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7 Benefits and Side Effects of Garlic (The First One is Impressive)[Updated Feb/2023]

Garlic has been used as a miraculous herb since ancient times, and in the days when medicine was not developed, garlic was like aspirin and could treat many common diseases.

The main active ingredient in garlic comes from allicin, which is a substance formed by garlic after external destruction, which is a kind of sulfide, which has high volatility, that is, the source of strong odor.

According to current research, in addition to having excellent antibacterial effects, garlic can also protect the cardiovascular system, improve immunity, and even prevent brain aging, which can be said to be a good ingredient for people to live forever.


What are the scientifically proven benefits of eating garlic?

  1. Cardiovascular diseases

According to the Global Burden of Diseases study, cardiovascular disease is the world’s leading cause of death, and it also ranks in the top three of the top ten causes of death in Chinese areas, according to statistics, it kills tens of millions of people on the earth in just one year, among which coronary heart disease (also known as ischemic heart disease) is the most common. Note 1

Garlic extract (aged garlic extract) has been found in research to have the following effects, which can prevent cardiovascular disease from various aspects (summarized below)

  • Reduce vascular calcification (vascular calcification is one of the indicators of intravascular plaque or atherosclerosis, which can predict the incidence of cardiovascular disease) Note 2
  • Anti-platelet aggregation (allicene “Ajoene” in garlic can interfere with blood proteins, reduce blood clot formation, and avoid vascular embolism) Note 3
  • Lower cholesterol (reduce total cholesterol and low-density cholesterol by 10-15%, reduce the chance of vascular sclerosis) Notes 5-6
  • Relax blood vessels (can increase the production of nitric oxide by vascular endothelial cells to achieve the effect of relaxing blood vessels) Note 4
  1. Bacterial vaginosis

Bacterial vaginosis is an inflammatory disease caused by an imbalance of microorganisms in the vagina (caused by a decrease in lactic acid bacteria that produce antimicrobial substances and an increase in anaerobic bacteria), and the Centers for Disease Control estimates that it affects 29.2% of women aged 14 to 29.

The main symptom of bacterial vaginosis is the off-white vaginal discharge with a fishy smell, and 50% to 75% of infected patients usually have no symptoms.

A controlled study (7 days, 120 married women aged 18-44 years) found that garlic extract helped to reduce the diagnostic criteria for bacterial vaginitis (Amsel’s criteria, a decrease of up to 70%), compared to the first The antibiotic Metronidazole accounted for 48.3%, and there was no significant difference in the treatment success rate between the two groups. Note 14

Studies have also mentioned that the antibiotic treatment group has more gastrointestinal side effects, and the failure rate and recurrence rate are higher, so garlic may be a good alternative therapy, but more studies are still needed to further confirm.

  1. High blood pressure

Hypertension affects more than 10 billion people worldwide, about 4 in 1 adults, and nearly half of them are unaware of the disease due to inconspicuous symptoms.

It is estimated that about 70% of cardiovascular disease cases (stroke, heart disease, heart failure) are related to high blood pressure, which makes people have to face up to the problem.

A meta-analysis (including 17 randomized controlled studies) showed that garlic intake did help lower blood pressure (diastolic blood pressure drop of 3.39 mm, systolic blood pressure drop of 3.75 mm), especially for hypertensive patients.Note 11

The mechanism behind it is related to the antioxidant and inhibition of angiotensin-converting enzyme properties of garlic and Allicin

*(The forms used in the study are garlic powder, garlic extract and garlic extract (oil ball))

  1. Colds

Colds seem to be “minor illnesses” that are not worth making a fuss about in the general mind, but according to the survey, the average number of colds in a lifetime is 200 times, each lasting about 9 days, that is, 5 years are spent in the uncomfortable symptoms of colds

According to research published by Advances in Therapy, taking garlic extract can effectively reduce the incidence of colds by 63%, and even colds can reduce symptoms by 70%, reducing the cold recovery period from 5 days to 1.5 days. Note 8

  1. Alzheimer’s disease

Alzheimer’s disease is described as a disease more terrible than cancer, as the disease worsens, patients will lose memory and expression, but also deprive people of the most basic dignity, and Alzheimer’s disease is now known to be a neurodegenerative disease, related to the abnormal accumulation of amyloid plaques in the brain.

According to research, garlic extract (aged garlic extract) has excellent antioxidant capacity, anti-oxidation, anti-inflammatory and immune improvement effects, can prevent brain aging and improve cognitive function.Note 9

In addition, in animal studies, garlic extraction has been found to have the effect of preventing the formation of amyloid protein, thus preventing Alzheimer’s.Note 10

  1. Maintain oral health

Plaque is the enemy of teeth, causing bad breath, tooth decay and periodontal disease, if left untreated, it may cause gum inflammation and loose teeth and other diseases, and the antibacterial ingredients contained in garlic have been confirmed in research to have the effect of destroying plaque bacteria and can help maintain the health of the mouth.Note 11

  1. Eliminate heavy metals/lead from the body

Lead is currently the most common environmental heavy metal, in addition to from polluted air, even common daily necessities (such as cups and plates) may also contain high amounts of lead, and the result of long-term exposure may produce kidney disease, infertility, intellectual degeneration, hypertension and other diseases.

In one study (among battery factory employees), garlic intake was effective in reducing blood lead concentrations by 19% and improving many symptoms of lead poisoning (headache, irritability, high blood pressure), with a focus on the effect of the drug D-penicillamine. Note 12


Are there any side effects of garlic?

Garlic is generally recognized as safe food (GRAS) by the US FDA, but due to the sulfide properties of allicin, in addition to making people have a strong breath, excessive intake of raw garlic may cause side effects such as stomach pain, heartburn, diarrhea, flatulence and insomnia.

In addition, garlic has an anticoagulant effect, so it is necessary to avoid anticoagulant drugs or health foods with anticoagulant effects (such as ginkgo, gluqualein and high doses of vitamin E); In addition, purified garlic health food should be avoided for 2 weeks before surgery and production to reduce the risk of possible bleeding.

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