Food as Preventive Medicine

Garlic has been used medicinally for thousands of years. Garlic was worshipped by the ancient Egyptians, chewed by Greek Olympian atheletes and thought to be essential for keeping vampires at bay! The below are just some of the benefits of including garlic in your diet!

Garlic and Cholesterol
There are over a dozen well designed studies published around the world that confirm that garlic in several forms can reduce cholesterol. Most recently researchers in Oxford and America have published some summaries of all the good data on garlic.

The authors state that garlic has an important part to play in the treatment of high cholesterol and that this paper reviews all the published and unpublished data from around the world. Overall a 12% reduction in total cholesterol was shown over a placebo and that this reduction was normally evident after only 4 weeks treatment and that this was likely to persist for as long as the study was in progress.

The largest study so far was conducted in Germany where 261 patients from 30 general practices were given either garlic powder tablets or a placebo. After a 12 week treatment period mean serum cholesterol levels dropped by 12% in the garlic treated group and triglycerides dropped by 17% compared to the placebo group.

Silagy CS, Neil HAW, 1994, The Journal of the Royal College of Physicians, Vol 28 No 1:39-45

Garlic and Pregnancy
Cut the complications of pregnancy naturally with garlic!

New research shows that taking garlic during pregnancy can cut the risk of pre-eclampsia (raised blood pressure and protein retained in the urine). Studies reveal that garlic may help to boost the birth-weight of babies destined to be too small. The research was carried out by Dr D Sooranna, Ms J Hirani and Dr I Das in the Academic Department of Obstertrics & Gynaecology at the Chelsea & Westminster Hospital in London UK.

They concluded that although pre-eclampsia and growth retardation are complex multifactoral conditions, taking standardised garlic tablets (for further details please contact us) throughout pregnancy may decrease the chances of these types of complictions at birth. They focussed on growth retarded babies and pre-eclampsia, a potentially dangerous condition for mother and baby which occurs in about one in ten pregnancies. Experiments by the research team showed that adding extracts of garlic to cells from the placenta of women likely to suffer from these conditions was able to quickly stimulate growth. Furthermore, the activity of key enzemes that are reduced in the abnormal pregnancies were significantly increased when garlic was added.

Garlic and Impotence
Garlic has always been known as an aphrodisiac and from a medical point of view it can improve blood circulation significantly. Now it appears that an enzyme called nitric oxide synthase (NOS) is primarily responsible for the mechanism of erection. Studies have recently shown that garlic in certain forms can stimulate the production of NOS particularly in individuals who have low levels of this enzyme. Clearly folklore is now being proven correct!!

Garlic and Cancer
There is now a lot of information published on the role of garlic in cancer. Research is currently underway in most countries to isolate which particular compounds, after allicin are most active. Recently, researchers in Pennsylvannia have shown that by injecting a compound called diallyl disulphide (formed when raw garlic is cut or crushed) that tumours can be reduced by half and that a further compound (S-Allylcysteine) can stop cancer causing agents from binding to human breast cells.

The search for compounds that prevent cancer has intensified with the mounting evidence that many types of cancer are caused or triggered by factors relating to lifestyle and environment . It is well known that garlic can strengthen the immune system which is vitally important for fighting cancer.

Recent findings support a growing body of evidence that garlic works as an anti-carcinogen in both prevention and treatment, and that garlic and related foods play an important dietary role in the cancer process. For instance, scientists have correlated garlic intake with reduced nitrite levels in people and fewer deaths from stomach cancer are recorded.

Currently it is unknown specifically how garlic protects but it may relate to blocking formation of cancer-causing compounds, stopping their ability to form tumours or even inhibiting the growth of tumour cells.

This follows on from work conducted by Professor Michael Wargovich at the University of Texas where his group studied the effects of two major purified components of garlic - dialylsulphide which is soluble in oil and S-allyl cysteine which is water soluble. He tested these compounds on two animal carcinoma models and found that the tumours could be reduced by between 50 and 75% Then in his controls ( used to remove any experimental bias) he gave a prophylactic dose of garlic and then deliberately tried to induce a particularly virulent form of oesophageal cancer. He found that garlic completely prevented his experimental controls from becoming infected. His conclusion was that although the precise mechanism may not be clear his results had shown that the administration of well tolerated garlic products may confer important protection from cancer.

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