Garlic – Boost Immunity, Heart Health and Live Longer

Garlic health benefits

Garlic Health Benefits

Garlic is another one which fits into the everyday ingredient / supplement category (like ginger – click to read our article about it). These are generally defined by a couple of factors:

  1. When added to food as an ingredient in suitable quantities, they exert healthy benefits
  2. When increased to supplement dosage levels, further benefits present themselves

With garlic, it could potentially be fully dosed via food intake but the resulting smelly breath might be a downer for everyone else around you.

There are several interesting properties of garlic that you may want to learn more about if you are concerned about preparing a lot of it in meals. Here’s a great blog we found that covers the little-known facts about garlic well. []

For the purposes of this article, there are a number of points which are important to convey with respect to supplementation of garlic…before you go eating cloves by the handful.

Key Points and Benefits

The points below are important to grasp before rushing ahead and eating too much:

  • In supplement form, 600 – 1200 mg (0.6 – 1.2 grams) split into a few doses is recommended
  • Raw garlic – 2 to 3 cloves (single segments of bulb) spread across equal number of meals
  • Aged garlic is often used as it doesn’t have the fresh garlic scent
  • Sliced or crushed garlic can be roasted or grilled without losing valuable compounds
  • Microwaving it partially destroys them
  • Garlic is very beneficial, but too much is toxic: 17 grams (for 150 lb person), 22 grams (for 200 lb person)

The benefits are quite powerful. Unlike a lot of ingredients, garlic might be a game changer for some people.

  • Improves Cardio-Vascular Health reliably
  • Reduces Blood Pressure
  • Reduces Frequency of Sickness. Studies show up to 70% reduction of common cold freq.
  • Heightened Immunity
  • Increased Nitric Oxide (improved blood flow)
  • Antioxidant
  • Reduction in Prostate Hypertrophy
  • Anti-Aging
Garlic Cloves

Garlic Overview

Garlic is one of the more bitter-sweet vegetables in the kitchen. Not in terms of taste of course, but for the fact that it is one of those that can reach the ‘socially awkward’ marker on the smelly breath scale, despite offering some unique and potent benefits.

Too much of the stuff and you won’t just be scaring away vampires, you’ll have your friends wishing they hadn’t asked you if they can check out your new tongue piercing.

There are ways, however, to mitigate the smell and still get the excellent health benefits listed in the previous section.

Aged garlic is one route. The fresh kind is the most pungent and so for supplemental purposes might not be the best.

A capsule supplement is another way to take the dosage you need without much preparation, if any, and avoid the dragon breath simultaneously. Of course, this means purchasing a product that will usually be more expensive than a few bulbs of garlic (the difference is not that big though, you’d be surprised).

The benefits present themselves via increased hydrogen sulphide signalling throughout the body. This comes from the action of crushing, chewing or otherwise disturbing the cloves. The alliin releases its metabolite allicin, which turns into fat and water soluble sulphur containing compounds.

These compounds are reactive and produce the hydrogen sulphide / sulfide.

This HS signalling system is responsible for relaxing blood vessels, thus providing cardio-vascular benefits and others such as anti-cancer benefits.

As you have probably worked out, it is also responsible for the smell of garlic. Therefore, aside from aged garlic, fresh garlic is still one of the best ways to supplement it (unfortunately).

Be sure to read the Usage and Dosage Guidelines below to ensure you understand the recommended dosage, and the upper safety limits/

Usage and Dosage Guidelines

the scientific studies involving human subjects and garlic range between a 600 and 1200mg (per day) dosage.

This appears to represent a useful average dose. It should be split up and taken alongside 3 meals a day.

The smallest amount which still confers some benefit is equivalent to a single clove (segments of bulb).

Dosages begin touching the lowest toxic value at about 17 grams for a 150 lb person. Heavier people can no doubt consume more and be safe but in our opinion 17 grams is enough to use as a cut-off.

Aged garlic in the form of a supplement is a good choice for those looking to avoid the breath problems. Fresh garlic can be used and one can supplement entirely via adding it to recipes. You may risk alienating friends and loved ones this way (only partly kidding!).

going back to the 1200 mg per day (this is 1.2 grams); this seems perfectly viable for a daily dose which brings virtually all of the wonderful health benefits.

Is Garlic Safe – Are There Side Effects?

We have mentioned that there is a point at which garlic becomes toxic. It starts at around 17 grams per day for a 150 lb person.

Garlic Oil is particularly associated with the compounds (diallyl sulfides) which are the potentially toxic agents.

The dose is well above the recommended supplemental dose. Nonetheless, care should be taken with garlic oil as it is the easiest of the forms to ‘overdo’ in cooking applications etc.

Conclusion and Recommendations

Garlic is a no-brainer really. It’s not often that an everyday vegetable can offer so many benefits, specifically in the category of life quality and longevity.

It is synonymous with pretty nasty breath if its overdone in meals, but there is the option to supplement with an aged garlic product which should almost completely remove that problem.

Our recommendation would be to take 1000mg to 1200mg (1 – 1.2 grams) per day, split into 3 doses throughout the day.

If you roughly double that to 2500mg (2.5 grams) per day you will be taking the dose found to reduce the frequency of common cold by a possible 70%.

As usual, continue reading for the Scientific Support section where we display some of the more important studies that have been carried out with garlic. You can also find more specific detail with respect to benefits and dosages used here.

Scientific Support for Garlic

Cardio-Vascular, Cholesterol, Blood Lipids

HDL (“good cholesterol”) is increased reliably and is paired with a reduction in LDL (“bad cholesterol”).

The effect can be in the range of 15% (increase) for HDL and up to 20% (decrease) for LDL giving quite a positive combined change.

Kojuri J et al. Effects of anethum graveolens and garlic on lipid profile in hyperlipidemic patients. March 2007. []

Adler AJ, Holub BJ. Effect of garlic and fish-oil supplementation on serum lipid and lipoprotein concentrations in hypercholesterolemic men. Feb 1997. []

Ried K et al. Effect of garlic on serum lipids: an updated meta-analysis. May 2013. []

Sobenin IA. Lipid-lowering effects of time-released garlic powder tablets in double-blinded placebo-controlled randomized study. Dec 2008. []

Blood Pressure

The blood pressure reduction is particularly impressive in people suffering with hypertension, though it does occur with less magnitude in people with normal BP…exactly the non-linear effect that benefits all.

Ried K et al. Aged garlic extract reduces blood pressure in hypertensives: a dose-response trial. Jan 2013. []

Dhawan V, Jain S. Garlic supplementation prevents oxidative DNA damage in essential hypertension. July 2005. []

Adler AJ, Holub BJ. Effect of garlic and fish-oil supplementation on serum lipid and lipoprotein concentrations in hypercholesterolemic men. Feb 1997. []

Steiner M et al. A double-blind crossover study in moderately hypercholesterolemic men that compared the effect of aged garlic extract and placebo administration on blood lipids. Dec 1996. []*

Ried K et al. Aged garlic extract lowers blood pressure in patients with treated but
uncontrolled hypertension: a randomised controlled trial. Oct 2010. []

Ashraf R et al. Effects of Allium sativum (garlic) on systolic and diastolic blood pressure in patients with essential hypertension. Sep 2013. []

Sobenin IA. Lipid-lowering effects of time-released garlic powder tablets in double-blinded placebo-controlled randomized study. Dec 2008. []*

*repeated reference from CV, cholesterol and lipids studies

Rate of Sickness

Here is perhaps the most effective beneficial property. Garlic reduces the frequency of the common cold by up to 70%.

The dose required is higher than the earlier recommended dose at 2.5 grams per day but well within safety limits.

Aged garlic and alliin extracts are as effective as one another.

Josling P. Preventing the common cold with a garlic supplement: a double-blind, placebo-controlled survey. July 2001. []

Nantz MP et al. Supplementation with aged garlic extract improves both NK and γδ-T cell function and reduces the severity of cold and flu symptoms: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled nutrition intervention. June 2012. []

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