Magnificent Melanoidins

Black garlic is known for its unique colour which develops during the fermentation and ageing process. Melanoidins are the molecules responsible for this deep colouration – new research has suggested that these melanoidins could support heart health.

Whether you're baking bread, roasting coffee beans or searing a steak, you're witnessing the Maillard reaction. This is a chemical process which produces the brown colouration of many foods – it normally occurs when you heat, smoke or age a food. The small molecules that create these dark brown colours are known as melanoidins. Until recently, they were thought of as boring molecules without any interesting properties on health. But new research suggests that the melanoidins in black garlic could have a big impact on the human body.

Different melanoidins have different properties, depending on where they come from. Some melanoidin molecules are dangerous to health and may be carcinogenic (cancer-causing) – these are typically formed when foods are cooked at extremely high temperatures1. The brown edges of deep-fried chips are an example of this. Fortunately, the melanoidins of aged and fermented black garlic are not carcinogenic and may even improve health2.

One study in overweight mice found that black garlic melanoidins could prevent obesity.This is an amazing discovery that will almost certainly lead to more research in humans. The researchers found that black garlic melanoidins reduced high blood sugar levels within a healthier range and lowered the amount of unhealthy white fat in their bodies. They also found that LPS levels, which are often elevated by diabetes and during infections, were significantly lowered3.

Like other molecules in black garlic, melanoidins have potential anti-inflammatory properties3. Inflammation is when the body uses white blood cells and heat to fight off infections from bad bacteria and viruses. Some inflammation is good, it helps the body heal. But when inflammation gets out of control, arthritis, Alzheimer's and heart disease are more likely to occur4.

The study also made an unexpected discovery in the gut. The good bacteria in our gut help to break down food, aid metabolism and protect against bugs and pathogens. Despite their microscopic size, these bacteria play a major role in keeping us healthy. When we eat an unhealthy diet that's high in carbohydrates and low in nutrients, we typically reduce the variety of good bacteria inside us. Black garlic melanoidins seem to undo this. They've been shown to improve the range of healthy gut bacteria; this may help to combat obesity and further reduce dangerous levels of LPS in the blood3. Garlic has been used throughout history to treat heart and blood conditions – this new research seems to support some of these claims.

Melanoidins have a clear anti-obesity effect in mice and could be a future treatment option for obesity in humans, according to researchers involved in the study. We can't say for certain that these results will be the same in humans, but mice and humans are surprisingly similar in how our bodies work. There's likely to be much more research on black garlic melanoidins in the near future, so we'll be eagerly watching this space.

Kwai Heartcare+ with Japanese Black Garlic has been formulated to support normal heart function. Each tablet contains 450mg of Black Garlic, 2,700μg of Allicin and Vitamin B1. Its unique formulation helps to maintain healthy cholesterol levels and resist temporary oxidative stress. We use cutting-edge techniques, strict quality controls and GMO-free garlic to produce this daily dietary supplement, yielding a wide range of micronutrients, polyphenols and flavinoids. Kwai Heartcare+ with Japanese Black Garlic is available in packs of 30 and 100 tablets and is intended to support a healthy diet and active lifestyle.