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Concentrated garlic now in pill form

Product: Nature’s Resource/Nature Made GarLife dietary supplement, 60 tablets for $3.90.

Key ingredients: Concentrated garlic, vitamins B6 and B12, and folic acid.

The pitch: May promote heart health and maintain normal cholesterol.

How it works: Garlic is an antioxidant that may prevent bad cholesterol, LDL, from forming plaque in arteries and may encourage the formation of “good” cholesterol, HDL.

Pros: Some evidence indicates garlic slightly lowers blood cholesterol and has positive effects for one to three months. Preliminary research suggests taking garlic may slow hardening of the arteries, a condition that can lead to heart disease or stroke. The supplements are odor-free.

Cons: Raw garlic and garlic supplements had no effect on cholesterol levels of people with bad cholesterol, according to a study in the February issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine. Another study using raw, powdered or aged garlic extract found none of the three forms lowered cholesterol. The Center for Science in the Public Interest has urged the federal government to halt cholesterol-reduction claims by garlic supplements because there is no proof they lower cholesterol levels for a substantial time period. Garlic has been associated with abnormal bleeding when taken with aspirin, and should not be taken within a week of surgery or dental work.

Bottom line: The latest studies have thrown garlic out of favor as a way to lower cholesterol or help your heart function better.

Some evidence indicates garlic slightly lowers blood cholesterol and has positive effects for one to three months.

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