Effects of Garlic Consumption on Plasma and Erythrocyte Antioxidant Parameters in Elderly Subjects

Background: The oxidative stress theory of aging is one of the most widely acknowledged theories of aging. The intake of fruits and vegetables with antioxidant power is associated with a reduced incidence of many chronic diseases of aging.

Objective: The effects of ingesting garlic on plasma and erythrocyte antioxidant parameters of elderly subjects were investigated in this study.

Methods: 13 subjects (mean age 70.69 ± 4.23) participated in the study. They ingested garlic at the daily dose of 0.1 g/kg b.w. for 1 month. Before and after this period, fasting blood samples were obtained, and oxidant [malondialdehyde (MDA) and xanthine oxidase (XO)] and antioxidant [superoxide dismutase (SOD), glutathione peroxidase (GSH-Px) and catalase (CAT)] parameters were studied in erythrocytes, and MDA levels were studied in plasma samples obtained from the subjects. Routine blood biochemical parameters were also measured in blood samples.

Results: In the plasma fraction and erythrocyte hemolysate, MDA levels were found to be significantly lower, but erythrocyte GSH-Px and SOD activities were significantly higher in the second samples relative to the first ones. XO activity was found to be lower in the second samples, but this decrease was not statistically meaningful. LDL cholesterol was found to be significantly lower in the second samples relative to the first ones.

 Conclusion: Our results show that ingestion of garlic leads to significantly lowered plasma and erythrocyte MDA levels and to increased activities of some antioxidant enzymes, which indicates that consumption of garlic decreases oxidation reactions. It is quite possible that reduced peroxidation processes due to garlic consumption may play a part in some of the beneficial effects of garlic in elderly subjects.