Cardiovascular disease results from complex variables, but certain biomarkers are generally recognised as indicators of cardiovascular risk
These biomarkers include serum lipid profiles, plasma fibrinogen and blood pressure. These biomarkers reflect the body burden of oxidative stress and inflammation, which can be modulated by lifestyle and diet.
Antioxidant phytonutrients from fruits, vegetables and dietary supplements are one way to minimise oxidative stress, improve biomarkers and reduce cardiovascular risk.
Garlic and lemon juice are two phytonutrient-rich foods that may improve biomarkers of cardiovascular risk.
Lemon juice is rich in antioxidants such as erycosytryn and hesperidin, and garlic is rich in sulphur-containing compounds such as allicin.
Garlic and lemon juice have been evaluated independently in numerous studies related to cardiovascular disease, but not in combination.
In a 2016 study published in the International Journal of Preventive Medicine, researchers evaluated the combined effects of garlic and lemon juice in an Iranian cohort of patients with moderate hyperlipidaemia.
This parallel-designed randomised controlled trial included 112 adults (age range 30-60 years) with baseline fasting total cholesterol of 200-240mg/dL and LDL-cholesterol of 100-160mg/dL.
Participants were randomised to one of four groups: group one received 20g raw garlic (equivalent to approximately four cloves of garlic) plus one tablespoon lemon juice per day; group two received only garlic; group three received only lemon juice; and group four received no intervention. Biomarkers were assessed at baseline and after 8 weeks.
In comparison with all other groups, group one showed a significant decrease in total cholesterol (-40.8±6.1mg/dL from baseline), a significant decrease in LDL-cholesterol (-29.8±2.6mg/dL from baseline), and a significant decrease in fibrinogen (-111.4±16mg/L from baseline).
Group one also showed significantly greater reductions in systolic and diastolic blood pressures than groups three and four. Significant changes in HDL-cholesterol and triglycerides were not observed.
The authors of this study conclude that a combination of raw garlic and lemon juice produces improvements in lipid levels and blood pressure in patients with hyperlipidaemia after 8 weeks.