Heart : Interview with Jim Lavalle, RPh, CCN

By Kim Henderson

Jim LaValle is a nationally recognized clinical pharmacist, board-certified clinical nutritionist, naturopathic doctorate and founder of LaValle Metabolic Institute, a highly respected interdisciplinary healthcare facility in Cincinnati, Ohio. An author of more than 17 books on health including Cracking the Metabolic Code, he is a favorite interviewee for natural-healthrelated media, having done more than 500 television and radio appearances.

When a patient goes to the LaValle Metabolic Institute (LMI), he or she is evaluated and advised by a team of board-certified physicians who work in the field of integrative care to address the full spectrum of health care. Nutritional supplements are always part of the protocol for an individual’s health plan. Jim Lavalle knows nutritional supplements like the back of his hand—he has written three databases about them. Along with quality multivitamin, probiotic and omega-3 supplements, he believes that pretty much everyone could benefit from taking a daily dose of Kyolic Aged Garlic Extract (AGE). Having read more than 700 clinical studies exploring the health benefits of AGE and from his own personal experience with patients showing marked improvement supplementing with AGE, he’s convinced of the viable health support AGE provides. This month, Jim shares the important and varied health-promoting benefits of AGE.

Healthy Living: In terms of health benefits, how is Kyolic Aged Garlic Extract different from dietary garlic or regular garlic pills? Jim LaValle: The difference between ordinary garlic and AGE is similar to the difference between eating cabbage and eating sauerkraut. When you make sauerkraut, you are fermenting the cabbage. And when you do that, new chemicals come to light. Byproducts of that fermentation process happen. When you age garlic, a whole different life starts to occur with chemical compounds that are in the garlic. The fermentation/aging process neutralizes many of the volatile compounds in the garlic—its scent, for example. Furthermore, the aging process synthesizes new compounds that are incredibly beneficial to people’s health. And that’s where the magic is. It enhances the nutrient and clinical value you are getting because of the new compounds that are formed. That’s the real key. There are 700 published studies on AGE. There’s an extensive amount of science behind a nutritional supplement—it’s unheard of, really. The overwhelming majority of them are showing benefits in a lot of different areas. That’s the other reason I like it. I recommend it to our patients because they get a lot of benefit out of taking a single compound.
It’s important to note that with ordinary garlic or even other non-aged garlic compounds, there’s no way to standardize the potency or purity. The fact that you can make AGE and it can be consistently standardized for an elegant finished dosage form is extremely important from a purity as well as an efficacy standpoint.

How does AGE support healthy blood pressure levels?
Clinical studies have shown dramatic improvement even in people with resistant hypertension and who were not on any blood pressure medication. Researchers observed a drop of 10 points in their systolic blood pressure! AGE is great in helping manage healthy blood pressure especially for many people who are just borderline high blood pressure—not high enough for medication. I say to these people, why not try something natural that has a proven track record? The problem is that a lot of the medications used to regulate blood pressure carry side effects with them. I think trying AGE first is a good idea. It essentially works by helping to support healthy inflammation levels in the endothelial tissue and pliable capillaries and arteries. The latter is particularly important because our arteries and capillaries harden as we age. You could definitely say that AGE is a great longevity supplement.

What about calcification of the arteries? Can AGE help support arterial health?
Absolutely. Interestingly, another study published recently showed that when people take AGE, bone mineral density improves—and calcification of the arteries is directly linked to bone mineral density loss. AGE actually has been reported to inhibit arterial plaque formation. There’s even some evidence that shows AGE might reverse calcification. In some of the studies Dr. Matthew Budoff at the University of California, Los Angeles, conducted, the coronary scores of subjects who were treated medically with statins and aspirin showed that their rate of plaque buildup dropped almost 70 percent after taking AGE. To me, that’s fantastic! That’s huge. When you look at the forces that AGE is acting on—keeping capillaries pliable and inhibiting bone mineral density loss, which is directly linked to the calcification of your arteries—it’s powerful.
Studies also show that AGE neutralizes the oxidation of LDL cholesterol. Oxidized LDL cholesterol contributes to plaque buildup. That’s another really big deal. AGE is acting like an antioxidant. AGE has also been shown to lower homocysteine levels. Elevated homocysteine is associated with heart disease. When homocysteine goes up, it’s bad for capillaries—as well as the kidneys and the brain. It’s associated with memory loss. AGE also helps reduce C-reactive protein in the body, a marker for inflammation. You can see how AGE is important to heart health in a myriad of ways. For people who are on blood-thinning medication like Coumadin, it’s important to note that AGE does not react with it like regular garlic does. AGE is safe to take with blood-thinning medication.

Have you personally witnessed improvement in patients who supplement with AGE?
We typically take a look at our patients’ blood under the microscope as part of our initial workup. In some cases, we see red blood cells sticking together and that are forming fibrin. We call it “stickiness” or adhesion, and it is a risk factor for heart disease. We have patients like these take at least 1,000 mg of AGE daily for month. And when we look at their blood again— lo and behold, their blood cells are freely moving around—no more stickiness or adhesion!

How does AGE support immune health?
We know that people who take AGE on a regular basis get fewer colds and flu—and recover from colds and flu more quickly. AGE helps improve the surveillance abilities of the immune system. It does this by enhancing the effect of gamma delta T cells in the gut as well as natural killer (NK) cells. AGE is a great supplement to take as we head into the colder months because it keeps the immune system sharp. Also, AGE does a great job inhibiting yeast growth or Candida albicans. With poor diet and the use of antibiotics and other medications, these unfriendly microflora in the gut can get out of control. And since 70 percent of your immune system is in your gut, it makes sense that you might want to try to keep your immune system intact and vigilant. Some evidence shows that AGE helps inhibit the proliferation of H. pylori, an unfriendly bacteria of the gut that thrives in an overly acidic environment and can cause gastritis and ulcers. This is significant because so many people are taking antacids. The number-two prescribed drug in the United States is a proton-pump inhibitor. Some people with gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) and acid reflux issues are on these drugs for years— drugs that were intended for only short-term use. Because of that, these people are much more likely to have a bug like H. pylori, which has been associated with increased gastric cancer risk.

What other surprising health benefits might one get from AGE?
There’s not a lot of talk about this, but AGE may lower the body’s stress response. Research is indicating that AGE acts as a kind of adaptogen, regulating the fight-or-flight stress hormones epinephrine and norepinephrine. And this makes sense with its heart-healthy properties. If you lower the hormonal stress response, blood vessels relax.
During the aging process, S-allyl cysteine (SAC) is formed, which enhances the body’s ability to make glutathione. Glutathione is the principle antioxidant the body makes and is critical to kidney function, red blood cell integrity, liver health and the health of just about every tissue in the body. It supports detoxification, which is very important with the amount of environmental pollution we encounter.

Do you recommend Kyolic’s AGE as part of a daily supplement regimen?
Yes, I do. I think the majority of people can benefit by taking AGE on a regular basis. It’s one of the things we recommend to virtually all of our patients at LMI. Along with an omega-3 supplement, a probiotic and a multivitamin, it’s a first line of dietary supplement. AGE addresses the health challenges people are facing today. Heart disease, gastrointestinal problems, stress, immune health, detoxification— it has it all.

Resources
Kyolic Aged Garlic Extract is available at natural food and product supermarkets nationwide. Customers can choose from 20 different Kyolic formulas to match any number of health needs. For more information, visit www.kyolic.com or call 800-421-2998.

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