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Coenzyme Q10 and garlic reduce atherosclerosis progression in clinical trial

The July, 2012 issue of the Journal of Cardiovascular Disease Research reported the outcome of a trial of middle-aged men which found a protective effect for coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) and aged garlic extract against the progression of coronary atherosclerosis and inflammation.

The study included 50 firefighters of an average age of 55 who were considered to be at intermediate risk for a coronary event. Coronary artery calcium scanning, which assesses the extent of atherosclerosis, was conducted prior to enrollment and at the end of the trial. The current trial was limited to subjects with coronary artery calcium scores greater than 10, which indicates the presence of a mild to moderate amount of atherosclerotic plaque. Blood samples were analyzed for C-reactive protein, a marker of inflammation, before and after the treatment period. The participants were divided to receive a daily placebo or a capsule containing 120 milligrams CoQ10 and 1200 milligrams aged garlic extract for one year.

At the end of the trial, average coronary artery calcium progression was significantly less among those who received CoQ10 and garlic compared to the placebo group. While C-reactive protein levels increased by an average of 0.91 milligrams per liter (mg/L) among those who received the placebo, for subjects who received CoQ10 and garlic, CRP levels declined by an average of 0.12 mg/L.

Authors Irfan Zeb of the University of California, Los Angeles and his colleagues remark that aged garlic extract has been shown to help slow the progression of coronary atherosclerosis in addition to improving vascular function and oxidative biomarkers. CoQ10 has antioxidant properties as well, and has been found to be reduced in men and women with coronary artery disease. "This is the first study to our knowledge evaluating the effect of combination of aged garlic extract and CoQ10 on coronary atherosclerosis and inflammatory biomarkers," they announce. "Participants taking aged garlic extract and CoQ10 combination were found to have significant improvements in coronary artery calcium and CRP, suggestion improvement in cardiovascular health."

They add that the outcome of this and other studies suggests the need for an assessment of garlic and CoQ10's ability to reduce cardiovascular disease events.

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