Garlic-fed chickens have reduced cholesterol in eggs

12-02-2013 | | |
Garlic-fed chickens have reduced cholesterol in eggs
Garlic-fed chickens have reduced cholesterol in eggs

Concluding a four-year experiment, scientists in Bangalore, India have found that feeding hens garlic every day helps bring down cholesterol content in eggs by 10-15%.

In response to complaints by farmers about low yield and the trend among urban consumers to avoid egg yolk, scientists at the National Institute for Animal Nutrition and Physiology (NIANP) embarked on physiological and nutritional interventions, the Bangalore Mirror reports.


“It was challenging and trivial at the same time. There have been several experiments around the world to get low-cholesterol eggs. While many have been trying to achieve results with chemicals and artificially-extracted substances, we decided to test with natural substances. Following experiments in Indian systems of medicine where garlic has been shown to reduce cholesterol, we decided to use it as feed along with other ration to feed chickens,” said Dr C S Prasad, NIANP director.


The study, led by senior scientist Dr G Ravikiran, studied the effects of garlic on chickens laying eggs and egg lipids and was launched in 2008. It was concluded in 2012 and the technology has been made available to farmers.


“After it was initially tested at the laboratory, we decided to test this on a large scale and experimented at a couple of poultry farms close to Mysore with over 60,000 hens. The proportionate ratio that we discovered was 1:100 as increased concentration would make them bleed internally. For each kilogramme of ration comprising cereals and pulses, we added 10gm of garlic and began feeding them for several weeks,” explained Dr Prasad.


The scientists found that the garlic-fed chickens’ eggs had 10-15% lesser cholesterol than chickens fed on just cereals. “Garlic in the food had a considerable effect on the absorption and digestion of lipids among hens. When crushed, garlic yields allicin, a sulphur-containing compound, which is medically considered a vasodilative (that which causes the dilation of blood vessels). This would reduce triglycerides, the major source of cholesterol, by 23% in chickens. Hence, the eggs from such hens would have 10% less cholesterol than normal eggs,” a scientist explained.


The scientists however, have also cautioned farmers and poultry owners not to feed chickens with excess garlic as it would affect their physiological functioning.

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