Over the last few years, trends regarding the most demanded food supplements have shown the growing interest of users in the use of natural products to improve cardiovascular health. It is for this reason that Pharmactive Biotech Products, SLU, launched ABG+®, an all-natural aged black garlic extract focused on supporting heart function.
Aged black garlic has long been considered a culinary delicacy and an integral part of the Asian diet, as well as being valued for its health benefits. Traditionally, it is produced by ageing whole fresh garlic bulbs in high humidity and low temperatures for several weeks. The garlic cloves darken and take on a soft, gelatinous texture, while losing the characteristic pungent taste of garlic as they become sweet, which is the main reason why the social character of aged black garlic is praised.
“As black garlic ages, it acquires a characteristic sweet taste while its traditional garlic flavour and aroma fades due to the breakdown of allicin,” says the company’s R&D department. “This characteristic facilitates its incorporation into various formulations, as any slight traces of garlic flavour can be easily masked by combining it with fruit or other flavours.” Sourced from a special variety of garlic, and grown just two hours from Pharmactive’s facility, the garlic bulbs are aged and extracted using the ABG Cool-Tech® ageing technique, which optimises the extraction process of ABG+® aged black garlic extract using more sustainable methods, as it only uses low temperature water that preserves 100% of SAC and other relevant compounds in the aged black garlic. This method generates very little waste and significantly reduces the environmental impact as it does not use solvents, synthetic products or harmful additives.
This process consists of favouring the Maillard reaction, which transforms fresh garlic into aged black garlic and enriching it with the main bioactive molecules, creating a set of powerful antioxidants (Figure 1), including polyphenols, flavonoids and melanoidins. One of the most prevalent bioactive compounds is S-allyl-L-cysteine (SAC), known for its cardioprotective qualities, making ABG+® a perfect ingredient for cardiovascular health.
“SAC is virtually absent in fresh garlic but is synthesised and accumulated during ageing under specific environmental conditions,” explains Dr Alberto Espinel. “The presence and concentration of active compounds are closely related to the manufacturing process. Most black garlic products available on the market are mainly designed for culinary uses and contain a minimal amount of SAC. In some cases, SAC is produced in garlic through lengthy industrial procedures involving the soaking of the bulbs in organic solvents, and these products are marketed simply as ‘aged garlic’. This compromises the bioactive content and is the reason why available studies on black garlic extracts show contradictory results.”
Importantly, one of the therapeutic areas targeted by ABG+® is the balancing of blood cholesterol levels. For the past 30 years, red yeast rice has been one of the star ingredients in products aimed at improving cardiovascular health, thanks to the fact that it is an ingredient that is very rich in Monacolin K, widely known for its effects on cholesterol levels. But the status of this molecule has changed dramatically after EFSA (European Food Safety Authority) has announced its intention to ban the sale of supplements containing 3 mg or more Monacolin K. This is important as the highest dose of Monacolin K in the European Union was the highest in the world, and the most frequently used dose was 10 mg of Monacolin K. For this reason, the European market has turned its attention to new ingredients such as ABG+ ®. “Now that the dose of red yeast rice – which helps regulate cholesterol levels – is limited and has lost its EFSA-approved claims, product manufacturers can combine it with ABG+® to help maintain cholesterol and blood pressure levels,” says Dr. Alberto Espinel, a member of Pharmactive’s R&D department.
“This allows the creation of a final product that can support the reduction of multiple risk factors to contribute to the preservation of the health of the cardiovascular system.”
ABG+® is standardised to 0.1% S-allyl-L-cysteine (SAC), quantified by HPLC (High Pressure Liquid Chromatography). Pharmactive Biotech Products SLU also has a more concentrated formulation, ABG25+®, standardised by HPLC to 0.25% SAC.
All ABG+® ingredients are water-soluble and can be used in multiple applications, such as gummies, capsules, soft gels, syrups and powders. ABG+® is an ideal ingredient for formulating functional foods and even gummies… due to the absence of the characteristic smell and taste of garlic. Finally, a study published in the scientific journal Nutrients, showed that ABG+ extract significantly reduced diastolic blood pressure (DBP) by 5.85 mm Hg on average compared to a placebo (Figure 2.). The favourable reaction was particularly evident in men. “Even a small decrease of 5 mm Hg in diastolic blood pressure has a significant impact on reducing the risk of stroke and other vascular events,” explains Dr. Alberto Espinel.
This randomised, double-blind study was conducted at the Sant Joan de Reus University Hospital in Barcelona, and included 67 hypercholesterolemic adult volunteers with relatively high levels of LDL in their blood. Each participant consumed 250 mg of ABG+ or placebo for six weeks, with a three-week washout period before crossover. The subjects were also assigned a fixed diet that excluded lipid-lowering and antihypertensive foods1. (Table 1.)
“This discovery marks one of the first indications of the blood pressure balancing power of ABG+ as a natural option in a population where the main intervention strategies are based on diet and healthy lifestyle. Remarkably, positive results were achieved by following a simple protocol of taking one ABG+ extract tablet per day,” according to Dr. Alberto Espinel.
This one has been the first clinical study conduct- ed with ABG+, prompted by the company’s encouraging results in two previous animal studies. Those trials demonstrated the cardioprotective role of the ingredient, as well as its ability to favourably balance blood lipids and improve vascular function. But it will not be the last, as a new study on ABG+ and blood pressure will soon be published with very positive results for cardiovascular health.
1 Valls RM, Companys J, Calderón-Pérez L, et al. Effects of an Optimized Aged Garlic Extract on Cardiovascular Disease Risk Factors in Moderate Hypercholesterolemic Subjects: A Randomized, Crossover, Double-Blind, Sustained and Controlled Study. Nutrients. 2022;14(3):405. Published 2022 Jan 18. doi:10.3390/nu14030405 https://pharmactive.eu/ firstname.lastname@example.org
Pharmaceutical Biotech Products is a privately owned Spanish company that develops and produces various natural ingredients for the food, pharmaceutical and veterinary industries. The effectiveness of the ingredients is supported by scientific evidence.