Health Effects Of Garlic
ELLEN TATTELMAN, M.D., Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University, Bronx, New York
Am Fam Physician. 2005 Jul 1 72:103-106.
Garlic has long been used medicinally, most recently for its cardiovascular, antineoplastic, and antimicrobial properties. Sulfur compounds, including allicin, appear to be the active components in the root bulb of the garlic plant. Studies show significant but modest lipid-lowering effects and antiplatelet activity. Significant blood pressure reduction is not consistently noted. There is some evidence for antineoplastic activity and insufficient evidence for clinical antimicrobial activity. Side effects generally are mild and uncommon. Garlic appears to have no effect on drug metabolism, but patients taking anticoagulants should be cautious. It seems prudent to stop taking high dosages of garlic seven to 10 days before surgery because garlic can prolong bleeding time.
Garlic has been used for thousands of years for medicinal purposes. Sanskrit records show its medicinal used about 5,000 years ago, and it has been used for at least 3,000 years in Chinese medicine. The Egyptians, Babylonians, Greeks, and Romans used garlic for healing purposes.1 In 1858, Pasteur noted garlics antibacterial activity, and it was used as an antiseptic to prevent gangrene during World War I and World War II.2
The Biting Fighting Garlic
A 2016 review of studies on garlic determined that garlic has the potential to reduce total cholesterol up to 30 milligrams per deciliter .
Try simmering whole cloves of garlic in olive oil until theyre soft, and use them as a spread on foods you find bland. Garlic tastes better than butter, and its a whole lot healthier particularly for lowering cholesterol.
Journal of Nutrition found that regular intake of shiitake mushrooms in rodents appears to have cholesterol-lowering affects. This confirms earlier studies with similar results.
Although shiitake mushrooms have been the subject of much of the research, many other varieties available in the supermarket or at your local farmers market are also thought to be helpful for lowering cholesterol.
Salsa Pico De Gallo And More
Forget about mayo or ketchup. Get out your chefs knife and start chopping. Throw together fresh tomatoes, onion, garlic, cilantro, and other heart-healthy ingredients for fresh dips that make snacking healthier.
Be careful with store-bought salsa, which is often high in sodium. You may need to closely monitor your sodium intake if you have heart disease or high blood pressure.
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Garlic Doesn’t Help High Cholesterol
Garlic doesnt do much for the breath and it stinks for lowering cholesterol. Thats the conclusion of the most rigorous, head-to-head study of raw garlic and popular garlic supplements, despite promoters claims to the contrary.
Whether it was eaten raw in heart-healthy sandwiches, or in pills made of powdered or aged garlic, the strong-smelling herb had no effect on cholesterol in people whose levels were already elevated, the government-funded study found.
If garlic was going to have a chance to work, it would have worked in this study, said researcher Christopher Gardner. But it didnt.
Garlic is a longtime folk remedy for a variety of ills, including heart disease, cancer, infections and even mosquito bites. Scientific research on its purported benefits has had conflicting results. Some previous studies suggested garlic might help lower risks for digestive and prostate cancers, or might reduce blood pressure and cholesterol levels others found no benefit.
Health benefits have been thought to come from a sulfur-containing substance called allicin that is released when raw garlic is chopped or crushed. In lab tests, it can be applied directly to cells and has been shown to prevent cholesterol production.
But any direct benefits to the body from allicin may be diluted when garlic is eaten, said Gardner, an assistant professor of medicine at Stanford University.
The study appears in Mondays Archives of Internal Medicine.
Dietary Approaches To Lowering Cholesterol
Eating more foods with fiber, soy, omega-3 fatty acids, and plant compounds similar to cholesterol can lower LDL cholesterol, or bad cholesterol.
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Can Give Good Hdl Cholesterol A Boost
While garlic may have potential to lower levels of total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, and triglycerides, the good news is it may not adversely impact levels of the good high density cholesterol in your body. Some studies record a 15 percent rise in HDL levels with garlic supplementation for 6 weeks.7 Researchers in another small study found that after taking garlic extract for 4 months, people with high cholesterol levels saw an improved blood lipid profile, with levels of good HDL cholesterol actually going up.8
Can Bring Down Total Cholesterol Ldl Cholesterol And Triglyceride Levels
- Aged garlic extract supplementation was seen to help bring down total cholesterol by as much as 7 percent in one study. When men with hypercholesterolemia took this extract, their low-density lipoprotein cholesterol came down by 10 percent.2
- Another study revealed that taking garlic in the form of 2 daily doses of garlic powder tablets for 6 weeks helped bring down total cholesterol by 12 percent and LDL cholesterol by 17 percent in subjects with a cholesterol problem. Triglyceride levels also reduced by 6 percent.3
- Taking half a clove or a clove of garlic, or the equivalent of this in other forms, has been seen to bring down total cholesterol levels by as much as 9 percent in people whose cholesterol levels were greater than 5.17 mmol/L in another study.4
- An animal study found that giving test subjects raw aqueous extract of garlic reduced not just their total and LDL cholesterol, but also brought down their triglyceride levels.5
- That said, there are also studies which peg the results at a much lower figure, saying you should expect a total cholesterol-lowering effect of 4 to 6 percent, and not twice that amount as some studies have shown.6
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Three Reasons A Heart Loves Garlic
Research shows that garlic has many different health benefits, including some that can help your heart.
- Garlic is an excellent source of antioxidants, which can help fight infection and cell damage.
- Several studies have shown that garlic can help lower blood pressure.
When it comes to lowering your cholesterol and improving heart health, there are a lot of foods that can help. But if you’re looking for a way to add flavor to a dish while also helping your heart, garlic may be the answer.
Some studies have shown that garlic and garlic supplements may have positive effects on heart health by preventing cell damage, regulating cholesterol and lowering blood pressure. Other research shows that garlic supplements may also reduce plaque buildup in the arteries.
Don’t let something like a little garlic breath scare you away from this superfood. Here are a few benefits to adding garlic or garlic supplements to your diet:
1. Helps boost your immune system and protect cells
Our bodies need antioxidants to help prevent or slow cell damage caused by unstable molecules called “free radicals.” Free radicals can be naturally occurring in the body or can come from external sources such as radiation exposure, smoking, air pollution or chemicals. Too many free radicals can lead to oxidation stress, a condition linked to chronic illnesses, including heart disease.
2. Helps lower your blood pressure
3. Helps combat atherosclerosis
How Many Cloves Of Garlic Should You Eat A Day
Raw garlic also retains more allicin, which is the sulfur-containing compound responsible for many of garlics beneficial health effects. For best results, aim for around 12 cloves per day and reduce your intake if you experience any side effects, such as heartburn, acid reflux, or increased bleeding.
How Much Garlic Should I Eat A Day
Moreover, garlic is well-tolerable by most people. Its unlikely to cause any side effects. Its much safer than conventional cholesterol-lowering medications. Hence, people with slightly elevated cholesterol could start eating garlic regularly.
There isnt a standard recommended daily dose for garlic, though. In studies, researchers used daily dosages of 0.3-20g.
Thus, a tsp of garlic powder a day, as part of a healthy, well-balanced, low-in-saturated-fats diet, seems to be a pretty beneficial dose. Its about 3 grams.
This dose of garlic is good for weight loss as well.
In any case, you should start consuming low amounts of garlic, steadily increasing them. High amounts of garlic may cause heartburn or stomach disturbances to people with a sensitive stomach. Also, people who take blood thinners should consult their physician before consuming garlic. It may increase the risk of bleeding.
Last, you should consume garlic for 2-3 months, in order, to help you lower elevated cholesterol.
Why Dont We Consider Cholesterol As An Enemy Of Health
We have already told you in the article that cholesterol is not bad for our health, in fact, it now seems to be the real enemy, although it has been severely criticized . Because of the wide variety), is that cholesterol is essential for our body.
It is a lipid that is very actively involved in various important functions of our body. For example, it is part of the plasma membrane, a precursor of sex hormones , a precursor of adrenocorticotropic hormones , a precursor of vitamin D and a component of bile salts, thus helping to digest fats.
Therefore, cholesterol is essential and only becomes a problem when blood cholesterol levels are high. In other words, it becomes a problem when total cholesterol levels exceed 200 mg/dL or low-density lipoprotein levels exceed 130 mg/dL.
On the other hand, your cardiovascular health risk is particularly high if your high-density lipoprotein level is below 35 mg/dL. 40 mg/dL for men women.
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Lower Ldl Levels Are Better
In a JAMA editorial accompanying the study, Christopher P. Cannon, MD, of Brigham and Womens Hospital and Harvard Medical School wrote that aggressive LDL lowering is the ideal lower is better.
The JAMA studys findings echo those of another large 4,162-patient study, published in the New England Journal of Medicine. It concluded that LDL cholesterol levels of 62 were even better than levels of 95 at preventing death, heart attacks, and other cardiovascular-related problems in people with heart disease.
More Reasons To Love Garlic
Garlic’s benefits don’t just stop with the heart. Here are some other reasons why your body may appreciate an extra dose of this onion family member.
Research suggests eating fresh garlic may help reduce the risk of colorectal cancer. The Iowa Women’s Health Study showed that women who regularly included garlic in their diet had a 35% reduced risk of developing colon cancer. However, researchers agree that more studies are needed in this area.
Garlic contains the antimicrobial allicin, which can help fight off pathogens and bacteria. While all members of the onion family have some form of this antimicrobial, garlic has the highest amount.
More information is needed to determine if there are any possible bacteria-fighting effects of garlic. However, a 2018 study showed that garlic essential oil might help fight Lyme disease bacteria.
Fighting the common cold
Some studies suggest eating garlic helps ward off the common cold. It may also help reduce overall symptoms and shorten your bout with the coughs and runny noses associated with colds.
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Contraindications Adverse Effects Interactions
The ingestion of one to two cloves of raw garlic per day is considered safe in adults. The most common side effect of ingested garlic is breath and body odor. Consumption of excessive amounts of raw garlic, especially on an empty stomach, can cause gastrointestinal upset, flatulence, and changes in the intestinal flora.1,10 There have been reports of allergic dermatitis, burns, and blisters from topical application of raw garlic.10
Garlic appears to have no effect on drug metabolism,22 although recent studies23,24 in healthy volunteers show conflicting results related to garlics effect on protease inhibitor pharmacokinetics. It has been suggested that patients taking anticoagulants use caution when taking garlic because of its antithrombotic properties.10,22 It seems prudent to stop taking high dosages of garlic seven to 10 days before surgery because garlic can prolong bleeding time and has been associated with spontaneous spinal epidural hematoma.10,25
How Many Cloves Per Day Is Safe
If you are facing the problem of trembling hands and feet, you can consume 1-2 cloves with lukewarm water before bedtime. You will get benefit in a few days. To get rid of the problem of cold, cough, viral infection, bronchitis, sinus, asthma etc., you should consume cloves daily.
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Chew A Clove Of Garlic
The first remedy is the simplest of the 3 to lower cholesterol with garlic. However, theres one slight drawback you have to eat raw garlic.
Many people prefer to swallow the clove or parts of it to avoid its taste and odor. However, this study shows that this can reduce its effectiveness, compared to eating it chewed or crushed.
The Bottom Line On Garlic
Considering the conflicting evidence, what’s the advice for adding garlic or garlic supplements to your daily regimen? If you enjoy garlic, many experts recommend focusing on eating fresh garlic with your meals, rather than garlic supplements.
“Personally, I would recommend consuming garlic in more of my meals rather than taking a pill,” says Melissa Rifkin, RD, a bariatric dietitian at Montefiore Medical Center in New York, City.
“And from a cost perspective, it’s likely more affordable. Fish and garlic have synergistic properties, which means when the two are paired, the cholesterol-reducing properties in both the fish oils and garlic are known to reduce your risk of heart disease, reduce inflammation and lower cholesterol, triglycerides and blood pressure. Together, they have more power to improve blood chemistry,” explains Rifkin.
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Guide For Lowering Cholesterol Naturally
The complete Pritikin Program for lowering cholesterol with little or no medication. Includes recipes and 5-day meal plan. The Ultimate Guide for Lowering LDL Cholesterol Naturally
If your LDL levels are still too high after trying these 6 nutrition-based approaches, talk to your doctor about cholesterol-lowering medications like statins, but give these 6 tips your best shot, encourages Dr. Danine Fruge, MD, ABFP, Medical Director at the Pritikin Longevity Center. The right eating plan, like Pritikin, can be powerfully beneficial and there are no adverse side effects.
Eat More Plant Sources Of Protein
Excellent plant proteins include beans all beans, like lentils, red beans, pinto beans, and soybeans. Rather than raising blood cholesterol levels, as animal sources of protein do, beans actually help lower cholesterol.
Beans also help reduce blood sugar and insulin levels, and may even lower cancer risk.
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Top 10 Cholesterol Lowering Foods
Cholesterol is a steroid lipid present in the blood, necessary for the proper functioning of cell membranes and the production of vitamin D and certain hormones.
High cholesterol levels are a risk factor for heart disease and stroke. Cholesterol-lowering foods are therefore a great addition to anyones diet for optimal health and as a preventative measure.
Cholesterol-lowering foods include oat bran, flax seeds, garlic, almonds, walnuts, whole barley, and green tea. Below is a detailed list of foods which lower bad LDL cholesterol, while leaving the good HDL cholesterol largely unaffected.
The Verdict: Garlic Helps But Wont Do It Alone
Some researchers say that taking garlic as a supplement with a view to lowering lipid levels cannot be widely recommended as the evidence isnât strong enough.14 They warn that you shouldnât expect to see a miraculous change in your cholesterol numbers. It might help, but may not be good enough to warrant going off any of your medication.
Incidentally, there has been a lot of debate around whether high cholesterol levels do have an adverse effect on your heart health and longevity. While the cholesterolâheart disease conundrum is yet to be resolved, what is emerging is that you need to keep an eye on chronic inflammation that your body is subjected to, be it through processed and refined foods, stress, or a sedentary lifestyle. One hypothesis considers chronic inflammation the trigger for increased cholesterol production. High cholesterol or hypercholesterolemia is, in turn, also linked to increased inflammation.15 It may also affect your liver and kidney and increase the risk of obesity and diabetes. Fortunately, garlic may have a positive impact here thanks to its anti-inflammatory properties, helping counter the inflammation.16
The bottom line? Donât expect garlic to be a miracle cure or a free pass to ignore your cardiovascular health. That said, it is a good addition to your diet as part of a holistic plan to improve your cholesterol levels, alongside lifestyle changes and other dietary interventions.
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What About Garlic And Cholesterol
While some studies have shown that garlic can benefit cholesterol levels, more research is needed. In particular, scientists are looking to learn more about its long-term effect on cholesterol and the heart.
Cholesterol is a waxy substance that circulates in your blood. There are two types of cholesterol: “bad” cholesterol, or LDL cholesterol, and “good” cholesterol, or HDL cholesterol. Having too much LDL cholesterol and low levels of HDL cholesterol in your blood can raise your risk for severe health problems.
A 2016 study published in the International Journal of Preventive Medicine concluded that a garlic-lemon juice mixture may benefit cholesterol. The small study, which involved 112 people ages 30-60, showed that garlic and lemon juice helped decrease total cholesterol and lower blood pressure. However, researchers recorded the results after only eight weeks.
An analysis of studies done between 1955-2013 also showed that garlic “moderately to significantly” lowers total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol levels. When taken for more than two months, the garlic helped reduce total cholesterol by 8%.