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Home > Research Department  > Supplement Articles > Garlic
    Supplement Articles  
GARLIC
Articles by a Naturopathic Doctor (N.D.)
Last Updated: September 11th, 2015

More than just a spice for cooking, garlic can actually improve your health in many different ways...

GARLIC

Garlic has been proven to reduce cholesterol

Garlic is a popular herb in the kitchen and in the medicine cabinet, and has been for thousands of years in many different cultures around the world. The herb that we use is actually the bulb of the Allium sativum plant. The cloves of the bulb contain active sulphur compounds called alliin, allicin, and S-allyl cysteine. These constituents have been well studied for their various health benefits.
Garlic has many benefits for cardiovascular health, including cholesterol regulation, blood pressure lowering, and improved circulation. It also helps to regulate blood sugar levels, and acts as a potent antimicrobial.

Cardiovascular Benefits
Garlic intake is shown to decrease levels of LDL cholesterol, which is the "bad" cholesterol responsible for cholesterol plaques and the storage of fat, and triglycerides. Garlic also increases levels of HDL cholesterol, which is the "good" cholesterol responsible for moving stored and deposited fat to the liver for processing and removal from the body. HDL cholesterol protects against plaque formation. Garlic preparations have also been found to lower blood pressure and improve blood circulation. Thus, garlic can be used to reduce the risk of stroke and heart attack. Aged garlic extract is the form that has been studied for its cardiovascular benefits. For more ways to improve your cardiovascular health, please click here.

Blood Sugar Regulation

Garlic has beneficial effects on balancing blood sugar as well. The pancreas releases insulin in response to sugar intake. It acts to promote the intake of glucose by all the cells of the body to use as a fuel source. Without proper insulin levels, any sugar absorbed stays in the blood, causing high blood sugar, while the body cells become starved for energy. Eventually the pancreas becomes worn out and does not produce as much insulin or the body's cells become less sensitive after years of high insulin levels. This is what happens in diabetes. For more information on diabetes, please click here. Garlic can increase the release of insulin and help the body's cells become more sensitive to the insulin present.

Antimicrobial

For thousands of years, garlic has been used as an antimicrobial and anti-parasitic herb. It has been used topically for infections of the skin, wound care and even acne. It is commonly used for bacterial and fungal infections both inside and outside the body as well. Oral supplementation or eating garlic can help to fight systemic infections like parasites, bronchitis, and digestive infections. Research has shown that garlic can be taken as a prophylactic during cold and flu season to help protect against infection. For more information on cold and flu, please click here. Interestingly, garlic cloves can be perforated and inserted into the vagina attached to a string to treat a yeast infection. For more information on the treatment of Yeast Infections, please click here.

Other Benefits
Garlic is believed to help with healthy hair growth. This is because of its high levels of allicin and sulfur. It is not often used in acne medications but garlic is often used as a home remedy to reduce blemishes. The antioxidants found in garlic kills the bacteria that causes acne. Garlic not only keep vampires from drinking your blood it also protects you from mosquitoes. A study conducted in India found that those who rubbed a garlic concoction on themselves were not bothered by mosquitoes. The reason behind this is inconclusive. Garlic is thought to be able to remove splitters. Placing a slice of garlic over the splitter and covering with a band-aid or duct tape has been a folk remedy for years.

Medicinal Food

Garlic is a medicinal food because the active ingredients are present in the cloves in sufficient quantities to have some medicinal effects. It is best to eat raw garlic, because the active sulphur compounds are sensitive to heat and can be destroyed by cooking.

How can I get more garlic?

Garlic supplements are found as encapsulated herb, tablets and aged extracts (oils). These products should be standardized as an assurance of the amount of sulphur compounds they contain. There are many types of garlic supplements, choose the best one for you and consider combination products that target your particular needs. Garlic can be found in combination products for immune boosting, cholesterol control, blood pressure regulation, and heart health.

What about stinky breath?
Although eating large amounts of garlic and supplementing with some forms of garlic can cause halitosis and a garlicky body odour, this doesn't have to be the case. Garlic naturally contains allyl methyl sulfide (AMS), which is the compound responsible for halitosis. Many supplements come in an odourless form to help prevent this nasty side effect. Keep in mind that for respiratory infections, these supplements do not contain the AMS that naturally travels to the lungs and may not work as quickly. Also, some people say that the body odour and breath side effects decrease when garlic is used regularly.

Garlic– QUICK FACTS

PARTS USED

·  Bulb.

APPLICATIONS

·  Bacterial or fungal infections, heart disease, hypertension, high cholesterol.

OPTIMUM DOSAGE

· Capsules 800-1200mg daily, equivalent to 1200mg of fresh garlic or standardized to 4mg allicin potential.  Aged extract 600-1800mg daily, standardized to contain 1mg/g S-allyl cysteine. (Clinical doses may be higher as recommended by your practitioner).

WORKS WELL WITH

·  Echinacea, goldenseal, vitamin C, niacin, coenzyme Q10.

IMPORTANT INFORMATION

click for products

·  Garlic can cause burning stomach pain and diarrhea in sensitive individuals.

·  Garlic should not be used with blood thinners and should be discontinued 2 weeks prior to surgery.

·  Individuals who use blood sugar regulating medication, insulin or high blood pressure medication should use garlic with caution.

·  Very high levels of garlic consumption can decrease thyroid functioning.

·  Garlic supplementation may reduce the effectiveness of some birth control pills.

For informational purposes only. Please consult your health care practitioner before taking natural health care products. Click here for full disclaimer.


All articles copyright National Nutrition 2001 - 2015. For educational purposes only. Please note that while National Nutrition supports your right to use natural health care products for any therapeutic purpose that you see fit, that the information on this website should not be considered as a claim or as a substitute for medical advice.

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