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Heart Benefits Derived from Garlic Via Hydrogen Sulfide

Garlic's ability to increase vasorelaxation escalates with hydrogen sulfide production

FRIDAY, Oct. 19 (HealthDay News) -- Garlic-produced organic polysulfides lead to hydrogen sulfide production and vasorelaxation, a process that may explain some of the health and cardiovascular benefits of a diet rich in garlic, according to a report published online Oct. 19 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Gloria Benavides, Ph.D., of the University of Alabama at Birmingham, and colleagues investigated the kinetics of human red blood cell conversion of garlic-derived organic polysulfides into hydrogen sulfide, using a novel polarographic hydrogen sulfide sensor inside a temperature-controlled closed-chamber respirometer.

The researchers found that the production of hydrogen sulfide by organic polysulfides was mediated by sulfur atoms and allyl substitutes. The resulting hydropolysulfide is key to the formation of hydrogen sulfide. At the proper oxygen-levels, aorta rings also release hydrogen sulfide by metabolizing garlic-derived organic polysulfides.

"The vasoactivity of garlic compounds is synchronous with hydrogen sulfide production, and their potency to mediate relaxation increases with hydrogen sulfide yield, strongly supporting our hypothesis that hydrogen sulfide mediates the vasoactivity of garlic," the authors write. "Our results also suggest that the capacity to produce hydrogen sulfide can be used to standardize garlic dietary supplements."

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