Latest posts by Dr Navneet Goyal (see all)
Preventing Heart Attacks & Strokes with Garlic
Garlic has been known for preventing heart diseases and heart attacks, since ages. But, very few are aware of the fact that garlic works on the same mechanism as that of Aspirin! How this happens, is not a mystery anymore! What makes garlic so unique among all other foods is that, garlic is a natural cleanser of the arteries. Furthermore, being an antioxidant, the benefits of consuming garlic quadruple. Let us learn, step-by-step, how consuming garlic daily can prevent heart attacks and strokes!
(Image Courtesy: StarSearchGupta.com)
Mechanism of Action: Aspirin & Garlic
Both these agents, garlic (food) and Aspirin (drug), have similar action, that helps to prevent heart disease and attacks. They work on the principle of Anti-Platlet Aggregation.
What Platlets Do? How Does It Affect The Heart (Coronary) Circulation?
The platlets are normal constituent of blood. The work of the platlet is quite unique. They serve to maintain Hemostasis (Mechanism to enhance blood clot formation, whenever required). In the pic below, learn how platlet plug is formed, when the vessel is injured. Though, this is beneficial for the body to stop bleeding, but sometimes, this platlet aggregation occurs in the coronary (vessels supplying blood to the heart musculature) circulation.
(Image Courtesy: Slidesharecdn.com)
The hyper aggregation of the platlets occur either due to external stimuli, or because of some Genetic makeup. This causes narrowing of the lumen of the affected vessel, consequently, ischemia (inadequate blood supply to an organ or part of the body) of the farther organ.
The platlet hyperaggregability, if occus in the coronary blood vessels (arteries supplying the heart musculature), leads to narrowing of the passage, and finally, coronary vessel spasm ensues. This is the true reflection of heart muscles getting deprived of blood. The external signs and symptoms arising because of this series of event is called a Heart Attack! Furthermore, when this clot dislodges, and enters the main circulation (systemic), it goes towards the brain. There, this clot causes blockage of the brain vessels, resulting in Stroke!
Platelet hyperaggregability is also associated with the risk factors for the coronary artery disease. These risk factors are Smoking, Hypertension (Raised Blood Pressure), and Hypercholesterolemia (Raised Cholesterol in blood).
How Garlic & Aspirin Works?
Garlic and Aspirin, as stated, work on the principle of Anti-Platlet Aggregation. This means, both these substances prohibit the formation of Platlet Plug. Now, when platlet plug formation is disrupted, there is no further clot formation in the coronary vessels (or, in any other vessel, throughout the body). When there is no further clot formation in the coronary circulation, there is very little chances of developing a Heart Attack and Ischemic Stroke!
(Image Courtesy: Corindus.com)
Hence, regular consumption of garlic in diet can lower the risks of developing the clots in coronary vessels, consequently, is related to a longer survival. But, on the other hand, consuming garlic may also lead to platlet destruction on a small scale. Most Naturopaths recommend omitting eating garlic during the episodes of viral hemorrhagic fevers like, Dengue! Other similar contraindications likely are, during heavy menstrual bleed, immediately after child birth, Hematuria (Excreting blood in urine), and the list may go on. It is recommended to consult your Physician or Naturopath, if you’re on blood thinning drugs too!
Aspirin, on the other hand, is a chemical derived drug. This was earlier used as a powerful pain killer. Owing to the health hazards of Aspirin (Gastritis, Contraindicated in viral fevers, Multiple drug interactions, etc), Aspirin was hardly recommended by any Physician as a pain killer. After various research, it was concluded that, Aspirin in low doses, was found to be an effective Anti-platlet aggregatory. This was a major breakthrough in the field of Cardiology! And later on, it was found that, Garlic has almost same properties that matches Anti Platlet Aggregatory action of Aspirin.
While there has always been a debate over the health benefits of various foods, Garlic has clearly demonstrated an upper hand in preventing heart attacks and strokes. A common message goes to all the visitors. Please consult your Physician regarding your health issues. Natural foods can prevent the setting in of the disease, but will not reverse the damage caused to the organ system.