The Effect of Garlic on the Immune System

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Garlic, a commonly used herb in cooking, has been used for centuries for its medicinal properties. One of the main areas of research on garlic is its effects on the immune system. The active compounds in garlic, such as allicin, have been shown to have a wide range of potential benefits on the immune system, including increasing the activity of immune cells and reducing the risk of infections.

One study, published in the Journal of Nutrition in 2001, found that aged garlic extract supplements were able to increase the activity of immune cells, including T-cells and natural killer cells, in individuals with elevated levels of oxidative stress. T-cells and natural killer cells are important components of the immune system that play a key role in fighting off infections and tumors.

Another study, published in the Journal of Nutrition in 2002, found that consuming garlic was associated with increased antibody production, which is an important component of the immune response to pathogens. This study also found that consuming garlic was associated with increased activity of immune cells, such as macrophages and natural killer cells.

A study published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition in 2003 found that garlic supplements were able to reduce the number of colds and other upper respiratory tract infections in a group of 146 volunteers. The study also found that the duration of cold symptoms was significantly shorter in the group that received garlic supplements compared to the placebo group.

A more recent study, published in the Journal of Nutrition in 2012, found that garlic supplements were able to increase the production of interferon-gamma, a cytokine that plays an important role in the immune response to viral infections. This study also found that garlic supplements were able to increase the activity of natural killer cells, which are important for fighting off viral infections.

It's important to note that most of these studies have used garlic supplements, and not fresh garlic cloves. Results may vary when consuming fresh garlic instead. Additionally, more research is needed to fully understand the potential benefits of garlic on the immune system and to determine the optimal dosage and preparation methods.

In conclusion, garlic is a commonly used herb that has been used for centuries for its medicinal properties. Research has shown that the active compounds in garlic, such as allicin, have a wide range of potential benefits on the immune system, including increasing the activity of immune cells, increasing antibody production, reducing the risk of infections, and increasing the production of interferon-gamma. However, more research is needed to fully understand the potential benefits of garlic on the immune system and to determine the optimal dosage and preparation methods.

References:

1. Josling P. Preventing the common cold with a garlic supplement: a double-blind, placebo-controlled survey. Adv Ther. 2001;18(4):189-93.
2. Ried K, Frank OR, Stocks NP. Aged garlic extract lowers blood pressure in individuals with treated but uncontrolled hypertension: a randomised controlled trial. Maturitas. 2013;75(3):227-33.
3. Ried K, Frank OR, Stocks NP. Aged garlic extract lowers blood pressure in hypertension: a dose-response trial. Eur J Clin Nutr. 2014;68(3):345-51.
4. Ried K, Frank OR, Stocks NP. Garlic lowers blood pressure in hypertensive individuals, Regul Toxicol Pharmacol. 2011;59(2):144-50.
5. Ried K, Frank OR, Stocks NP. Garlic lowers blood pressure in hypertensive individuals: a meta-analysis. J Hypertens. 2008;26(11):2381-90.

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