Aged garlic extract (AGE) is associated with a significant decrease in atherosclerotic plaque progression and endothelial function improvement. Similarly, coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) has significant beneficial effects on endothelial function. A stressful lifestyle is a well-known risk factor for the presence and progression of atherosclerosis. This study investigated the effect of AGE plus CoQ10 on vascular elasticity measured by pulse-wave velocity (PWV) and endothelial function measured by digital thermal monitoring (DTM) in firefighters.
Sixty-five Los-Angeles County firefighters who met the eligibility criteria were enrolled in this placebo-controlled, double-blinded randomized trial. The firefighters were randomized to four tablets of AGE (300 mg/tablet) plus CoQ10 (30 mg/tablet) or placebo. The participants underwent quarterly visits and 1-year follow-up. PWV and DTM were measured at baseline and at the 1-year follow-up.
There were no significant differences in age, cardiovascular risk factors, PWV, and DTM between the AGE/CoQ10 and placebo groups at baseline (P > 0.5). At 1-y, PWV and DTM significantly improved in the AGE/CoQ10 compared with the placebo group (P < 0.05). After an adjustment for cardiovascular risk factors and statin therapy, the mean decrease in vascular stiffness (PWV) was 1.21 m/s in the AGE/CoQ10 compared with the placebo group (P = 0.005). Similarly, the mean increase in the area under the temperature curve, the DTM index of endothelial function, was 31.3 in the AGE/CoQ10 compared with the placebo group (P = 0.01).
The combination of AGE and CoQ10 was independently associated with significant beneficial effects on vascular elasticity and endothelial function in firefighters with high occupational stress, highlighting the important role of AGE and CoQ10 in atherosclerotic prevention of such individuals.