Does garlic lower cholesterol?

Like my last post, this post is inspired by Harriet Hall’s recent review of The Mayo Clinic Book of Home Remedies on the Science-Based Medicine blog. For elevated cholesterol, the book recommends trying “natural products,” including garlic.

In 2007, the results of a randomized controlled trial of garlic on cholesterol concentrations on adults with moderate hypercholesterolemia were reported in Archives of Internal Medicine. The trial evaluated raw garlic and two commonly used garlic supplements. None of the forms of garlic, including raw garlic, when given at an approximate dose of a 4 gram clove per day, 6 days a week for 6 months, had statistically or clinically significant effects on LDL-C or other plasma lipid concentrations.

In addition, a meta-analysis was published in 2008 that did not find beneficial effects of garlic on total cholesterol, LDL, triglycerides, or apoB.

Based on the above, it seems like a waste of time and effort for anyone to try to lower their cholesterol with garlic.


Gardner, et al., Effect of raw garlic vs commercial garlic supplements on plasma lipid concentrations in adults with moderate hypercholesterolemia: a randomized clinical trial. Arch Intern Med. 2007;167(4):346-353.

Khoo, et al., Garlic supplementation and serum cholesterol: a meta-analysis. Journal of Clinical Pharmacy and Therapeutics. Volume 34, Issue 2, pages 133–145, April 2009.

Posted on October 16, 2010, in cardiology and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. But it sure is tasty!


  2. There’s a similar problem with Red Yeast Rice, which contains monacolin K, aka lovastatin. The problem is that RYR is a dietary supplement, not a drug. That means it isn’t subjected to the same regulatory scrutiny and quality/safety checks before it hits the store shelves.

    The actual amounts of monacolin K across different commercially available formulations of RYR were found in a recent study to vary by more than 100-fold, and some of these products also contained citronin, a fungal byproduct of RYR metabolism that is toxic to the kidneys.

    Physicians need to consider this before recommending RYR to their patients. I blogged about this today:


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