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  IN THIS Article
 ::  Abstract
 ::  Introduction
 ::  Material and method
 ::  Results
 ::  Discussion
 ::  References

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Year : 1991  |  Volume : 37  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 128-31

Effect of ingestion of raw garlic on serum cholesterol level, clotting time and fibrinolytic activity in normal subjects.

Department of Physiology, L. T. M. Medical College, Sion, Bombay, Maharashtra.

Correspondence Address:
Department of Physiology, L. T. M. Medical College, Sion, Bombay, Maharashtra.

  ::  Abstract

The effect of raw garlic on serum cholesterol, fibrinolytic activity and clotting time was studied in 50 medical students of the age group of 17 to 22 years before and after feeding raw garlic. All pre-experimental values ranged within normal limits. The volunteers were then divided into experimental and control groups. The subjects of the experimental group were given 10 gm of raw garlic daily after breakfast for two months. Fasting blood samples of all the subjects were investigated after two months. In the control group, there was no significant change in any of the above parameters. In the experimental group, there was a significant decrease in serum cholesterol and an increase in clotting time and fibrinolytic activity. Hence, garlic may be an useful agent in prevention of thromboembolic phenomenon.

How to cite this article:
Gadkari J V, Joshi V D. Effect of ingestion of raw garlic on serum cholesterol level, clotting time and fibrinolytic activity in normal subjects. J Postgrad Med 1991;37:128

How to cite this URL:
Gadkari J V, Joshi V D. Effect of ingestion of raw garlic on serum cholesterol level, clotting time and fibrinolytic activity in normal subjects. J Postgrad Med [serial online] 1991 [cited 2023 May 30];37:128. Available from:

  ::   Introduction Top

Patients with coronary artery disease have defective fibrinolytic activity[9],[10],[14] increased serum cholesterol[10],[15] and decreased clotting time[14] than normal subjects. Patients with increased cholesterol have higher mortality from coronary artery disease[15]. Cholesterol and fibrinolytic activity are inversely related in all age groups[14]. Deposition of fibrin on the vessel walls promotes atherosclerosis. So, in creased attention is paid to the mechanisms controlling fibrinolysis. Efforts were made to isolate a substance, which could be taken in daily diet. Garlic has been reported to minimise the adverse effects of high fat diet[3]. In cases of myocardial infarction, garlic increase fibrinolytic activity[2]. Bordia and Verma[5] as well as Jain[13], have shown the reversibility of cholesterol-induced experimental atherosclerosis in rabbits, by garlic.
Hypocholesterolaemic effect of garlic in normal subjects is studied by Bhushan et al[7]. But the effect of long term ingestion of raw garlic in normal human beings on serum cholesterol, fibrinolytic activity and clotting time, which are the important factors in pathogenesis of thromboembolic phenomenon has not been studied so far. Hence, the present study was undertaken.

  ::   Material and method Top

The present study was carried out on 50 healthy medical students (age range: 17-22 years), who had never ingested garlic before, as revealed from their history. They were divided in two groups. Thirty students formed the experimental group and twenty, a control group.
The fasting blood samples were collected from each subject. Clotting time was estimated by capillary method[17], serum cholesterol by single reagent method of Zurkowski[23], and fibrinolytic activity by euglobulin clot lysis time[8]. The subjects of the experimental group were given 10 g of raw garlic daily, after breakfast, for two months. At the end of this period, the fasting samples were again collected and the above parameters were re-evaluated.

  ::   Results Top

There was no gain or loss in weight in any volunteer during the study period. The results of various biochemical parameters studied are depicted in [Table - 1].
There was no significant change in serum cholesterol, fibrinolytic activity or clotting time in the control group, whereas, in the experimental group, ingestion of raw garlic for two months brought about a significant decrease in serum cholesterol, an increase in fibrinolytic activity and an increase in the clotting time.

  ::   Discussion Top

Bordia and associates[2],[4] have shown that garlic has a protective action against fat induced increase in serum cholesterol, decrease in fibrinolytic activity and increase in clotting time in patients with myocardial infarction and coronary artery disease. It is also suggested that garlic could be useful in preventing alimentary hyperlipaemia in persons without any signs of atherosclerosis but are predisposed by diabetes, hypertension etc[3]. Garlic was also found useful in stress induced myocardial damage[21]. It has been shown to reverse experimental atherosclerosis in rabbits[5],[12]. Normally, fibrinolysis occurring in the body maintains the fluidity of the circulating blood by dissolving and removing deposits of fibrin[1],[10]. Perhaps an important function of fibrinolysis is to remove very minute clots from tiny peripheral vessels that eventually would become occluded were there no way to cleanse them[11]. Defects in coagulation and fibrinolytic activity are main factors for the development of thrombus. Garlic, when used continuously produces constant lytic activity[4], probably due to decrease in cholesterol and an increase in the plasminogen activity[18].
Fibrinolysis of fibrin, releases fibrin degradation products which have anticoagulant activity. Increased plasmin may lower factor V, VIII, IX and can cause increase in clotting time[16]. The commonly used thrombolytic agents like streptokinase and urokinase are expensive, antigenic, effective only on parenteral use and cannot be used for a long time. These drawbacks are absent with garlic therapy.
Among the host factors identified for coronary artery disease, lipids are of utmost importance. Risk of coronary artery disease is proportional to the antecedent, cholesterol level. Subjects with high cholesterol level have been found to have a history of coronary artery disease and died of it[15]. Garlic probably helps to prevent lipid implantation on the arterial wall[5]. Jain[12],[13] suggested that garlic may act by increasing the excretion of cholesterol end products and by affecting its synthesis in the liver. It may be lipotropic[18]. Garlic also prevents fall of alpha lipoprotein which is non-atherogenic and transfers cholesterol from the periphery to the liver[6]. Excretion of bile acids increases significantly after garlic ingestion and excretion of sterols is seen in feces[13]. These compounds are known to affect cholesterol and garlic also contains these compounds[18]. They react with cysteine present in the animal body, either free or as a part of tissue proteins or enzymes, and possibly bring about some quantitative changes in glycogen, lipid and proteins. Another possible action is oxidation of NADPH, which is necessary for lipid synthesis. The type of unsaturated disulphides and their oxides present in garlic could oxidise NADPH and prevent lipid synthesis[22].
Bhushan and his associates[7] suggested that garlic eaters may have lower cholesterol levels than non-caters. Sainani et al[19],[20] have shown higher levels of cholesterol, beta lipoproteins, fibrinogen and shorter clotting time and low lytic activity in 'Jain' community which does not eat garlic. The active principle of garlic is an essential oil which is a combination of sulphur containing compounds. It contains diallyldisulphide and allylpropyldisulphide[3].
In the present study, we found that ingestion of raw garlic for two months had brought about decrease in serum cholesterol and increase in fibrinolytic activity and increase in clotting time in normal individuals. No side effect was noted with garlic. In addition, it is cheap and can be taken orally. So, daily use of simple dietary substance like garlic may be useful for prevention of thromboembolic phenomenon.

  ::   References Top

1. Astrupt T. The biological significance of fibrinolysis Lancet 1956; 2:565-568.  Back to cited text no. 1    
2.Bordia A, Joshi HK. Garlic on fibrinolytic activity in cases of acute myocardial infarction (Part II) J Assoc Phys Ind 1978; 26:323-326.  Back to cited text no. 2    
3.Bardia A, Bansal HC, Arora SK, Rathore AS, Ranawat RVS, Singh SV, et al. Effect of the essential oil (active principle) of garlic on serum cholesterol, plasma fibrinogen, whole blood coagulation time and fibrinolytic activity in alimentary lipaemia. J Assoc Phys Ind 1974; 22:267-270.  Back to cited text no. 3    
4.Bordia A, Sanadhya SK, Rathore AS, Bitu N. Essential oil of garlic on blood lipids and fibrinolytic activity in patients of coronary artery disease (Part 1). J Assoc Phys Ind 1978; 26:327-331.  Back to cited text no. 4    
5.Bordia A, Varma SK. Garlic on the reversibility of experimental atheroscierosis. Ind Heart J 1978; 30:47-50.  Back to cited text no. 5    
6.Bordia A, Varma SK, Khabia BL, Vyas A, Rathore AS, Bhu N, Bedi HK. The effect of active principle of garlic and onion on blood lipids and experimental atheroselerosis in rabbits and their comparison with clofibrate. J Assoc Phys Ind 1977; 25:509-516.  Back to cited text no. 6    
7.Bhushan S, Sharma SP, Singh SP, Agrawal S, Indrayan A, Seth P, et al. Effect of garlic on normal blood cholesterol level. Ind J Physiol and Pharmacol 1979; 23:211-214.  Back to cited text no. 7    
8.Chakrabarti R, Bielawiec M, Evans JF, Fearnley GR. Methodological study and recommended technique for determining the euglbulin lysis time. J Clin Pathol 1968; 21:698-701.  Back to cited text no. 8    
9.Chakrabarti R, Hocking ED, Fearnley GR, Mann RD, Attwell TN, Jackson D, et al. Fibrinolytic activity and coronary artery disease. Lancet 1968; 1:987-990.  Back to cited text no. 9    
10.Gupta KK. Cholesterol, platelets adhesiveness and fibrinolytic activity in ischemic heart disease. J Assoc Physic Ind 1969; 17:323-331.  Back to cited text no. 10    
11.Guyton AC. In: "Textbook of Medical Physiology." 5th edt. Philadelphia: WB Saunders Co; Tokyo: Igaku Shoin Ltd; 1976, pp 107.  Back to cited text no. 11    
12.Jain RC. Effect of alcoholic extract of garlic in atherosclerosis. Amer. J. Clim Nutr., 31: 1982-1983, 1978.  Back to cited text no. 12    
13.Jain RC. Onion and garlic in experimental cholesterol induced atherosclerosis. Ind J Medical Res 1976; 64: 1508-1515.  Back to cited text no. 13    
14.James DCO, Drysdale I, Billimoria JD, Wheatley D, Gavey CJ, Maciagan NF, et al. Lipaemia and blood coagulation defects in relation to ischaemic heart disease. Lancet 1961; 2:798-802.  Back to cited text no. 14    
15.Kannel WB, William PC, Gorden T, McNamara PM. Serum cholesterol and lipoproteins and the risk of coronary heart disease. Ann Int Med 1971; 74:1-12.  Back to cited text no. 15    
16.Kwann H. Disorders of fibrinolysis. Med Clin North Amer 1972; 56:163-173.  Back to cited text no. 16    
17.Monkhouse FC, Mactnillan RL. The coagulation (clotting) of blood. In: "The Physiological Basis of Medical Practice." CR Best, NB Taylor, editors. 8th edition. Baltimore: The Williams and Wilkins Co; 1966, pp 588-593.  Back to cited text no. 17    
18.Sainani GS, Desai DB, Natu SM, Katrodia KM, Sainani PG, Valame VP, et al. Onion, garlic and experimental atheroselerosis. Jap Heart J 1979; 20:351-357.  Back to cited text no. 18    
19.Sainani GS, Desai DB, Gorhe NH, Natu SM, Pise DV, Sainani PG. Dietary garlic, onion and coagulation parameters in Jain community. J Assoc Physic Ind 1979; 27:707-712.  Back to cited text no. 19    
20.Sainani GS, Desai DB, Gorhe NH, Natu SM, Pise DV, Sainani PG. Effect of dietary garlic and onion on serum lipid profile in Jain community. Ind J Med Res 1979; 69:776-780.  Back to cited text no. 20    
21.Saxena KK, Gupta B, Kulshrestha VK, Shrivastava RK, Prasad DN. Garlic in stress induced myocardial damage. Ind Heart J 1979; 31:187-188.  Back to cited text no. 21    
22.Zacharias NT, Sebastian KL, Philip B, Augusti KT. Hypoglycaemic and hypolipidaemic effects of garlic in sucrose fed rabbits. Ind J Physiol Pharmacol 1980; 24:151-154.  Back to cited text no. 22    
23.Zurkowski P. A rapid method for cholesterol determination with a single reagent. Clin Chem 1964; 10:451-453.   Back to cited text no. 23    

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2004 - Journal of Postgraduate Medicine
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