Research indicates that garlic:
Increases blood levels of antioxidant enzymes
Acts as an effective antioxidant against the oxidative damage caused by nicotine
Protects vascular cells from oxidant injury, protects blood vessels
Prevents LDL cholesterol oxidation
Lowers undesirable LDL-cholesterol and triglyceride levels
Increases desirable HDL-cholesterol levels
Minimizes or prevents elevations in blood lipids in humans after consumption of a high-fat / cholesterol meal
Prevents and possibly has a curative role in arteriosclerosis therapy (plaque regression)
Inhibits lipid peroxidation in the liver, retarding the aging process in liver cells
Maintains health function of the liver
Inhibits Candida albicans in animal studies and Cryptococcal meningitis in human trials
Reduces high blood pressure
BBC News: Scientists have uncovered fresh evidence that garlic can protect against some forms of cancer. The research, by a team from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, shows that people who eat raw or cooked garlic regularly cut their risk of stomach cancer by about a half compared with those who eat none. They also cut their risk of colorectal cancer by as much as two-thirds. Lead researcher Professor Lenore Arab said: “There seems to be a strong, consistent protective effect for people who are regular garlic consumers. It doesn’t matter if they’re consuming garlic in China or in the United States, the effect is still there.”
However, the researchers found no such benefit from taking garlic capsule supplements. Professor Arab said it might be possible that this could be that the active ingredients are being destroyed in processing or by sitting on store shelves for a long time. The researchers based their findings on data from 22 previous studies from around the world on the impact of garlic on cancer.
Many scientists believe garlic helps prevent stomach cancer because it has anti-bacterial effects against a bacterium, Helicobacter pylori, found in the stomach and known to promote cancer there.
In another study which appeared in a 1997 issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, New York City’s Memorial Sloan-Kettering’s John T. Pinto, Ph.D., and colleagues, looked at the effects of major water-soluble compounds derived from aged garlic extract on cultured (test-tube) human prostate cancer cells.
The study found: 1) “Within 30 minutes of exposure” to either of the compounds, proteins that are usually “hopped up” (present at heightened levels) as prostate tumors grow were suppressed; 2) intracellular levels of the reduced (antioxidant) form of glutathione were increased; and 3) a special enzyme (ornithine decarboxylase) which helps produce those “bad-guy” proteins was blocked. A series of breast cancer studies by Pennsylvania State University’s J.A. Milner, and colleagues reported that aged garlic extract significantly prevented [blocked] breast cancer in both the beginning (initiation) and later (promotion) stages. The compound, S-allylcysteine (SAC), by itself, also reduced the initiation of breast cancer.
However, there is some evidence that suggest that garlic supplements in pill or capsule form, has little or no effect. Aged garlic extract and other alcohol based extracts are known to have documented effect. Here, the active ingredients in garlic will be preserved in the alcohol for a very long time. One can also consume the garlic raw, to make sure to get it as fresh as possible.
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Caution: Some medications are changed and broken down by the liver.
Garlic might increase how quickly the liver breaks down some medications. Taking garlic along with some medications that are broken down by the liver can decrease the effectiveness of some medications. Before taking garlic talk to your healthcare provider if you are taking any medications that are changed by the liver.