supplement form, the smell and taste of garlic can come back to haunt you.

Besides being a powerful inflammation-fighter, aged garlic is also a proven immune-booster. In fact, studies in 2012 and 2016 showed that aged garlic extract eases cold and flu symptoms and enhances immune response.

Aged garlic extract is a safe supplement to add to your daily routine right away. In this recent study, people took 3.6 grams of aged garlic extract, split up into two daily doses. You can do the same if you want to conquer the chronic inflammation that’s keeping you tethered to excess weight and poor health.

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Sources:

  1. Aged garlic extract may help obese adults combat inflammation, study suggests — MedicalXpress. Retrieved January 17, 2018.
  2. Xu, et al. “Aged garlic extract supplementation modifies inflammation and immunity of adults with obesity: A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial.” — Clinical Nutrition ESPEN, 2017.
  3. F. Gregor, G.S. Hotamisligil. “Inflammatory mechanisms in obesity.” — Annual Review of Immunology. 2011;29:415-45.
  4. Monteiro, I. Azevedo. “Chronic Inflammation in Obesity and the Metabolic Syndrome.” — Mediators of Inflammation. 2010; 2010: 289645.
  5. Emanuela, et al. “Inflammation as a Link between Obesity and Metabolic Syndrome.” — Journal of Nutrition and Metabolism, 2012.
  6. Iikuni, et al. “Leptin and Inflammation.” — Current Immunology Reviews. 2008 May 1; 4(2): 70–79.

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Jenny Smiechowski

By Jenny Smiechowski

Jenny Smiechowski is a Chicago-based freelance writer who specializes in health, nutrition and the environment. Her work has appeared in online and print publications like Chicagoland Gardening magazine, Organic Lifestyle Magazine, BetterLife Magazine, TheFix.com, Hybridcars.com and Seedstock.com.