Vampires and blood pressure: Study probes garlic effect on hypertension

The Canadian Press
September 01, 2017
By The Canadian Press
WINNIPEG – It's great for pasta sauce and for repelling vampires, but the jury's still out on how effective garlic is at lowering blood pressure.

Dr. Peter Jones is the principal investigator in a new study taking place at the University of Manitoba's Richardson Centre for Functional Foods and Nutraceuticals.

He and his team are looking into the age-old question and hoping to get a more definitive answer.

Jones tells CTV Winnipeg there are studies indicating that garlic works to lower hypertension, but other studies have failed to confirm the findings.

He's looking for 40 participants to take part in his own study on the issue.

It's open to non-smoking men and women aged 40-70 years old who have elevated blood pressure but are not currently taking any blood pressure lowering medication.

Participants will randomly take two rounds of pills – one is a placebo and the other contains aged garlic extract.

"The benefit of having each individual as his or her own control is that everything else is maintained in terms of physiology within that individual," Jones says.

Participants will also wear an ambulatory blood pressure cuff during the day that takes readings every few minutes and saves the results on a chip.

Jones says this piece of technology will allow for more accurate data sharing and eliminate the need for participants to go into a clinic for testing.

He says many people have a reaction in clinical settings commonly known as "the white coat effect."

"Your blood pressure spikes," he says. "So it's an inaccurate reading."

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