Bacterial infections can be caused by a wide range of bacteria, resulting in mild to life-threatening illnesses (such as bacterial meningitis) that require immediate intervention. In the United States, bacterial infections are a leading cause of death in children and the elderly (Howard BJ et al 1994). Hospitalized patients and those with chronic diseases are at especially high risk of bacterial infection (Murray et al 1998).
H. pylori is the most common chronic infection in humans (Basso D et al 2004; Go MF 2002). Acute infection causes abdominal pain, weight loss, nausea, and vomiting. H. pylori is the major cause of gastritis and peptic ulcers in adults and children (Zambon CF et al 2002). H. pylori impairs absorption of nutrients, altering the balance of iron, vitamin B12, folic acid, alpha-tocopherol, vitamin C, and beta-carotene.
Crushed garlic has potent antibacterial effects (Ankri S et al 1999; Cutler RR et al 2004; Jonkers D et al 1999; Sovova M et al 2002). It fights infection by enhancing immune cell activity and inhibiting bacteria and other microorganisms (Craig WJ 1997; Harris JC et al 2001). The compound in garlic that produces antibacterial activity is known as allicin (Ankri S et al 1999; Sovova M et al 2002). Allicin is released when intact cells of a garlic clove are cut or crushed. There is evidence that garlic is effective against antibiotic-resistant strains of Staphylococcus species, pneumonia-causing bacteria, and antibiotic-resistant strains of H. pylori (Dikasso D et al 2002; Sivam GP 2001; Tsao SM et al 2003).
Probiotics assist immune function by inhibiting harmful bacterial growth, promoting good digestion, maintaining proper pH, and enhancing immune function (Perdigon G et al 1995). Probiotics produce bacteria-inhibiting substances (natural antibiotics) and prevent harmful bacteria from attaching to vaginal, urinary, and intestinal tract mucosal linings (Ochmanski W et al 1999; Vaughan EE et al 1999). Probiotics have demonstrated In vitro ability to suppress H. pylori (Cremonini F et al 2001; Drouin E 1999; Felley C et al 2003; Johnson-Henry KC et al 2004; Wang KY et al 2004).
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