In yesterday’s blog post, I covered a study on garlic that appeared in the Archives of Internal Medicine. Researchers found raw garlic, as well as garlic supplements, did not appear to lower LDL (“bad” cholesterol) levels—contrary to some product claims.

Does this mean you should cut down on garlic purchases when shopping at your local natural and organic food store?

No, say Mary Charlson, MD, and Marcus McFerren, PhD, MD, of Weill Cornell Medical College in New York. They wrote an accompanying editorial in Archives, noting garlic has been used since ancient times to treat cardiovascular and infectious diseases.

“While garlic has been evaluated for its anti-infective, antioxidant and anticancer properties, a large number of recent basic and clinical studies have focused on its potential effect in preventing cardiovascular disease,” they write. Although the recent study’s authors “convincingly demonstrate that raw garlic and two popularly used supplements do not reduce LDL cholesterol more than 10 milligrams per deciliter when used for six months vs. placebo for six months, the results do not demonstrate that garlic has no usefulness in the prevention of cardiovascular disease.

“Garlic is one of the top-selling dietary supplements in the United States,” they continue, “in part because familiarity with garlic as a food gives consumers confidence that garlic supplements are safe. In general, they probably are. Do they prevent cardiovascular disease? The jury is still out.”

Book Pick of the Day: Growing Great Garlic: The Definitive Guide for Organic Gardeners and Small Farmers