There are dozens of scientific studies and meta-analyses on the effectiveness of garlic and allicin:
Improvement of the lipid profile;
Blood pressure reduction;
Reduction of the incidence of illness and duration of colds;
Antimicrobial and antifungal properties;
Antitumor and anticancer properties;
Dose: 500-1500 mg/day
Forms to use: Odor-Controlled Garlic (Allium sativum)
Time Taken: 2-3 times per day
We've all heard of the vegetable garlic.
It has been an addition to almost every meal among the older generations and it has been used in non-traditional medicine for many years for the treatment of all sorts of diseases.
It has a complex of amazing properties that have an extremely favorable impact on our entire organism.
These almost magical properties are due to a substance, called allicin, and we will pay some special attention to it in this material.
What Is Allicin?
Allicin is a substance containing organic sulfur and it was originally isolated from two American chemists - Chester J.
Cavallito and John Hays Bailey in 1944.
Allicin is obtained through crushing and damaging the integrity of the garlic cloves.
It is a very interesting fact that allicin is initially not present in the garlic cloves.
There are two completely different substances in various parts of the healthy garlic cloves: alliin and the enzyme alliinase.
Only when the cloves are crushed and their integrity is damaged, the alliinase enzyme catalyzes the formation of allicin from the available alliin.
While alliin has no odor or color, it is the substance allicin, which gives garlic its strong smell and hotness.
It is a light yellow, oily liquid similar to vegetable oil. It is believed that allicin, with its strong smell and hotness, is the way garlic protects itself from various pests that would prevent it from developing as a vegetable.
Garlic can improve the ability of white blood cells to destroy invaders.
It also increases the production of T-cells, another one of the body’s defenses.
Due to these two properties, garlic can reduce the risk of infections and the common cold by as much as 60%.
Garlic supplementation will not reduce the severity of symptoms or the duration of illness.
It is a preventative supplement.
Proven And Potential Benefits For Humans
There are dozens of scientific studies and meta-analyses on the effectiveness of garlic and allicin.
Unfortunately, the information is too controversial and at this stage, garlic can be considered as food with great potential, but also with a big question mark.
Nevertheless, the different properties, found in numerous scientific studies, deserve to be mentioned.
Improvement of the lipid profile:
One of the notable positive effects of garlic is its power to improve the lipid profile.
There is a significant reduction of the total cholesterol and "bad" (LDL-C) cholesterol, at the expense of an increase in the "good" cholesterol (HDL-C).
There is also a reduction of the levels of triglycerides in the blood.
Unfortunately, a large meta-analysis of 2001 showed that these effects can be considered short-term, as there are no data for studies lasting more than six months.
Blood pressure reduction:
Another beneficial effect of the intake of garlic is its property to reduce blood pressure.
There is a reduction in the range of about 10% in people, suffering from hypertension, while in individuals with normal blood pressure there is almost no change observed.
Other research, however, has failed to find such a positive effect.
Reduction of the incidence of illness and duration of colds:
There are only two studies, but the results are impressive.
If you regularly eat garlic, the chance of getting sick from the common cold can be reduced to 60%.
If, however, the virus gets you, it is possible the duration of the disease to be reduced by up to 70%.
However, more data are needed for the consolidation of the results and allegations.
Antimicrobial and antifungal properties:
Several types of research have concluded that allicin has good antimicrobial and antifungal properties due to chemical reactions with the thiol groups of various enzymes.
Antitumor and anticancer properties:
Garlic is one of the most frequently mentioned foods when it comes to the treatment or prevention of cancer.
There are some epidemiological and correlative scientific papers, showing the great potential of garlic as a precaution means against gastric and colorectal cancer, but for all other types of cancer, clinical studies have been conducted only on animals without satisfactory results.
More work is needed in this direction.
How Can We Obtain Allicin And On What Doses?
One way to obtain allicin is to eat garlic as food. 1 gram of minced garlic contains between 2.5mg and 4.5 mg of allicin.
Be careful if you love cooking with garlic, as high temperatures can destroy the enzyme alliinase therein.
Thus the formation of allicin becomes impossible and the beneficial properties are lost.
Some experiments have confirmed the preservation of much of the allicin when garlic is chopped or squashed and left like that for about 10 minutes before being subjected to heat treatment.
The optimal daily intake is about 2-3 large cloves garlic.
As a dietary supplement:
Pure allicin is not produced in the form of a dietary supplement since it is extremely unstable.
Within a few hours, the unstable allicin breaks down into several other, more stable sulfur-containing substances.
Therefore, its obtaining as a dietary supplement is again primarily through garlic that has passed various manufacturing processes.
There are several types of products that you may encounter:
Dried garlic powder – the products in this form are manufactured from chopped or squashed garlic cloves, which are dried at a low temperature in order the enzyme alliinase to be preserved. The powder is then pulverized and made in the form of a tablet or capsule. Since the enzyme alliinase is easily destroyed by the stomach acid, the products must have an enteric coating, which allows their safe passage through the stomach and their reaching of the intestine. Some product manufacturers indicate the potential amount of allicin, which can be taken with the respective dose (allicin potential);
Garlic oil – you will see it mainly in the form of pills or oil;
Old garlic extract – this type of products is again most often found in the form of pills. It is important to note, however, that its process of production is completely different - much more efficient and effective. Garlic is collected, cut and stored in stainless steel tanks, in aqueous ethanol for up to 20 months and the final product usually has no odor of garlic. The dose as a food supplement may vary depending on the form and concentration of the product. Those products in the form of oils, tablets, and capsules will most often be seen in doses of 500 mg. Their optimal dose would be about 1000 to 1500 mg per day, taken once or several times. In other products, you will see not 500g, but 50 mg dose. They contain highly concentrated old garlic extract, so 100-150 mg would suffice as a daily dose.
Contraindications And Side Effects
Garlic, in the form of food or dietary supplement, is well tolerated by nearly all people, as the most commonly reported side effects are unpleasant breath and body odor.
Some people with higher sensitivity are possible to obtain abdominal pain, nausea, diarrhea, and other short-term problems.
Garlic has the ability to slow down the platelet aggregation (blood clotting).
Therefore you should be careful when you take it together with drugs for the same purpose or with supplements with the similar effect (fish oil, vitamin E). Although a rare occurrence, there is evidence of symptoms of allergic reactions when taking garlic.
Garlic can lead to toxicity at higher doses.
The upper limit of the intake varies and depends on the person's weight - the heavier you are, the more garlic you can take. It is advisable not pass the limit of 15-20 cloves of garlic a day. There is insufficient data on its effect on pregnant or lactating women.
Allicin is garlic’s secret weapon.
It makes it a unique kind of food with great potential.
Despite the conflicting data, if you do not have a problem with its odor and hotness, we strongly recommend that you add a few cloves of garlic to your diet.