Heart benefits of garlic identified

The reason for garlic's beneficial effect on the cardiovascular system has been uncovered by scientists in the US.

Dietary garlic has long been recognised for its beneficial health effects, such as reducing high BP and cholesterol levels.

But now researchers have found that eating garlic can boost blood flow by increasing the levels of hydrogen sulphide in the bloodstream.

Although poisonous at high concentrations, hydrogen sulphide is essential for cellular signalling at low levels.

For the study, the researchers extracted juice from garlic and added minute amounts to human red blood cells. The cells immediately emitted hydrogen sulphide, which increases blood flow.

Further experiments revealed the chemical reaction took place at the membrane of the red blood cells, although a fraction of the chemical was produced inside the cells.

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