TAICHUNG, Taiwan, Sept. 30 (UPI) -- Garlic oil shows a protective effect against diabetic cardiomyopathy, a form of heart disease in people with diabetes, researchers in Taiwan say.
Wei-Wen Kuo of the China Medical University in Taichung, Taiwan, and colleagues say people with diabetes have at least twice the risk of death from heart disease as others -- heart disease accounts for 80 percent of all diabetes-related deaths.
People with diabetes are especially vulnerable to this form of heart disease, which inflames and weakens the heart's muscle tissue.
The scientists fed either garlic oil or corn oil to laboratory rats with diabetes. Animals given garlic oil experienced beneficial changes associated with protection against heart damage. The changes appeared to be associated with the potent antioxidant properties of garlic oil.
The researchers identified more than 20 substances in garlic oil that may contribute to this protective effect.
"In conclusion, garlic oil possesses significant potential for protecting hearts from diabetes-induced cardiomyopathy," the study authors say in a statement.
The findings are published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.