Aged garlic extract (AGE) is a supplement which is high in antioxidants and is said to regulate blood pressure, lower cholesterol, and cleanse the blood. This supplement is created by carefully aging raw garlic before processing it into gel capsules or powder. There are slight differences between the benefits of raw and aged or commercialized supplements, with consumers and scientists supporting both sides of the debate over which is better. Aged garlic extract is typically available in powder or gel capsules or a liquid. Supplements are also available in combination with other ingredients such as lethicin, omega 3, or enzymes.
AGE is created by slicing, chopping, or crushing garlic bulbs and immersing them in ethanol alcohol or water for a specific amount of time, usually between 18 to 24 months. Each individual and company may age their garlic for a different amount of time. During this aging process, the garlic undergoes some chemical changes. The allicin, the most powerful compound in garlic and the cause of its pungent smell, dies off while other antioxidants and phytochemicals emerge or become stronger.
Studies have suggested the antioxidants and phytochemicals within aged garlic extract may strengthen cardiovascular functions and health, protect the liver, and prevent arterial hardening due to fatty deposits and free radicals. Many holistic practitioners also suggest the use of garlic can improve the immune system and kill extra yeast production in the body, commonly caused by a high-sugar diet. Garlic has also been used as a natural treatment for many mouth conditions like canker sores and gum disease.
It is also possible to make aged garlic at home. Crushing or chopping garlic and placing it in an airtight container with filtered water or ethanol and aging for at least 18 months will produce the same properties as commercially-aged garlic extract. Some suggest cooking home-aged garlic, while others claim it should only be eaten raw.
Studies have suggested that there are several health benefits of both aged garlic extract and raw garlic. Debate has risen over which of these is better for health purposes, with studies promoting and disproving each. If a person is interested in the possible health benefits of garlic, but not too excited about the smell, AGE may be a better option. Those who are only interested in the raw form are usually restricted to the garlic they can either grow or buy raw—they must either eat it raw or juice it for the benefits.