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Garlic and Onion Overview

Garlic and onions are sulfur-containing edible plants that have several active compounds. Called “the stinking rose” garlic has been used for centuries for its reported benefits in promoting heart health and preventing infection. More recently, we know that it reduces cholesterol and triglycerides; inhibits platelet aggregation (thins blood); and lowers blood pressure.

Garlic’s various sulfur compounds, isolated from the raw clove, include alliin, allicin, S-allyl-cysteine, S-methyl-cysteine and many others are found in varying concentrations in garlic, chives, leeks, shallots and onions. The chemical responsible for the pungent smell of garlic, allicin, is produced from alliin via the action of alliinase and is thought to be responsible for the health effects associated with garlic supplements. Large doses of garlic of 4-10 grams per day have been more consistently associated with beneficial effects.

Dosage: The German Commission E monographs recommend a dose of 4 grams of fresh garlic per day to lower blood lipids. This amount of garlic would be equivalent to approximately 18,000 mcg (18 mg) of alliin (9 mg of allicin) and 500 mcg of S-allyl cysteine.

Side Effects: Adverse side effects are rare. Occasionally, mild gastrointestinal symptoms such as heart burn and nausea may occur with high intakes. In some cases, high doses of garlic may potentiate the anti-thrombotic (blood-thinning) effects of anti-inflammatory medications such as aspirin and dietary supplements such as vitamin E and fish oil.


Research Overview

1. Acts as an antioxidant
2. Lowers blood pressure
3. Lowers LDL cholesterol
4. Helps to reduce atherosclerotic buildup (plaque)
5. Helps to regulate blood sugar
6. Helps to prevent blood clots from forming
7. Helps to prevent cancer, preventing the further growth of certain tumors while reducing the size of others
8. Raw garlic is a potent natural antibiotic
9. Has anti-fungal and anti-viral properties
10. Reduces yeast infections due to Candida species
11. Has anti-oxidant properties
12. Is a natural source of selenium.

Garlic and onion Citations (57)