Garlic might not have been that helpful in warding off the plague in the Middle Ages or deterring the vampires and evil spirits of European folklore, but the people of the past weren’t far off in thinking it was good for you.
Garlic has been a staple in various cuisines for centuries, not just for its robust flavor but also for its health benefits. Today, garlic supplements offer a convenient way to get these benefits without having to eat cloves of garlic. These supplements have a lot to offer, from supporting heart health to boosting the immune system. In this article, we’ll dive into the science-backed benefits of garlic supplements to help you understand what they can do for you.
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Along with providing information on whether garlic supplements might be right for you, this article also links to Fullscript where you can buy garlic supplements online through Fullscript’s secure healthcare formulary and get free shipping and 20% off the retail price of professional-grade supplements.
What Is Garlic?
Garlic is a plant belonging to the Allium family, closely related to onions, shallots, and leeks. It’s native to Central Asia but has spread far and wide as a popular culinary and medicinal ingredient. The part of the garlic plant most commonly used is the bulb, composed of individual cloves. People use garlic in various forms, from fresh and powdered to oil and extract. Garlic supplements usually contain these forms in a concentrated dose, making it easier for you to enjoy its health benefits without the strong taste or smell.
Kyolic aged garlic extract significantly lowered central blood pressure, pulse pressure, pulse wave velocity and arterial stiffness, and improved the gut microbiota, evidenced by higher microbial richness and diversity, with a marked increase in the numbers of Lactobacillus and Clostridia species found following 3 months of supplementation. Thus, Kyolic aged garlic extract is considered to be highly tolerable with a high safety profile either as a stand-alone or adjunctive anti-hypertensive treatment, with multiple benefits for cardiovascular health.Garlic lowers blood pressure in hypertensive subjects, improves arterial stiffness and gut microbiota: A review and meta-analysis
What Are the Benefits of Garlic?
- Supports Heart Health:
- Blood Pressure: A study found that aged garlic extract reduced blood pressure by about 5 to 11 points systolic, and about 6 points diastolic compared to placebo. It also improved pulse-wave velocity and arterial stiffness. [PMC4734812]
- Cholesterol: It can also lower cholesterol levels, although many debate whether it lowers them enough to make a real difference. [PMID: 10975959]
- Anti-Inflammatory Benefits: Compounds in garlic have been shown to reduce inflammation, which is linked to various chronic diseases. [PMC4417560]
- Boosts Immune System: The antioxidants in garlic contribute to a stronger immune system, helping you fight off common illnesses like the cold. [PMID: 26764332]
- Improves Digestion: Garlic has natural anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties that can promote a healthier gut. It reduces the risk of gastrointestinal tumors. [PMC8867184]
- Enhances Physical Performance: Some studies suggest that garlic can help reduce exercise-induced fatigue in animal models. [PMID: 17955479] Garlic oil reduced peak heart rate in heart disease patients. [PMID: 15881870]
- Regulates Blood Sugar: Garlic supplements may help manage blood sugar levels, which is beneficial for people with diabetes or those at risk. Researchers who reviewed the studies stated, “Garlic can reduce lipid profile as well as glucose parameters and be therapeutically effective in patients suffering from cardiovascular diseases and diabetes.” [PMID: 30049636]
- Helps with Skin Health: The antibacterial properties of garlic can also be beneficial for your skin, helping to manage conditions like acne. Researchers who reviewed the literature stated that “topical application of garlic extract can potentially be effective on psoriasis, alopecia areata, keloid scar, wound healing, cutaneous corn, viral and fungal infection, leishmaniasis, skin aging and rejuvenation.” [PMC4211483]
- Rich in Nutrients: Garlic is a good source of vitamins like sulfur, vitamin C and B6, as well as minerals like selenium.
- Natural Antibacterial: Garlic has been used historically as a natural remedy to treat bacterial infections. [PMC8375933]
- Mental Health Benefits: Preliminary studies in animal models show that garlic could have a positive impact on mental health by reducing symptoms of anxiety and depression. [PMID: 37435927]
- Mechanisms of Action: A recent review looked at garlic’s bioactive compounds on oxidative stress, inflammation, cancer, cardiovascular and metabolic disorders, skin, bone, and other common diseases. [PMC7402177]
Garlic appears to enhance the functioning of the immune system by stimulating certain cell types, such as macrophages, lymphocytes, natural killer (NK) cells, dendritic cells, and eosinophils, by mechanisms including modulation of cytokine secretion, immunoglobulin production, phagocytosis, and macrophage activation. Finally, because immune dysfunction plays an important role in the development and progress of several diseases, we critically examined immunoregulation by garlic extracts and compounds isolated, which can contribute to the treatment and prevention of pathologies such as obesity, metabolic syndrome, cardiovascular disorders, gastric ulcer, and even cancer.Immunomodulation and Anti-Inflammatory Effects of Garlic Compounds
Food Sources of Garlic
The general rule of thumb is that one part of dried garlic is roughly equivalent to three parts of fresh garlic. This is because drying concentrates the flavors and substances in garlic.
Aged Garlic Supplements Vs Garlic in Food
Aged garlic extract is a form of garlic that has been fermented or aged to convert some of its compounds into more stable and potentially more beneficial forms. The concentration of bioactive molecules in aged garlic extract supplements can differ significantly from fresh or dried garlic.
When garlic is aged, the process changes the chemical structure of the garlic compounds. For instance, the potent compound allicin found in fresh garlic, which is responsible for its strong smell and immediate health benefits, is converted into a variety of sulfur-containing compounds. These include S-allyl-cysteine (SAC) and others that are not found in significant amounts in fresh or dried garlic. SAC is often considered a key bioactive substance in aged garlic extract, and it’s valued for its potential health benefits, including antioxidant properties, with better bioavailability and less irritation to the digestive system.
In supplements, these bioactive molecules are often present in higher concentrations than you would find in the same weight of fresh or dried garlic. This is partly due to the aging process concentrating these compounds and partly because the extraction process is designed to maximize their presence.
Comparing fresh or dried garlic to supplements like aged garlic extract isn’t straightforward due to the chemical changes that occur during aging and processing. Each form can have different types and amounts of bioactive molecules. Supplements are specifically standardized to provide a consistent and known quantity of these compounds, which is not typically the case with raw garlic in food form.
Is Garlic Safe?
As you might imagine, garlic is generally considered safe for most people when consumed in appropriate amounts, either as a food or as a supplement. It has been a part of human diets for thousands of years and has been extensively researched for its health benefits. When taken as directed, garlic supplements are also considered safe and have minimal side effects.
Medication Interactions with Garlic
- Blood Thinners: Such as warfarin (Coumadin), aspirin, and clopidogrel (Plavix)
- Antihypertensive Drugs: Including beta-blockers like atenolol and ACE inhibitors like lisinopril
- Antiplatelet Medications: Such as ticlopidine (Ticlid) and dipyridamole (Persantine)
- HIV Medications: Including saquinavir (Invirase)
- Immune Suppressants: Such as cyclosporine
- Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs): Including ibuprofen and naproxen
- Oral Contraceptives: Garlic may reduce the effectiveness of birth control pills
- Insulin and Other Diabetes Medications: Since garlic can lower blood sugar, it may interact with these drugs
- Chemotherapy Drugs: There is some concern that garlic might interact with certain chemotherapy agents
- Isoniazid: An antibiotic used for treating tuberculosis
Supplement Interactions with Garlic
- Fish Oil: Both are blood thinners and may increase the risk of bleeding when taken together.
- Ginkgo Biloba: Like garlic, ginkgo has blood-thinning properties, which could amplify the effect.
- Vitamin E: Another supplement with blood-thinning effects, taking it alongside garlic could heighten the risk of bleeding.
- Coenzyme Q10: Known for its similar impact on blood clotting, combining it with garlic might increase bleeding risk.
- Saw Palmetto: This supplement can also affect blood clotting, so using it with garlic could be problematic.
- Red Clover: Contains compounds that could interact with garlic’s blood-thinning properties.
- Ginger: Known to have blood-thinning attributes, combining it with garlic may lead to increased risk of bleeding.
- Turmeric: Another supplement that can act as a blood thinner, taking it with garlic might elevate the bleeding risk.
- St. John’s Wort: Although the interaction isn’t well-studied, it’s better to consult a healthcare provider before mixing these two.
- Echinacea: May interact with garlic’s effect on the immune system, but more research is needed.
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Kyolic Aged Garlic Extract Cardiovascular Formula 100 by Wakunaga
Kyolic® Aged Garlic Extract™ Formula 100 for Cardiovascular Health contains 600 mg of AGE per serving (2 tablets/capsules; Recommend two servings per day). Taken daily, this original formula supports your cardiovascular system by maintaining circulatory function and overall heart health.*
Kyolic AGE is the best-selling, odorless, aged garlic extract. Proven safe and effective, AGE and its constituents have been the subject of over 870 peer-reviewed published scientific papers that document its health benefits.
Take two capsules with a meal two times a day. (4 per day)
Serving Size: 2 capsules
Amount Per Serving
Aged Garlic Extract™ Powder (bulb) … 600mg
Garlic 5000 by Protocol for Life Balance
- 5, 000 mcg of Allicin Potential
- Odor Controlled
- Enteric Coated
Garlic 5000 is standardized to yield allicin precursors, which convert to allicin when ingested. It is enteric coated so that this conversion occurs in the upper intestine for optimal absorption, as well as to contain the release of garlic’s pungent odor. The allicin potential of this product is achieved through a special process that keeps Garlic’s moisture low while preserving all of the natural goodness of whole fresh garlic. Enjoy the benefits of this odor-controlled garlic tablet!
As a dietary supplement, take one tablet daily, or as directed by your healthcare practitioner.
Serving Size: One Tablet
Amount Per Serving
Odor-Controlled Garlic … 500mg*
(Allium sativum)(Bulb)(min. 5, 000mcg Allicin potential per tablet)
Although this article discusses supplements in detail, don’t forget that we are absolutely committed to the “Food First” approach to nutrition. When it comes to your health, the totality of your eating habits far surpasses the impact of individual nutrients or any single supplement you consume. Even though this article doesn’t delve into the broader picture of your overall diet, it’s crucial to keep this element at the forefront of our minds. Your food needs to provide all the vitamins, minerals, fiber, and phytochemicals to nourish your body systems down to the cellular level.
Food choices, rather than supplements, are the most critical factors for a healthy gut microbiome. These trillions of tiny inhabitants in your gut affect your brain waves; they orchestrate your immune system. They possess the power to create molecules that can switch genes on or off and are even capable of synthesizing neurotransmitters. Opting for organic foods and steering clear of plastic packaging (including those labeled BPA-free) is a smart move to limit toxin exposure. The sum of all these parts leads to a powerful conclusion: the ultimate key to your health lies in the quality and balance of the food you consume. Supplements are secondary.
To Sum It Up
Garlic supplements offer a convenient way to tap into the many health benefits of this ancient plant. From supporting heart health and boosting the immune system to aiding digestion and even offering some mental health benefits, garlic packs a powerful punch. Including it in your routine can be an easy way to improve various aspects of your well-being. Whether you’re looking to tackle specific health concerns or simply want to enhance your overall wellness, garlic supplements are worth considering.
This Article is Not a Substitute for Medical Advice
Dietary supplements are not designed to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. The Supplement Sciences website seeks to provide comprehensive access to the most relevant supplement information along with convenient online ordering. We do not provide medical advice and cannot guarantee that every product suggested is completely without risk. Since each person is unique in their health history and medication use, it is important to discuss supplements with your personal physician. Specifically, pregnant women and individuals being treated for cancer or liver or kidney problems must consult their physician about every nutritional supplement they plan to take. People taking medications for the treatment of HIV or with a history of organ transplant must not take supplements without consulting with their physician.