- Garlic mimics ACE inhibitors and calcium blockers
- Garlic kills off yeast infection (Candida albicans) better than most drugs
- Garlic works when bacteria become resistant to antibiotics
- Garlic works better than the anti-AIDs/HIV drug AZT
- Garlic saves babies’ lives during pregnancy (conquers Strep B infection)
- Garlic might conquer drug-resistant TB before drugs do
- Garlic abolishes anthrax better than five antibiotics
- Garlic spares good bacteria (acidophilus) when antibiotics don’t
- Garlic removes lead better than a commonly used drug (d-penicillamine)
- Garlic bests statin drugs — removes calcifications three times better
- Garlic is superior to three classes of heart drugs
- Garlic bests aspirin
Imagine walking up to the counter at a drug store and handing the pharmacist a prescription from your doctor, only for the pharmacist to return and dispense a garlic clove. It’s absurd to think sellers of fresh-crushed garlic cloves that yield allicin, garlic’s primary active ingredient, would need permission from the FDA to affix any disease prevention or treatment claim to their product. But that is precisely what keeps garlic from unseating many prescription drugs.
While pharmaceutical companies design and seek approval for drugs that narrowly address single diseases, garlic addresses a broad range of health problems in a manner that bests most prescription drugs.
Here are some examples of garlic’s superior performance compared to prescription drugs.
There is no single blood pressure-lowering drug that effectively controls hypertension. [British Medical Journal May 19, 2009].
Garlic exhibits the same biological action as calcium channel blockers and ACE inhibitors, two common drug classes prescribed to treat high blood pressure. Garlic also promotes vasodilation (widening of arteries via the production of hydrogen sulfide and nitric oxide gas) and reduces stress hormones (like beta blockers), thus making it an ideal controller of blood pressure.
A review of various published studies shows garlic can reduce elevated blood pressure and prescription drugs. In one study, divided doses of garlic reduced blood pressure among hypertensive individuals as well as a beta-blocker (atenolol). [Pakistan Journal Pharm Science Sept 2013]. Garlic also effectively lowers blood pressure in patients with uncontrolled hypertension already on anti-hypertensive medication. [Annals Pharmacotherapy Dec 2008].
Various studies indicate 10,000 micrograms (10 milligrams) of allicin from garlic (about the amount provided by four fresh-crushed garlic cloves) is required to achieve a significant blood pressure-lowering effect. [Expert Review Cardiovascular Therapy 2007]. Most garlic pills, even the ones labeled to provide allicin, do not provide allicin at all.
Candida albicans is normally found in the lower digestive tract and overgrows with refined sugar consumption. Withdrawal from the use of refined sugars is advised. Physicians often attempt to “knock it down” with using anti-fungal drugs like nystatin and fluconazole. In one study, allicin, the most potent molecule produced from fresh-crushed garlic, was found to “be effective in suppressing development of Candida albicans to an extent that is sometimes equal or more than fluconazole” and does so through a common mechanism. [Tropical Biomedicine Dec 2011]. In both lab dish and animal studies, garlic’s allicin has been deemed effective or superior to fluconazole. [FEMS Microbiology Letters Feb 2011]. Another study showed that garlic extract exhibited greater anti-candida activity than nystatin and, therefore, may have application in both treatments as well as limiting antibiotic resistance from the overuse of antibiotics. [International Journal Antimicrobial Agents Aug 1999].
Better than vancomycin (the antibiotic of last resort)
Modern medicine has become so reliant upon man-made antibiotics that induce germ resistance that more people now die of infections that cannot be quelled. [Centers For Disease Control 2013].
While the medical community clamors for the development of more antibiotic drugs, a study conducted by researchers at Washington State University shows that garlic is 100 times more effective than two popular antibiotics (ciprofloxacin, erythromycin) at fighting the primary disease-causing bacterium commonly responsible for food-borne illness and kills off this pathogen in a fraction of the time.
Garlic kills Campylobacter jejuni, the most common cause of food poisoning in the U.S. and probably the world. Garlic was found to kill this potentially deadly bacterium by penetrating a slimy biofilm that normally makes it 1000 times more antibiotic-resistant. [Journal Antimicrobial Chemotherapy May 2012].
When antibiotic resistance occurs and patients’ lives are at risk, the reserved antibiotic vancomycin is typically used. However, even some bacteria become resistant to vancomycin. An experiment published in 1999 showed that garlic and allicin effectively kill off vancomycin-resistant bacteria. Allicin worked at a far lower concentration (8-16 micrograms per milliliter) than plain garlic (1,000-2,000 micrograms per milliliter, about 125-fold better!) [Antimicrobial Agents & Chemotherapy Dec 1999].
It should also be noted that cooking garlic destroys allicin, garlic’s primary antibiotic. [Journal Medicinal Food 2007].
Garlic has been found to be effective in killing off antibiotic-resistant strains of E. coli, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Bacillus subtilus, Staphylococcus aureus, Klebsiella pneumonia, Shigella sonnei, and Salmonella typhi. [Annals of Clinical Microbiology and Antimicrobials April 27, 2012].
Garlic is even on record for having saved the life of a critically ill infant with a severe multi-drug-resistant infection. [Journal Alternative Complementary Medicine April 2011]. How many more lives would be saved if garlic were used among the thousands now dying due to antibiotic resistance?
Over a decade ago, pediatricians noted that antibiotics used to treat middle ear infections in children might induce germ resistance and that alternatives like garlic extract should be explored. [International Journal Pediatric Otolaryngology Oct 1999]. Furthermore, mycin antibiotics used to treat middle ear infections are potentially toxic and can induce hearing loss on their own. In an animal study, garlic supplementation retained hearing among antibiotic-treated animals. [Annals Otology Rhinology Laryngology Feb 2012].
Another antibiotic dilemma is that about 52% of Americans have Helicobacter pylori infection in their digestive tract. H. pylori is the cause of gastric ulcers, gastric cancer, and reduced secretion of stomach acid. Doctors reserve antibiotic treatment for patients who develop ulcers since overuse of antibiotics will induce more antibiotic-resistant strains of H pylori. Garlic was first shown to be effective against H pylori infection in 1997. Its ability to quell H pylori infection at low concentrations suggests it may be an excellent preventive when antibiotic drugs are inappropriate. [Nutrition & Cancer 1997]. Consumption of garlic in the diet is associated with a relative 49% reduction in death from gastric or esophageal cancer. [Journal National Cancer Institute March 21, 2012].
More effective than AZT
AZT (azidothymidine, also called zidovudine) is a drug widely known and used to delay the development of AIDS (acquired immunodeficiency syndrome) in patients infected with HIV. AZT has also been used experimentally in treating gastric cancer because it inhibits telomerase, an abundant enzyme in cancer cells. The presence of telomerase may be an excellent tool for early detection of cancer. Telomerase has been detected in 80-90% of immortal tumor cells. Inhibition of telomerase may be a strategy to slow the growth of tumors. [Frontiers Oncology Sept 2012].
AZT inhibited telomerase by only 52.6%, whereas allicin from garlic inhibited telomerase by 89.0%. AZT is an expensive drug with toxic side effects. Allicin is far more economical, safe, and effective. [World Journal Gastroenterology Sept 2003].
Allicin from garlic was found to inhibit the growth of gastric cancer cells in a lab dish. Allicin was deemed to exhibit a superior anti-tumor effect to chemotherapy drugs without toxic side effects typically experienced with drugs. [African Journal Traditional Complementary Alternative Medicine Nov 2013].
All 14 published studies on the dietary intake of garlic report a beneficial role against gastric cancer. [Nutrition & Cancer May 2014].
Saves babies’ lives when it’s not wise to use antibiotics
A Centers for Disease Control protocol calls for the 4 million pregnant women in the US each year to undergo a vaginal culture for Group B Streptococcus at the 36th week of pregnancy. An estimated 800,000 of these women will test positive for this bacterium, and antibiotic treatment (at a cost of ~$20 million/year) will prevent ~100 deaths from stillbirths annually. Garlic has been posed as an alternative to antibiotics. [Midwifery Today International Midwife Winter 2004]. The successful use of freshly cut garlic to resolve cases of Group B Streptococcus infection among pregnant women has been documented. [European Journal Obstetrics Gynecology Reproductive Biology Sept 2009].
Eradicates anthrax better than five antibiotic drugs
Anthrax (Bacillus anthracis) is that dreaded bacterium that became known as an agent that terrorists could use by its introduction as a powder into the mail system. Garlic has been shown to be effective against anthrax. [Journal Nutrition Science Vitaminology Aug 2003]. In a landmark study, shown in the chart below, fresh garlic extract (allicin) was far superior to most antibiotic drugs against many common pathogenic bacteria, including anthrax. Since stocks of antibiotics would be inadequate in any mass-scale exposure to microbial toxins, allicin from fresh-crushed garlic (but not most garlic pills) could be utilized.
The “stinking rose” versus anti-tuberculosis drugs
With a third of the world infected with Mycobacteria tuberculosis infection of the lung and an increasing number of cases of drug resistance, current antibiotic therapies are being called inadequate. [Annals Institute Super Sanita 2011].
Despite the fact the body mounts a robust immune response against tuberculosis, it successfully survives and persists in humans. Allicin from garlic has been found to suppress the tuberculosis gene 85B in human-infected white blood cells (monocytes). Researchers conclude that allicin may be valuable in the containment of TB. [Biochemistry Biophysics Research Communications April 2007].
Spares good bacteria, kills off the bad
A major drawback of modern antibiotic drugs is that they indiscriminately kill off good and bad bacteria. Non-pathogenic bacteria inhibit the growth of life-threatening germs via a phenomenon called “colonization resistance.” [Journal Hygiene Sept 1971]. In other words, the weeds can’t grow where the grass is aplenty. Suppressing indigenous bacteria is not beneficial because this may not only permit potential pathogenic microorganisms to thrive but can also induce diarrhea, colitis, and antibiotic-resistant strains. [American Journal Medicine May 1984].
In light of these problems associated with antibiotic use, it is interesting to note that garlic is least effective in killing off lactic acid (acidophilus) bacteria, an acid-forming “friendly” bacterium that helps kill off incoming pathogenic bacteria itself. [World Journal Microbiology Biotechnology May 1993]. Other researchers have shown that lactobacilli exhibit a degree of resistance to garlic (allicin). [Phytomedicine June 15, 2012].
The safest way to remove lead
Lead is a known nerve toxin. There is no safe amount of lead when it comes to brain function. Industrial lead exposure is still a problem. Workers in the car battery industry were studied and found to have elevated blood lead levels. One group of these workers was given the standard drug to treat lead poisoning — d-Penicilliamine (250 mg), and a second group 1,200 micrograms of allicin from garlic three times a day. Clinicians observed improvements in irritability, headache, deep tendon reflex, and blood pressure after treatment with garlic (allicin) but not with d-Penicillamine. There were more side effects in the group taking the drug. Researchers concluded that “garlic seems safer clinically and as effective as d-penicillamine.” [Basic Clinical Pharmacology Toxicology May 2012].
Bests statin drugs
A recent landmark study revealed that neither cholesterol nor blood pressure nor blood sugar are predictive for a future heart attack, but an arterial calcium score of zero predicts the risk of a mortal heart attack over a 5-year period as one-half of 1 percent. [European Heart Journal Dec 2013]. In other words, calcifications represent mortal plaque in the arteries, not cholesterol.
A few years ago, it was reported that statin cholesterol-lowering drugs stabilize or reduce arterial calcification rate when circulating cholesterol numbers are not reduced. In one study, statin drug users had an annual progression rate of arterial calcification of 16% compared to 39% in an untreated group. The addition of aged-garlic extract (no allicin) with statin drugs further reduced calcific stiffness in coronary arteries that supply oxygenated blood to the heart. Among statin drug users, calcification progressed at the rate of 22.2% per year versus just 7.5% with statins and garlic. [Journal Nutrition 2006].
It beats the best heart drugs
There are generally two types of sudden heart stoppages: (1) sudden drop-dead heart attacks that involve rapid heartbeat and fluttering of the heart’s blood-pumping chambers (ventricles) due to abnormalities in the electrical system of the heart or (2) blockage of an artery usually via a blood clot that supplies the heart with oxygenated blood. One is an electrical conduction problem and may come without warning. The other is basically a circulation or plumbing problem. [WebMD].
Sudden-death heart attacks cause about 325,000 adult deaths each year in the U.S., which is about half of all heart disease deaths. About 75% of sudden cardiac arrests are linked to a previous heart attack. [WebMD].
Doctors or even paramedics may inject medications to resuscitate the heart in the event of:
- Sudden stoppage (epinephrine, aka adrenaline)
- Obstruction of circulation by a blood clot (streptokinase that enzymatically breaks up clots)
- Excessively rapid heartbeat called tachycardia (adenosine)
It is interesting to learn that garlic addresses all these heart rhythm and circulatory abnormalities.
The experimental injection of adrenaline into animal hearts induces rapid enlargement and death of heart muscle. The use of garlic extract provokes the production of hydrogen sulfide and nitric oxide gases, which counter the adverse effects of adrenaline. [BMC Complementary Alternative Medicine Aug 2012]. Garlic directly relaxes contractions in animal hearts produced by the injection of adrenaline. [Journal Ethnopharmacology May-June 1991].
In an animal study, injections of adenosine and adrenaline (epinephrine) were used to induce blood clotting, and fresh garlic extract was shown to inhibit the clumping of blood platelets and clotting via its ability to counter the effects of adenosine. [Pharmacology Jan 2009]. Garlic has been likened to the anti-blood clotting drug Plavix. [Iran Journal Pediatric Hematology Oncology 2012]. Six-month use of fresh crushed garlic reduces thromboxane levels by 80% among adults. [Prostaglandins Leukotrienes Essential Fatty Acids Sept 1995].
The drug adenosine is injected in cases of a major adverse cardiovascular event such as a heart attack or to prevent damage to the heart when circulation is restored, and oxygen-free radicals damage heart muscle or when abnormal heart rhythms occur (ventricular fibrillation, slow heart rate (bradycardia) or fast heart rate (tachycardia). [Therapeutic Advances Cardiovascular Disease June 2012].
Adenosine is a molecule naturally produced in the body and derived from adenine, a part of the DNA ladder. A form of adenosine, adenotriphosphate is the molecule used to transfer chemical energy within living cells and is produced within the atomic power plants called mitochondria. [WorldOfMolecules.com]. Adenosine reduces the normal flow of electrical impulses through the heart and is usually administered by a doctor in a hospital to calm an overly rapid heartbeat or atrial fibrillation. [WebMD]. Adenosine can also be employed to limit damage to heart muscle after circulation is re-established in a blocked coronary artery (called reperfusion injury). [American Journal Cardiovascular Drugs 2004].
Fresh crushed garlic has been found to produce a transient gas in coronary arteries that causes them to dilate (widen) and thus facilitate blood circulation and to work by the presence of adenosine within garlic and/or by activation of the adenosine cell receptors on the surface of heart muscle cells and to inhibit the enzyme that breaks down adenosine (adenosine deaminase) as well. [Journal Biomedical Research Jan 2012].
In all studies, fresh crushed garlic providing allicin has been found to offer superior heart protection. [Journal Agriculture Food Chemistry Aug 2009].
Remarkably, fresh-crushed garlic (allicin) does the work of many resuscitative and preventive cardiac drugs (blood thinners, vasodilators, heart-calming muscle relaxants, and heart-rhythm-restoring drugs).
The point is garlic is working before you need it. While fate will decide whether you are near enough to a hospital or a paramedic team to inject life-saving medicines into your heart in a timely manner should a sudden heart problem arise.
Aspirin is known as a pain-relieving anti-inflammatory agent and blood thinner. Aspirin is recommended to prevent blood clots in coronary arteries that produce heart attacks. However, its use for that purpose has been questioned. The FDA recently issued a bulletin saying aspirin is no longer recommended to prevent heart attacks among healthy subjects. [US Food & Drug Administration]. However, allicin from garlic has been found to inhibit the clumping of blood platelets by 90% and was a “significantly more potent platelet inhibitor than aspirin at equivalent concentrations.” [Journal Agriculture Food Chemistry Nov 2000].
Some health authorities believe the diabesity epidemic followed the use of high fructose corn syrup. [Advances Nutrition March 2013]. In laboratory animals, the addition of garlic extract to the diet reduced fructose-induced inflammation and insulin resistance. [Journal Clinical Diagnostic Research Sept 2013; Journal Clinical Biochemistry Nutrition Nov 2007; Nutrition Metabolism July 2011]. So far, no drugs are designed to counter the effects of high fructose consumption.
Thwarts attack on the pancreas
Allicin from garlic has been demonstrated to reduce the level of autoimmune attacks on insulin-secreting islet cells in the pancreas. [Polish Journal Pathology Dec 2012]. To date, physicians know nothing but to place autoimmune diabetic (type I) patients directly on insulin, and there is no drug outside of steroids to quell the autoimmune attack on the pancreas.
The Centers for Disease Control suggests avoiding tobacco is the most important way to reduce the risk of lung cancer. [Centers for Disease Control]. Remarkably, raw garlic consumption has been found to reduce the risk of lung cancer among existing smokers by 30%. [Cancer Prevention Research July 2013].
There is no pharmaceutical that prevents lung cancer, particularly in the face of habitual use of tobacco. There are an estimated 1,590,000 deaths annually from lung cancer worldwide, 70% attributed to smoking (1,113,000 deaths). [World Health Organization]. The use of raw garlic by smokers would reduce that death rate by ~30% or save 333,900 lives a year.
Had garlic given off the scent of vanilla and the taste of sweet apricot, most modern pharmaceuticals would have never seen the light of day. That’s because the strongest objection to the daily use of fresh crushed garlic is its pungency, garlic breath, and odor. Take those drawbacks away, and Big Pharma would largely be a house of garlic.
Garlic exhibits such broad and potent biological activity that it would upset Big Pharma’s scheme of a different drug for every disease. The masses would have been healthier, and healthcare costs would have been kept in check, saving trillions of dollars.
But garlic’s most active ingredient, allicin, is so pungent and volatile. Its small molecular weight allows it to penetrate the skin from the inside out to deliver a garlic odor that is not only an effective bug repellant but a human repellant as well.
Humanity doesn’t just like garlic; it loves garlic. From traditional garlic lovers in Italy to record-intake in Korea, garlic is a beloved kitchen spice. But cooking it destroys its primary active ingredient, allicin. Cooked garlic still offers some health benefits and provides health-promoting sulfur compounds as well as selenium and even a highly absorbable form of vitamin B1. But the only way to obtain garlic’s primary active ingredient is to crush a clove thoroughly to activate an enzyme (alliinase) to produce weaponized garlic via its key molecule allicin.
Almost all the health benefits attributed to garlic in this report involve allicin, which is not provided in most garlic pills. The recent development of an alkaline buffered garlic capsule that assuredly delivers allicin via its ability to block stomach acid from degrading the enzyme (alliinase) that activates allicin [Garlinex] is a welcome development for those who have difficulty swallowing a fresh-crushed clove of garlic and don’t want to experience garlic breath or odor.
Garlinex is the only alkalinized garlic powder designed to negate the effects of stomach acid on alliinase, making it the world’s only enzyme-activated garlic.
Most garlic products are advertised to provide allicin or yielding allicin and are tested in a neutral pH (water) rather than an acid pH approximating the acidic digestive tract. Garlinex: Enzyme Activated Garlic roughly provides the amount of allicin (2,400-3,800mg) produced by a standard-sized clove of fresh crushed garlic in an acidic environment.
A final note
In 1992 researchers at the Weizmann Institute in Israel said this about allicin:
“The wide range of biological activities that allicin has been found to have should have propelled this molecule into becoming a prime candidate for therapeutic use…. Pharmaceutical companies have not become interested in the development of this antimicrobial molecule as a drug….. This is not the first time that economic considerations will prevent a natural compound with superb medicinal properties to reach those patients that could most benefit from it.” [Microbes & Infection Feb 1999].