Many of the health benefits of garlic (Allium sativum) result from its anti-inflammatory properties. For example, garlic is well known as a mild blood thinner. It works by turning down the activity of thromboxanes, which promote blood clotting. The same thromboxanes are also involved in inflammation. Some studies also have found that garlic supplements can lower blood sugar and cholesterol levels, though not all people seem to benefit equally.
Because it is rich in sulfur, garlic also can boost the body's production of glutathione. This food and condiment is a good example of some of the health benefits of oxidation. The chemical constituents of garlic are relatively inert until it is sliced, diced, cooked, or chewed. Breaking up a garlic clove begins a cascade of oxidation reactions (with oxygen), leading to the production of compounds very similar to sulfur-containing amino acids. All forms of garlic—supplements, powders, and fresh—appear to have benefits, though supplements and freshly prepared appear to be the most potent.
It makes sense to use ample garlic in your meals. Its adds tremendous flavor, even if it had no health benefits. Garlic supplements concentrate levels of some of the active constituents, but their advertising can be confusing. The major brands are Kwai, Kyolic, Pure-Gar, and Garlicin. Because each product is produced differently, each contains a slightly different group of compounds. Dosages of 500 to 1,000 mg daily may have an anti-inflammatory effect.
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