(NaturalNews) Researchers from the Emory University (EU) School of Medicine in Atlanta, Ga., have discovered a natural compound derived from garlic oil, known as diallyl trisulfide, that protects against heart damage. When taken after a heart attack, during cardiac surgery, or as a treatment for heart failure, this powerful compound was found to reduce tissue damage by 61 percent.
David Lefer, PhD, professor of surgery at EU and director of the school's Cardiothoracic Surgery Research Laboratory, and postdoctoral fellow Benjamin Predmore tested the effects of diallyl trisulfide on a group of mice. The duo deliberately blocked the coronary arteries of the mice for 45 minutes in order to simulate a heart attack.
Just as they were about to release the blockages, the team administered diallyl sulfide to some of the mice. After the compound was administered, the team observed a reduction in the proportion of heart tissue damage by 61 percent compared to mice that did not receive the compound.
"Interruption of oxygen and blood flow damages mitochondria, and loss of mitochondrial integrity can lead to cell death," said Lefer. "We see that diallyl sulfide can temporarily turn down the function of mitochondria, preserving them and lowering the production of reactive oxygen species."
The findings are noteworthy because, currently, doctors typically inject hydrogen sulfide-producing drugs directly into heart patients. In high doses, hydrogen sulfide is a highly-toxic chemical gas that, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), can cause respiratory, immunological, lymphoreticular, cardiovascular, and neurological damage, as well as death, when inhaled (http://www.who.int/ipcs/publications/cicad/e...).
Diallyl sulfide, on the other hand, is simply a natural organosulfur compound in garlic oil that naturally produces small amounts of hydrogen sulfide gas. This method appears to be safer and come with less side effects than the synthetic drug-based versions.
The diallyl sulfides in garlic are also linked to the production of ferroportin. Ferroportin facilitates the release of stored iron in the body at times when it is needed, which is essential for the transport of oxygen from the lungs to bodily tissue, as well as for other functions.