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Aged Garlic Extract (AGE)

Whilst allicin is usually considered the most powerful active ingredient in garlic, however it's difficult to package up for sale in stores: it's volatile and difficult to commercialise. Partly for this reason there has been a lot of research into the possible health benefits of garlic products that do not contain allicin.

One of the best known garlic supplements is Aged Garlic Extract (AGE). This is marketed under the trade name kyolic by the Wakunaga Company.

A paper published in 2001 in the Journal of Nutrition(1) concluded that:

"AGE contains a wide range of antioxidants that can act in synergistic or additive fashion and protect cells against oxidative damage, thus helping to lower the risk of heart disease, stroke, cancer and Alzheimer's disease and protect against toxic, tissue-damaging effects of ROS-producing radiation, including UV light, drugs used in therapy and chemicals in the environment and industry."
More recently, a study published in 2012 in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition(2) looked at the effect of AGE on patients with high systolic blood pressure. The researchers concluded:
"In summary, our trial suggests aged garlic extract to be an effective and tolerable treatment in uncontrolled hypertension, and may be considered as a safe adjunct treatment to conventional antihypertensive therapy."

What Is Aged Garlic Extract?

AGE is, as the name suggests, produced by aging garlic: it's sliced, macerated and kept in water or alcohol for up to two years before being turned into a dietary supplement. (NOTE: raw garlic should never be stored in oil at room temperature - see warnings).

The resulting aged garlic extract does not contain allicin but is high in water soluble phytochemicals such as diallyl sulphides.

Aged Garlic Extract vs Allicin

There is a great deal of debate between the proponents of AGE on the one hand and supporters of allicin on the other. There is research showing that both have potential health benefits for some individuals. Those benefits will undoubtedly be different but it is difficult to say which is "better".

AGE has the advantage that it does not cause the breath to smell. It might also be more suitable for those who are sensitive to the strength of allicin or are taking medication with which ordinary garlic reacts badly. However it has the disadvatage that you need to buy it at the store rather than just crushing an inexpensive garlic clove and adding it to your food.

Personally I'm fortunate enough to have a high tolerance for raw garlic so I've never felt the need to try the aged extract. If you think it might be for you I'd recommend asking your doctor for advice.

References:
(1) Antioxidant Health Effects of Aged Garlic Extract (Journal of Nutrition)
(2) Aged garlic extract reduces blood pressure in hypertensives: a dose-response trial


This site is not associated with or endorsed by the Wakunaga Company.

References:
(1) Antioxidant Health Effects of Aged Garlic Extract (Journal of Nutrition)
(2) Aged garlic extract reduces blood pressure in hypertensives: a dose-response trial