The first thought that comes to mind when I think of garlic are the old black-and-white movies where the heroine runs around with a garlic necklace to ward off attacks of vampires - or, was that werewolves? Regardless, it turns out that garlic may ward off more than just approaches hordes of zombies, vampires, and werewolves; it may also ward off cardiomyopathy (a type of heart disease) in persons with diabetes.
In 2007, the American Diabetes Association estimates indicated that nearly 8 percent (nearly 24 million) of the entire population of the United States alone has diabetes. Estimates are that an additional 57 million persons have pre-diabetes as well. Not only does diabetes rank in the top ten leading causes of death, persons with diabetes are also particular susceptible when it comes to heart disease. Estimates are that 70-80 percent of all deaths from diabetes are heart-disease related. Overall, persons with diabetes have a risk factor for heart disease that is two-to-four times greater than non-diabetics.
Persons with diabetes are at particular risk for developing cardiomyopathy, a heart disease which causes the heart muscle to become inflamed, enlarge and weaken. The cardiomyopathy damaged heart is left unable to do its job properly - naming pumping and delivering blood. Often asymptomatic until the disease has progressed, cardiomyopathy leads to heart failure, blood clots, heart murmurs, cardiac arrest, and even sudden death.
The risks of developing cardiomyopathy can be lessened somewhat by lifestyle changes (stop smoking, diet, exercise, and so forth). According to the results of a Chinese/Taiwanese study, researchers now believe that garlic may also provide some heart protective benefits to persons with diabetes. Garlic is known for its powerful antioxidant powers. Antioxidants fight free radicals which cause inflammation and lead to heart damage.
In the study, diabetes induced laboratory rats were evaluated to see if a diet supplemented by garlic provided any protective benefits to the heart as compared to those on normal diets.