Black Garlic and the Brain

From traditional food to powerful supplement, black garlic has shot to fame around the world. Black garlic is thought to have neuroprotective effects, meaning it could help your brain stay healthier for longer.

The brain is by far the most complex organ in the human body; understanding how to keep our brain healthy can seem equally complex. We've been attempting to work out exactly how the brain works for thousands of years and despite making significant process, its inner workings still remain an unsolved mystery. For example, we don't know how memories are stored and retrieved, how we perceive time or why we dream while asleep. Thankfully, we do know how different foods, drugs and supplements can affect our brain.

There's scientific evidence that black garlic could help to protect neurons (brain cells) from toxicity and damage, reduce inflammation and improve short-term memory and cognition1. Despite its humble beginnings as a traditional food, black garlic is now a supplement of choice for people around the world. Consuming this unique, fermented product has been linked with potential improvements in brain-health1. Here's a look at how black garlic could affect the human brain.

Black garlic contains hundreds of different molecules, some of which show powerful anti-inflammatory effects. Black garlic extracts have been investigated as a potential treatment for inflammation and septicaemia-related conditions and there's evidence that it may curb neuron inflammation as well1. Inflammation is like a double-edged sword. It's a natural process that helps the body heal and repair damaged tissues and protects the body from bacteria and viruses. But too much inflammation can have negative effects on health. Chronic inflammation has been linked with heart disease, diabetes, respiratory diseases and many other serious conditions2.

Some neurodegenerative diseases are also associated with inflammation of the brain - Alzheimer's disease is a classic example of this3. The disease is characterised by clumps of abnormal proteins within the brain, blocking electrical signals from passing between neurons and eventually leading to neuron death4. In a recent study, black garlic significantly reduced inflammation in rats with Alzheimer's-like brains, improving their short-term memory and preventing amnesia. Black garlic also helped to protect their neurons from neurotoxicity5. This hasn't been studied in humans yet, but black garlic may have similar effects on the human brain5,6.

Black garlic is an abundant source of antioxidants including flavonoids, polyphenols, S-alleyl cysteine and Allicin. Recent research has shown that some antioxidants may promote healthy-ageing. Antioxidants absorb free radicals, a naturally occurring type of unstable atom, and prevent them from attacking our cells and DNA. The brain is at an increased risk of free radical damage and some antioxidants may help to improve memory loss1.

There's still much we don't know about Black Garlic's role in supporting brain health – we can only hope that more conclusive research will be conducted in the coming years. It's universally agreed that following a healthy diet and active lifestyle can support all aspects of your physical health. We've created a range of garlic-based nutritional supplements to help you achieve and maintain a healthy heart. Kwai Heartcare+ with Japanese Black Garlic is available in packs of 30 and 100 tablets and is formulated to supplement and support a healthy diet and lifestyle. Each easy-to-swallow, daily tablet provides you with 450mg of Japanese black garlic, 2,700μg of Allicin and Vitamin B1, an essential vitamin for heart and brain health.

The Kwai Heartcare blog is not a source of medical information or advice. Always check with your doctor before making changes to your diet and lifestyle, especially if you have an underlying health condition.

1 https://www.intechopen.com/books/medicinal-plants-use-in-prevention-and-treatment-of-diseases/black-garlic-and-its-therapeutic-benefits

2 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK493173/

3 https://www.alzheimers.org.uk/about-dementia/risk-factors-and-prevention/infections-and-dementia

4 https://www.nia.nih.gov/health/what-alzheimers-disease#:~:text=Alzheimer's%20disease%20is%20an%20irreversible,appear%20in%20their%20mid%2D60s.

5 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5295068/

6 https://www.nhs.uk/news/neurology/targeting-inflammation-could-help-treat-alzheimers-disease/