The Science of Garlic: How it Affects the Body

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Garlic, a member of the Allium family which also includes onions and leeks, has been used for both culinary and medicinal purposes for thousands of years. The active compounds in garlic, such as allicin, have been shown to have a wide range of potential health benefits.

One study, published in the Journal of Nutrition in 2000, found that a daily supplementation of aged garlic extract led to a significant decrease in total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol levels in individuals with high cholesterol. Another study, published in the International Journal of Cardiology in 2007, found that consuming garlic on a regular basis was associated with a lower risk of developing hypertension.

Garlic has also been found to have potential anti-cancer properties. A study published in the Journal of Nutrition in 2001 found that aged garlic extract supplements were able to inhibit the growth of tumor cells in the colon, lung, and breast. Another study, published in Cancer Research in 2002, found that consuming raw garlic was associated with a reduced risk of stomach cancer.

In addition to its potential cardiovascular and anti-cancer benefits, garlic has also been found to have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects. A study published in the Journal of Nutrition in 2000 found that aged garlic extract supplements were able to reduce the activity of inflammatory markers in individuals with elevated levels. Another study, published in the Journal of Nutrition in 2002, found that consuming garlic was associated with increased antioxidant status.

The consumption of garlic in the diet has also been shown to have positive effects on the immune system. A 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.

It is worth noting that the majority of these studies used supplements and not fresh garlic cloves, results may vary when consuming fresh garlic instead. Also, it's important to keep in mind that more research is needed to fully understand the potential health benefits of garlic and to determine the optimal dosage and preparation methods.

In conclusion, garlic has been used for thousands of years for both culinary and medicinal purposes. The active compounds in garlic, such as allicin, have been shown to have a wide range of potential health benefits, including cardiovascular, anti-cancer, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects, as well as positive effects on the immune system. However, more research is needed to fully understand the potential health benefits of garlic 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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