The Health Benefits of Garlic

The Health Benefits of Garlic

Let’s talk about the health benefits of garlic. Garlic comes from the plant Allium sativum which is latin for “cultivated bulb”. It has been used by humans for thousands of years and originated in Asia.

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The primary benefit of garlic occurs via release of a molecule called alliin. Alliin releases hydrogen sulfide molecules (H2S), which gives garlic its unique smell and taste. Hydrogen sulfide is a known vasodilator, which is a fancy way of saying it improves blood flow. Fresh garlic and aged garlic supplements are generally considered the two best sources of garlic. In order to maximize alliin production, garlic should crushed sliced or chewed prior to cooking.

And one more thing real quickly: there are a lot of potential benefits but many of them are based on very small studies or animal studies. So just keep in mind this list could change over time as the body of research grows.

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Cardiovascular

  • Improved HDL cholesterol
  • Lowers LDL cholesterol, total cholesterol and triglycerides
  • May help lower blood pressure, treat hypertension
  • May stimulate RBC production
  • May protect against atherosclerosis (plaque buildup in arteries)
  • Potentiate NO effectiveness (vasodilator)
  • Inhibit platelet aggregation

Neuro

  • May be beneficial with depression
  • Improvement in Alzheimer’s disease symptoms

Diabetes

  • May inhibit glycosylation (where excess sugar ends up places it should not), reducing risk of organ damage
  • May have synergy with metformin
  • Mixed results in reducing blood sugar

Obesity

  • May increase thermogenesis (heat production), increasing energy expenditure
  • Inhibits adipogenesis or fat cell accumulation
  • May increase adiponectin (anti inflammatory)

Skeletal Muscle and Performance Enhancement

  • May potentiate NO, increasing oxygen availability to skeletal muscle
  • This appears to occur at submaximal exercise, not at max performance

Bone & Joint Health

  • May reduce occurrence of osteoarthritis in garlic consumers
  • In animals models, garlic has been shown to reduce bone mineral density loss

Immunology

  • May have some immune boosting properties
  • May promote increases in certain infection fight cells (macrophages, NK cells)

Hormones

  • Unclear how it affects testosterone, estrogen, growth hormone
  • May boost estrogen

Organs

  • Liver: May be protective against liver damage, especially induced by alcohol
  • Kidney: May be protective
  • Testicles: May be protective
  • Prostate: May reduce size, improve BPH
  • Penis: May be pro-erectile, limited evidence

Cancer

  • Brain cancer
  • Stomach cancer
  • Bladder cancer
  • Lung cancer
  • Prostate cancer
  • Colorectal cancer

Garlic also contains substantial amounts of the following vitamins and minerals:

Safety & Side Effects

Can be irritating to stomach. Might increase your risk of bleeding. Children & Pregnancy: Consult physician

There is no Recommended Daily Allowance

  • Garlic extract 600-1200 mg divided and given three times daily.
  • Aged garlic extract 600 mg to 7.2 grams per day has also been used
  • For prevention of colon, rectal, and stomach cancer: fresh or cooked garlic 3.5-29 grams weekly.
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