Does taking garlic pills really help one's health?
April 17, 2006 11:08 AM   Subscribe

Does adding garlic pills regularly to one's intake really help or is this just another fad without merit?

I have been told thaty garlic is very good if taken on a regular basis (pill form). But there are so many fads out there that I am not sure if this is but another fad or a dietary addition that truly is worthwhile for the body. Any evidence that it is helpful?
posted by Postroad to Health & Fitness (12 answers total)
I had a professor who did some studies on taking garlic supplements (his name is Chris Gardener). I think the intent of the pill was for weight loss. His findings didn't indicate any benefit in this area, though he has conceded that the study didn't inspect the many different ways garlic could be prepared and injested, so there might be some merit in eating it in non-pill form. In any case, it seems that pill form is not the way to go. A quick PubMed search indicates that garlic is being studied for a variety of beneficial effects, but it'd take a while to go through everything. Looks like there might be some beneficial antioxidant potential according to work by N. Leelarungrayub, V. Rattanapanone, N. Chanarat, and J. Gebicki published in the March 2006 volume of Nutrition. I'd recommend just eatin' the stuff cooked in food if you like it.

I'll say this for food supplements in general: it's really difficult to determine just exactly what is beneficial about it sometimes. Oftentimes it's combinations of foods, or combinations of molecules in foods that must work in conjunction to provide benefits; while there's a lot of research going on in this area, it's still a bit murky I think. Sorry I can't provide more specific answers.
posted by Mister Cheese at 12:01 PM on April 17, 2006

YMMV, but when I took garlic in pill form (Garlique I think it was called), I would exude a faint odor of garlic through my pores. Never had that problem from my regular habit of eating copious amounts of garlic.
posted by PinkStainlessTail at 12:15 PM on April 17, 2006

Seconding PinkStainlessTail. I don't have any evidence that a pill does anything except make you smell. I eat a lot of garlic with no noticeable effect. Lots of hot peppers, too, with measurable effect.
posted by bh at 12:29 PM on April 17, 2006

I read this article the other day that claimed that only garlic cloves, not powder, effectively deliver the antibiotic allicin.
posted by sonofsamiam at 12:38 PM on April 17, 2006

You just THINK you don't smell.
posted by Big Fat Tycoon at 1:11 PM on April 17, 2006

You just THINK you don't smell.

Out of nose, out of mind.
posted by PinkStainlessTail at 1:20 PM on April 17, 2006

Yes, it's another fad without merit.
posted by Steven C. Den Beste at 3:43 PM on April 17, 2006

As a rule, when in doubt, assume fad. Never start one of these things until you've seen solid proof, instead of waiting for tests the other way -- I've no idea why people do that.
posted by reklaw at 3:49 PM on April 17, 2006

If you prefer the pill experience to the food experience, just save up the smaller cloves from the inside of a garlic bulb (the fiddly ones that are really irritating to chop), whip off their skins and swallow them whole.
posted by flabdablet at 3:59 PM on April 17, 2006

Out of nose, out of mind.

Ni pu, ni connu?
posted by furtive at 4:56 PM on April 17, 2006

According to some people, garlic does has antiviral, antibiotic, and antifungal properties, in addition to some other mild health benefits.
posted by clockzero at 5:13 PM on April 17, 2006

Oh, and don't believe the 'odorless' ones. I took them for a while, until my sister took me aside and advised me that I stank of stale garlic.
posted by scruss at 5:56 PM on April 17, 2006

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