Garlic is well known to be healthy but some people might not like the smell. Is it possible to get the health benefits of garlic without the odor? One of the most popular odorless garlic supplements in the world is called Kyolic Age Garlic Extract, made by a company called Wakunaga . Unlike many products, Kyolic aged garlic extract has several clinical studies that hints to its benefits. In this review, let’s look at the research on Kyolic aged garlic extract and heart disease and see if we can make sense of it.
Why A “Critical” Review?
In the world of science, a review is sometimes called critical because the researcher feels the review contains valuable information for others to know about. I believe this review contains useful information for those wondering if Kyolic nutritional supplements are right for them. I wanted to mention this in case some thought my goal here was to somehow bash this product. It is not.
What Is Aged Garlic Extract?
The phrase Age garlic extract refers to how the garlic in Kyolic supplements is made. Basically, they take raw garlic bulbs that are sliced and then soaked in an alcohol solution for 20 months at room temperature in stainless steel tanks. The odorless extract obtained is then concentrated into kyolic supplements.
Even though they soak the garlic in alcohol for 20 months, there is no alcohol in Kyolic garlic supplements. Just wanted to mention that in case anyone was curious.
While the garlic concentrate contains many different compounds, one that gets a lot of attention by researchers is called
S-allylcysteine (sometimes called SAC). S-allylcysteine is an antioxidant and can increase something called NRF2. It may have other health properties too. For example, preliminary evidence suggest it may help liver cancer.
For more on NFR2 see the review of the anti-aging supplement Protandim.
Aged Garlic Extract vs. Allicin
Alliin is a compound in garlic that is converted into Allicin. Allicin is the stuff that gives garlic it its odor. While allicin is often reputed to be the active ingredient in garlic, it breaks down quickly into other compounds. So, if allicin breaks down so fast, where are the health benefits of garlic coming from?
Like all foods, it's wise to remember that garlic is more than just one ingredient. In other words, there is more to garlic than allicin. Garlic contains over 2,000 compounds which can act together and separately to produce health benefits. S-allylcysteine (SAC), mentioned above is one of those other compounds.
Because of the way it's produced, aged garlic extract is odorless because it has no allicin.
Kyloic Aged Garlic Extract Types
There are many different types Kyloic supplements. When this review was created the Kyloic.com website listed 25 different types of supplements. These range from the cardiovascular formula (Formula 100) which has 600 mg of age garlic extract per 2 capsules to supplements for focus (Kyloic Brain Focus) which has no age garlic extract.
This is important because it means not all supplements bearing the name “Kyloic” contain garlic. Those looking for a Kyloic supplement need to pick a product that contains aged garlic extract.
The table below summarizes the amount of age garlic extract in the different types of Kyloic supplements:
|Kyolic Formula||Amount of Aged Garlic Extract|
|Kyolic Formula 100 (original formula) Cardiovascular||2 capsules 600 mg|
|Kyolic Vegetarian Cardiovascular (capsules)||2 capsules 600 mg|
|Kyolic Liquid Vegetarian (Cardiovascular)||1 ml (equivalent to 1 capsule)|
|Kyolic Formula 101 (Stress and Fatigue Release )||2 capsules 600 mg|
|Kyolic Formula 101 Vegetarian Candida Cleanse & Digestion||2 capsules 600 mg|
|Kyolic Formula 103 (Immune)||2 capsules 440 mg|
|Kyolic Formula 104 (Lecithin Cholesterol)||2 capsules 600 mg|
|Kyolic Formula 105 (Detox & Anti Aging)||2 capsules 400 mg|
|Kyolic Formula 106 (Circulation)||2 capsules 600 mg|
|Kyolic Formula 107 (Phytosterols. Cholesterol Support)||2 capsules 600 mg|
|Kyolic Formula 108 (Total Heart Health)||2 capsules 500 mg|
|Kyolic Formula 109 (Blood Pressure Health)||2 capsules 400 mg|
|Kyolic Formula 110 (CoQ10)||2 capsules 600 mg)|
|Kyolic Curcumin (Inflammation Response)||2 capsules 300 mg)|
|Kyolic Blood Pressure Balance||2 capsules 600 mg|
|Kyolic Red Yeast Rice Plus CoQ10||3 capsules 300 mg|
|Kyolic Omega 3 (Cholesterol & Circulation)||2 softgels: 240 mg|
|Kyolic Extra Strength Reserve (Cardiovascular)||1 capsule: 600 mg|
|Kyolic One Per Day||1 caplet 1000 mg|
|Kyolic Liver Support (Cleanse & Detoxification)||2 capsules 200 mg|
|Kyolic Brain Memory (Concentration Learning & Recall)||1 capsule 200 mg|
|Kyolic Brain Focus (Sharpness, Mental Activity & Attention)||1 caplet: zero aged garlic extract|
|Kyolic Brain Energy (Mental Energy & Cognitive Function)||2 capsules 400 mg|
|Kyolic Neuroo-Logic (Improves Memory and Mental Acuity)||2 capsules 400 mg|
|Kyolic Prosta-Logic (Supports Healthy Prostate Function)||1 softgel 100 mg|
In the table above, notice that there is a version called “Kyolic One A Day” which has 1000 mg of aged garlic extract. This version of Kyolic is a hard shell caplet and not a capsule. For those who might like the option of opening a capsule to sprinkle the contents on food, this would not be a good option because the caplet rather than a capsule.
The product website (Kyolic.com) also sells weight loss supplements, probiotics and other supplements but they are not included in this review because they do not appear to contain aged garlic extract.
Kyolic Heart Disease Research
The company that makes Kyolic says there are over 100 studies published on the product. Because that is far more than most supplements have, I won’t try to list them all here (you’re welcome) but rather, try to give you a sample of the research that pertains to heart disease.
For this review, I’m going to look specifically at the evidence for Kyolic age garlic extract (AGE) helping heart disease. I’ll do this for two reasons:
- Heart disease is the number 1 killer of everybody. Most people reading this already have some degree of clogging of their arteries.
- Garlic is generally regarded as “heart healthy” with studies showing it can reduce blood pressure and cholesterol levels.
Ok let’s look at the research now…
Back in 1997, researchers noted that kyolic garlic could reduce fatty streaks inside the blood vessels of rabbits. Fatty streaks are the beginning stages of heart disease.
At least one test tube study has noted S-allylcysteine – one of the main components of age garlic extract – can protect blood vessels from free radical damage.
Cyclooxygenase (COX) is an enzyme that makes compounds called prostaglandins and some of these play roles in blood vessel constriction and making blood cells sticky. Both of these can raise the risk of a heart attack.
One study, involving 20 people, noted that aged garlic extract reduced a prostaglandin called 8-iso-PGF2a in both smokers and non smokers after only 2 weeks of use.
Bad cholesterol (LDL) has been implicated in heart disease. One factor that makes LDL really bad for the heart and blood vessels is when it becomes oxidized. Basically the LDL turns bad, nasty and rancid. Oxidized LDL is pro-heart disease and promotes inflammation.
When researchers in Florida gave 3.6 grams (3600 mg) of aged garlic extract (or placebo) to 51 overweight adults for 6 weeks, they saw aged garlic extract significantly reduced inflammation and LDL.
In a small study from 1999, researchers gave a small group of people (9 people, in their 30s) either 6 grams of garlic, 2.4 grams (2400 mg) of age garlic extract or 0.8g of vitamin E per day for 1 week.
The people in the study took each treatment for a week. Each treatment was separated by 1 week to allow the previous treatment to be eliminated from the body.
Those researchers noted the LDL cholesterol (“bad cholesterol”) from people getting either 2.4 grams of AGE per day or vitamin E – but not 6g of garlic per day – showed less LDL oxidation.
In 2001, researchers noted kyollic garlic significantly reduced fatty streak buildup (by 64%) in aorta arteries of rabbits. This study was conducted by the same researchers who did the 1997 rabbit study above.
Like the 1997 study, this one also involved 24 rabbits and lasted 6 weeks. Could this be the same study that just looked at the information from a slightly different perspective?
In a study conducted in 2002 researchers divided 20 people into two groups: smokers and non smokers. All the people were healthy and in their early 40s. For two weeks, all the people drank 5 ml of liquid age garlic extract mixed in fruit juice in the morning.
After 2 weeks, AGE caused a 35% reduction in 8-iso-PGF2a in smokers and a 29% drop in non-smokers. Two weeks after the study (when people were not taking garlic extract anymore), researchers noted 8-iso-PGF2a had increased 29% in non-smokers and 34% in smokers.
Basically, this says that after not taking AGE any longer, they rebounded to what they normally were before taking Kyolic.
In 2006, age garlic extract was shown to reduce homocysteine levels in rats by 30%. In this study, AGE was given to rats who were put on a folate-deficient diet. Lack of folate is well known to raise homocysteine (a compound which can increase the risk for heart disease). So, even without folic acid, AGE was able to reduce homocysteine levels.
When sugar combines with protein or fat, it can form compounds called Advanced Glycation Endproducts. These molecules can increase free radicals and stiffen collagen and elastin proteins which are used all over the body -including blood vessels. As such, advanced glycation endproducts might contribute to hardening of the arteries and thus, heart disease.
At least one test tube study has noted aged garlic extract can reduce advanced glycation endproducts.
In a 2009 study of 65 people with no heart disease symptoms, researchers randomly gave people either a placebo or Kyloic Formula 108 (Total Heart Health Formula) which has 250 mg of AGE plus vitamin B6 (12.5 mg), vitamin B12 (100 μg), folate (300 μg) and L-arginine (100 mg).
After 1 year, coronary calcium levels were significantly lower in the garlic group. Those taking AGE also showed:
- reduced LDL (bad cholesterol) and
- reduced homocysteine
- significant improvement in HDL (good cholesterol)
This study seems very similar to the 2013 study of AGE and brown fat, summarized below.
In 2010, researches noted Kyolic significantly lowered blood pressure in 50 people with uncontrolled BP who received either 960 mg of AGE per day or a placebo. The study lasted 3 months. On average, people had a 10 point reduction in systolic blood pressure (the top number) compared to those taking a placebo.
No changes in blood pressure were seen in people whose systolic was less than 140 at the start of the study. In other words, aged garlic extract seemed to work best in people with systolic blood pressure greater than 140/90.
This study used high potency every day formula 112(960 mg AGE) which appears to be discontinued. No Formula 112 could be found on the product website. That said there is an everyday Kyolic formula which has 1000 mg of AGE per 1 capsule.
This study appears to be related to a 2013 study by the same researchers who also noted lower systolic blood pressures in people who took Kyolic garlic pills.
Researchers in 2012 looked at Kyolic and how it might help the progression of heart disease in 65 firefighters who were randomly given either a placebo or Kyolic Formula 110 which is a combination of age garlic extract (120 mg per 2 capsules) plus 60 mg of coenzyme Q10. The study lasted a year.
After 1 year, the firefighters who used Kyolic had significantly lower CRP levels (a marker of cellular inflammation) and about 4 times slower progression of heart disease (as measured by coronary calcium) compared to those taking the placebo.
In this study people either took 1 placebo pill or 2 kyolic pills per day. Given that people took different numbers of pills, I wonder if this played any role in the outcomes of the study? This is just an observation I had. Take it for what it is.
These same researchers published a study in 2013 noting kyolic aged garlic extract (300 mg/day) and Coenzyme Q10 (30 mg/day) improved the elasticity of blood vessels. This study appears to be very similar to the 2012 study above. It involved 65 firefighters. Could this be the same study which reported results not mentioned in the original investigation?
Homocysteine is a chemical which makes blood cells sticky and can damage blood vessels, reducing their ability to make nitric oxide, a compound that relaxes blood vessels and helps keep blood pressure in check.
At least one test tube study noted blood vessel cells (endothelial cells) bathed in aged garlic extract solution were able to maintain their nitric oxide levels, even when homocysteine levels were elevated. Might this might help explain garlics effects on
helping blood pressure?
Sticky blood cells can contribute to blood clots and plaque formation inside blood vessels. Key players in blood clot formation (good and bad formation) are called platelets. When researchers tested blood samples of 14 people, they noted aged garlic extract inhibited platelets from sticking together.
In a 2013 study involving 46 men and women with metabolic syndrome (pre-diabetes), 1.2 grams (1200 mg) of age garlic extract ( Kyloic), given for 24 weeks was shown to increase adiponectin levels.
Adiponectin is a protein which helps to regulate appetite. Higher adiponectin levels might reduce appetite and help promote weight loss. Even though this study lasted 24 weeks, it does not appear the 46 men and women lost any weight. As such, claims of aged garlic extract helping weight loss, should be based on actual weight loss and not adiponectin levels.
This study showed no effect on blood pressure, endothelium function, cholesterol or other factors measured. This contradicts other research showing it does help. This study did not list what type of Kyloic they used.
Brown fat is different than white fat because it burns more calories. As such brown fat can help raise metabolic rate. One study noted aged garlic extract significantly increased brown fat in the heart and reduced white fat in the heart. This study involved 66 people (age 40-79) and lasted a year.
The people were given either a placebo or one age garlic extract (250 mg/day). Researchers also noted those taking Kyolic showed significantly less calcium in their coronary arteries, lower body weight and lower homocysteine levels.
In this study 250 mg of aged garlic extract promoted weight loss while in the study summarized just above it, 1200 mg did not. What's up with that? If aged garlic extract helps weight loss, better studies need to be done to confirm this.
This study specially used Kyolic Formula 108 (Total Heart Health Formula), which in addition to garlic also contained vitamin B6 (12.5 mg), vitamin B12 (100 μg), folate (300 μg) and L-arginine (100 mg).
In 2015, researchers, combined 4 previous studies together (combined they included 210 people total) and concluded people taking aged garlic extract had lower coronary artery calcium compared to those who took a placebo. This benefit was seen in both men and women.
Uncontrolled high blood pressure is a condition where mediation doesn't help. In a 2016 study, 88 people with uncontrolled high blood pressure were given either a placebo or age garlic extract (1.2g per day) for 12 weeks. Those getting AGE, had significantly lower blood pressures. In those taking AGE, systolic blood pressure (the top number) dropped by 5 points while diastolic blood pressure (the bottom number) dropped by 3 points.
In this study, the garlic group and placebo group did not contain equal numbers of people. The garlic group had 50 people while the placebo group had 38 people. This might be a problem with this study. Also, the people in this study took either 1 placebo pill or 2 Kyolic pills per day.
This study used Kyolic Reserve Formula.
In another study published in 2016, researchers gave 55 people with metabolic syndrome (pre-diabetes) either 2400 mg of aged garlic extract or a placebo for 1 year. Those taking aged garlic extract showed less plaque in their blood vessels compared to those taking a placebo.
I’ve heard people say that to reverse heart disease, 2400 mg of AGE per day needs to be used. This appears to be the study those claims are based on.
While this study didn’t say which Kyolic supplement they used but they did say it was commercially available to the public. Four capsules of Kyolic Cardiovascular Formulacontain 2400 mg of AGE.
In a 2017 study age garlic extract raised glutathione (an important antioxidant compound) and improved how long it took rats to heal from burns.
Summary Of Aged Garlic Extract Research
Studies can be complicated (and I can be wordy) so here is a quick breakdown of the heart disease research on Kyolic garlic to help you get a better sense of what’s going on:
|Study||Type Of Study||Results|
|The effect of the aged garlic extract, 'Kyolic', on the development of experimental atherosclerosis.||Rabbit study||AGE reduces fatty streaks in blood vessels|
|Garlic inhibits free radical generation and augments antioxidant enzyme activity in vascular endothelial cells.||Test tube study||S-allylcysteine protects blood vessels from free radicals.|
|Daily supplementation with aged garlic extract, but not raw garlic, protects low density lipoprotein against in vitro oxidation.||Human (9 people)||2400 mg AGE reduced oxidation of LDL|
|Molecular basis by which garlic suppresses atherosclerosis.||Rabbit study||AGE reduces fatty streaks.|
|Dietary supplementation with aged garlic extract reduces plasma and urine concentrations of 8-iso-prostaglandin F(2 alpha) in smoking and nonsmoking men and women.||Human (20 people)||AGE reduceds 8-iso-PGF2a|
|Homocysteine-lowering action is another potential cardiovascular protective factor of aged garlic extract||Rat study||AGE reduces homocysteine|
|Aged garlic extract supplemented with B vitamins, folic acid and L-arginine retards the progression of subclinical atherosclerosis: a randomized clinical trial||Human (65 people)||250mg AGE slows coronary calcium progression, lowers LDL & homocysteine & raises HDL|
|Aged garlic extract lowers blood pressure in patients with treated but uncontrolled hypertension: a randomised controlled trial.||Human (50 people)||960 mg of AGE lowers systolic blood pressure similar to meds.|
|Role of advanced glycation end products in cardiovascular disease.||Test tube study||AGE reduces advanced glycation endproducts.|
|Aged garlic extract and coenzyme Q10 have favorable effect on inflammatory markers and coronary atherosclerosis progression: A randomized clinical trial.||Human (65 people)||1200 mg AGE reduces CRP and slows coronary calcium progression.|
|Aged garlic extract reduces blood pressure in hypertensives: a dose-response trial. Human study.||Human (79 people)||480 mg AGE lowers systolic blood pressure.|
|Beneficial effects of aged garlic extract and coenzyme Q10 on vascular elasticity and endothelial function: the FAITH randomized clinical trial.||Human (65 people).||1200 mg AGE and COQ10 improves blood vessel health|
|Aged Garlic Extract Reduces Low Attenuation Plaque in Coronary Arteries of Patients with Metabolic Syndrome in a Prospective Randomized Double-Blind Study.||Human (55 people)||2400 mg AGE reduces plaque in blood vessels|
|Aged garlic extract ameliorates immunotoxicity, hematotoxicity and impaired burn-healing in malathion- and carbaryl-treated male albino rats.||Rat study||AGE raises glutathione|
Problems With The Research
The studies listed above are interesting but they are not perfect. After looking over the heart disease research summarized above, I noticed a few potential issues:
- Most studies have small numbers of people. That is normal with most supplement studies. Still, the studies overall tend to be larger than other supplement studies I've seen.
- Some studies appear to be the same investigation published in different journals with different titles. This may be due to other members of the research team wanting to publish a study. Sometimes college tenure can be tied to publishing research.
- No study -so far -has shown aged garlic extract reduces heart attacks or strokes.
To be fair, it would take many years to determine if aged garlic extract really did reduce heart attacks and strokes. So far, the longest studies have only lasted 1 year. While this is a long time, it would take longer than this to show reductions in heart attacks and strokes.
I understand the reluctance of a supplement company to not undertake such a long duration investigation -as well as the FDA red tape which might result from a product touted to reduce heart disease risk.
This “not wanting to get in trouble with the FDA” might also be the reason why the Kyolic website (Kyolic.com) does not list any studies on aged garlic extract.
Who Makes Kyolic Age Garclic Extract?
The company is called Wakunaga of America (pronounced wok-a-nog-a) and is an offshoot of another company called Wakunaga Pharmaceutical Company which is located in Japan. In the US, the company is located at 23501 Madero
Mission Viejo CA 92691. If you google this address, you see a large office building the bears the name “Wakunaga.”
I did not see any big steel containers at this location so this might not be where Kyolic supplements are made. The company has
been in business 1972.
The Better Business Bureau gave Wakunaga a rating of “A” when this review was created. Check the BBB file for updates and more information.
How To Contact Kyolic (Wakunaga)
The company website lists these contact numbers:
that can be called M-F, 830-430PM Pacific Standard Time. I’ve spoken to their customer service people several times and they are VERY helpful. The contact page for the company also has an email form where people can submit questions too. The company's US headquarters is located at 23501 Madero Mission Viejo CA 92691 USA.
Does Kyolic Support The Research?
Yes. Many of the studies make references to grants from Wakunaga, the makers of Kyolic supplements. While some might take this as a conflict of interest, I applaud companies that believe enough in their products to support clinical research. As long as a company takes no part in the research studies they support, I'm all for it.
From what I can tell Wakunaga only supports the research either by grants and/or by providing Kyolic supplements to researchers. They don't take part in the research. I'm not aware of any conflicts of interest in the studies.
How Does It Taste?
If you crack open a capsule, you can taste the garlic. It's not an overwhelming garlic taste but it’s enough for me to not want to sprinkle it on my oatmeal. I have however sprinkled aged garlic extract on my “almost” world famous sweet potato chili and it worked out just fine.
Does It Contain Gluten?
No. Kyolic aged garlic extract is both gluten free and yeast free.
Do You Burp Garlic?
I've had the opportunity to try Kyolic and I noticed no after taste and no garlic burps either. I've taken as many as 4 capsuels per day, both with food and on an empty stomach.
What's The Best Type To Use?
As mentioned above, there are 25 different types of Kyolic supplements. Which one is the best? Well, if we look at just the human research (see Summary Of Research section above) we can see as little as 250 mg per day has been shown to lower LDL and homocysteine levels and slow the buildup of calcium in the coronary arteries.
Other research shows taking up to 1200 mg per day might reduce CPR and homocysteine levels. This amount might also help blood pressure too. In a year long study of 55 people with pre-diabetes 2400 mg was shown to reduce plaque in the arteries compared to a placebo.
Based on these studies, I'd say between 1000-2400 mg per day was the sweet spot. For those who are looking to reverse heart disease (who isn't), 2400 mg might be a better way to go.
I'm looking forward to more research on aged garlic extract reversing heart disease. If this is confirmed by other human studies, it would be a game changer. Other than being a vegetarian or following the Dean Ornish Diet, I'm not aware of anything which does this.
How Much Does It Cost?
Give the amount of research that has been conducted, I was surprised that aged garlic extract supplements were not too expensive. A bottle of 200 capsules was around $20. I've also seen 300 hundred capsules for not much more than that. When I was in Vitamin Shoppe, I noticed that they also have aged garlic extract supplements that actually mention Wakunaga on the bottle.
I called Kyolic about this and they told me they license aged garlic extract to Vitamin Shoppe to use under their own brand. So they are the same thing, just in different bottles. For those on a budget, Vitamin Shoppe brand might be a tad less expensive.Here is Kyolic aged garlic extract on Amazon too.
Kyolic Garlic Side Effects
In healthy people, I think Kyolic garlic pills are very safe. The product has been around for over 40 years and the studies don’t report any serious side effects. Even those studies lasting a year, don’t show any negative side effects. That said, if you have health issues, here are a few things to think about if you take this supplement. This list is not complete.
- Garlic can have a blood thinner effect. People with bleeding issues or those who take blood thinner medications should consult their doctor first.
- Stop taking Kyolic at least 2 weeks before having surgery.
- Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding should speak to their doctor first.
Does Kyolic Work?
Kyolic aged garlic extract is very intriguing supplement boasting quite a bit of clinical research showing it seems to have benefits for those with heart disease. While there are many versions of Kyolic, Formula 100 is what I use. If you have tried Kyolic supplements, I’m curious to learn about your experiences. Leave a comment below.