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Garlic: 20 Health Benefits and 7 Side Effects


Garlic is widely used as a flavoring in cooking, but it has also been used as a medicine throughout ancient and modern history; It has been used to prevent and treat a wide variety of conditions and diseases.

History of garlic benefits


Garlic has been used all over the world for thousands of years. Records indicate that garlic was used when building the pyramids of Giza, about 5,000 years ago.

Richard S. wrote. Rivlin reports in the Journal of Nutrition that the ancient Greek physician Hippocrates (circa 460-370 BC), known today as the "Father of Western Medicine," described garlic for a wide variety of conditions and diseases. Hippocrates encouraged the use of garlic to treat respiratory problems, parasites, indigestion, and fatigue.

From ancient Egypt, garlic has spread to the advanced ancient civilizations of today's Pakistan and western India. From there, he made his way to China.

Garlic is an herb that is grown all over the world. Related to onions, leeks and chives. Garlic is believed to be native to Siberia, but spread to other parts of the world over 5,000 years ago.

The original Olympic athletes of ancient Greece were given garlic - perhaps the oldest example of 'performance-enhancing' agents used in sports.

20 health benefits of garlic


Garlic produces a chemical called allicin. This is what appears to make garlic work in certain circumstances.

Allicin also makes garlic smell. Some products are made "odorless" by aging garlic, but this process can also make garlic less effective.

Here are 15 potential benefits of garlic:

1. May prevent atherosclerosis

As people age, their arteries lose their ability to stretch and flex. Garlic appears to reduce this effect. Taking a specific garlic powder supplement (Allicor, INAT-Pharma) twice daily for 24 months appears to reduce the progression of atherosclerosis.

Higher doses of this product appear to provide more benefits for women than men when taken over a four-year period. 

Research with other products containing garlic, alone or with other ingredients (Kyolic Reserve, Kyolic, Total Heart Health, Formula 108, Wakunaga) has also shown benefits.

2. Contains compounds with powerful medicinal properties

Garlic is a plant of the onion family. It is closely related to onions and leeks. Each piece of garlic is called a clove. There are approximately 10-20 lobes in one bulb, more or less.

Garlic grows in many parts of the world and is a popular ingredient in cooking due to its strong aroma and delicious taste.

However, throughout ancient history, the main use of garlic was for its health and medicinal properties [s].

Its use has been well documented by many major civilizations, including the Egyptians, Babylonians, Greeks, Romans, and Chinese [s].

3. May protect against lung cancer

A study conducted at the Jiangsu Provincial Center for Disease Control and Prevention in China showed that people who ate raw garlic at least twice a week during the 7-year study period were 44% less likely to develop lung cancer [s].

4. May fight disease, including colds

Garlic supplements are known to boost immune system function. One large 12-week study found that eating garlic daily reduced the number of colds by 63% compared to a placebo [s].

Another study found that a high dose of aged garlic extract (2.56 grams per day) reduced the number of days you had a cold or the flu by 61% [s].

5. It can reduce blood pressure

Cardiovascular diseases such as heart attacks and strokes are the biggest cause of death in the world. High blood pressure is one of the most important factors causing these diseases.

Human studies have found garlic supplementation to have a significant effect on lowering blood pressure in people with high blood pressure [s, s, s].

6. Protects the heart

Hydrogen sulfide gas has been shown to protect the heart from damage. However, it is a volatile compound and is difficult to introduce as a treatment.

For this reason, scientists decided to focus on diallyl disulfide, a component of garlic oil, as a safer way to deliver the heart benefits of hydrogen sulfide.

In experiments with lab mice, the team found that after a heart attack, mice that received diallyl sulfide had 61 percent less heart damage in the at-risk area, compared to untreated mice [s].


7. Improves cholesterol levels

Garlic can lower total and LDL cholesterol, which may reduce the risk of heart disease. For those with high cholesterol, garlic supplementation appears to reduce total cholesterol and/or LDL cholesterol by about 10-15% [s, s, s].

Looking at the bad LDL and good HDL cholesterol specifically, garlic appears to lower LDL but does not have a reliable effect on HDL [s, s, s].

High triglyceride levels are another known risk factor for heart disease, but garlic does not appear to have significant effects on triglyceride levels [s, s].

8. Protects against bacterial and fungal infections

Garlic produces allicin, a sulfur component and a natural antibiotic. During World War I, soldiers used crushed garlic on infected wounds [s].

Therefore, if you decide to take garlic in tablet form, it would be best to take crushed capsules. This is because the processes used to produce garlic tablets usually destroy allicin, which is very important.

9. Brain cancer

The organosulfur compounds in garlic have been identified as effective in destroying cells in glioblastoma, a type of deadly brain tumor [s].

10. Contains antioxidants

Antioxidants that may help prevent Alzheimer's disease and dementia. Oxidative damage from free radicals contributes to the aging process.

Garlic contains antioxidants that support the body's protective mechanisms against oxidation [s].

High doses of garlic supplementation have been shown to increase antioxidant enzymes in humans, as well as significantly reduce oxidative stress in people with hypertension [s, s].

The combined effects on cholesterol and blood pressure lowering, as well as the antioxidant properties, may reduce the risk of common brain diseases such as Alzheimer's disease and dementia [s, s].

11. It may help you live longer

But given the beneficial effects on important risk factors like blood pressure, it makes sense that garlic could help you live longer.

The fact that it can fight infectious diseases is also an important factor, as these are common causes of death, especially in the elderly or people with compromised immune systems.

12. May protect against premature birth

Microbial infection during pregnancy increases a woman's risk of premature birth. 

Scientists at the Department of Epidemiology at the Norwegian Institute of Public Health studied the effect of foods on antimicrobial infection and the risk of preterm birth. The study and its results were published in the Journal of Nutrition [s].

The study authors concluded that, "Eating food containing antimicrobial compounds and prebiotics may be important for reducing the risk of spontaneous PTD. 

In particular, garlic was generally associated with a lower risk of spontaneous PTD."

13. May improve athletic performance

Garlic was one of the oldest "performance-enhancing" substances. It was traditionally used in ancient cultures to reduce fatigue and enhance workers' ability to work.

In particular, it was awarded to Olympic athletes in ancient Greece [s].

Rodent studies have shown garlic to aid exercise performance, but very few human studies have been done.

14. May help detoxify the body

At higher doses, the sulfur compounds in garlic have been shown to protect against organ damage due to heavy metal toxicity.

A four-week study of workers in a car battery factory (excessive exposure to lead) found that garlic reduced blood lead levels by 19%. It also reduces many clinical signs of poisoning, including headache and blood pressure [s].

15. Protects against alcohol-induced liver injury

Scientists at the Institute of Toxicology, School of Public Health, Shandong University, China, wanted to determine whether diallyl disulfide (DADS), an organosulfur compound derived from garlic, might have protective effects against ethanol-induced oxidative stress.

Their study was published in Biochimica et Biophysica Acta [s]. The researchers concluded that DADS may help protect against ethanol-induced liver injury.


16. May Improve Bone Health

No human studies have measured the effect of garlic on bone loss. One study in menopausal women found that a daily dose of dry garlic extract (equal to 2 grams of raw garlic) significantly reduced signs of estrogen deficiency [s].

A team at Kings College London and the University of East Anglia, both in England, reported in the journal BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders that women whose diets were rich in allium vegetables had lower levels of osteoporosis [s].

17. Easy to include in your diet and very tasty

Garlic is very easy (and delicious) to include in your current diet. Complements most savory dishes, especially soups and sauces. The strong taste of garlic can add punch to light recipes.

Garlic comes in many forms, from whole garlic cloves and fine pastes to powders and supplements like garlic extract and garlic oil.

18. It has health benefits that are low in calories

Garlic is a delicious way to add nutritional benefits without sacrificing many daily calories.

One clove of garlic is a great source of B6, fiber, and selenium, which may have positive effects on blood pressure, cholesterol, and bone health.

19. Possibly a powerful antibiotic

A study published in the Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy showed that dialyl sulfide [s], a compound in garlic, was 100 times more effective than two common antibiotics at fighting Campylobacter bacteria.

20. Prostate cancer

Physicians at the Department of Urology, Sino-Japanese Friendship Hospital, Beijing, China, conducted a study to evaluate the relationship between consumption of Allium vegetables and the risk of prostate cancer.

The study authors concluded that "Allium vegetables, particularly garlic intake, are associated with a reduced risk of prostate cancer." [S].


Garlic nutrition facts

Garlic also contains trace amounts of many other nutrients. In fact, it contains a little of almost everything you need.

Here are the ingredients for garlic per 100g [s]:

  • Water: 63 g
  • Energy: 143 calories
  • Nitrogen: 1.06 grams
  • Protein: 6.62 grams
  • Fat: 0.38 grams
  • Carbs: 28.2 grams
  • Dietary fiber: 2.7
  • Selenium: 9.8 mcg
  • Vitamin C, Total Ascorbic Acid: 10 mg

Garlic is also believed to be a source of amino acids and enzymes, which can help your body build muscle and protect the health of your gut, respectively.

Garlic side effects

Do not use different forms (lobes, tablets, oil, etc.) of garlic at the same time without medical advice. Using different formulations together increases the risk of an overdose.

However, keep in mind that there are some downsides to garlic. If eaten in excess, it should be used in moderation, and the benefits can backfire.

Especially if you suffer from chronic diseases or you do not suffer from anything, and there are also some people who are allergic to it.

1. It can cause some problems in the digestive system

When taken orally, it can cause bad breath, a burning sensation in the mouth or stomach, heartburn, gas, nausea, vomiting, body odor, and diarrhea.

2. Garlic may also increase the risk of bleeding

There have been reports of bleeding after surgery in people who took garlic.

Asthma has been reported in people who handle garlic, and other allergic reactions may occur.

3. May cause skin damage

Garlic products are LIKELY SAFE when applied to the skin. Gels, pastes, and mouthwashes containing garlic have been used for up to 3 months.

However, when applied to the skin, garlic may cause burn-like skin damage.

Raw garlic can be unsafe when applied to the skin. Raw garlic may cause severe skin irritation when applied to the skin.

4. Caution when pregnant and breastfeeding

Garlic is considered safe to use during pregnancy when consumed in amounts normally found in food.

Garlic is POSSIBLY UNSAFE when used in medicinal amounts during pregnancy and when breastfeeding.

There is not enough reliable information about the safety of applying garlic to the skin if you are pregnant or breast feeding. Stay on the safe side and avoid using.

5. Bleeding disorder

Garlic, especially fresh garlic, might increase the risk of bleeding. Garlic might prolong bleeding and interfere with blood pressure.

6. May lower blood sugar levels

Stop taking garlic at least 2 weeks before a scheduled surgery.

7. Caution when using it for children

Garlic is POSSIBLY SAFE when children take it in doses of up to 300 mg three times daily for up to 8 weeks.

There isn't enough reliable information to know if garlic is safe when used in larger doses or for longer than 8 weeks.



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