Explaining Allicin – Garlic’s Most Powerful Ingredient
Garlic: known by some as the miracle clove, what secret ingredient makes it so powerful? The answer is allicin, the component responsible for garlic’s vast anti-bacterial effects. In a previous post, we explained the numerous benefits of garlic consumption – slowing the aging process, reducing your risk of cancers, lowering your cholesterol, and promoting blood flow (just to name a few). Now we’ll explore the little element responsible for its health-enhancing effects of freshly peeled garlic cloves on the human body!
1. Allicin is garlic’s first line of defense. Ever notice that your garlic plants deter pests? It’s not just their pungent smell! Garlic’s allicin actually serves as a defense mechanism against pest attacks – an enzymatic reaction occurs when the plant is threatened or injured. Garlic creates an allicin secretion, which is toxic to most insects and microorganisms. While we benefit from this ingredient, pests perish!
2. Allicin likes it rough. Bruising, chopping, and crushing activates allicin. As mentioned, when the garlic plant feels threatened, or is damaged, the chemical reaction that follows actually produces the mighty allicin. Thus, when you’re crushing garlic you’re actually releasing its most potent ingredient. Go ahead – chop up those cloves to reap the benefits!
3. While strong, allicin is kind of fickle. Once garlic is cooked, the healing properties of allicin diminish rapidly. “That’s OK,” you say. “I’ll just down it raw.” Sorry – but the chemical process of digestion also breaks down the compound. Consuming garlic whole and raw is the best way to reap allicin’s health benefits, although your gut will steal some of its glory. Just remember to consume those cloves as regularly as possible!
You may be tempted to introduce garlic supplements- which boast of allicin’s healing properties - into your diet after reading this post. However, before you go sprinting to your nearest health store, consider the following:
Tablets: Dehydrated garlic, or garlic tablets, vary in their levels of allicin. Many manufacturers provide information on the “allicin potential” of their powdered garlic supplements, but few provide information on the “allicin release.” Tablets that have undergone USP testing (U.S. Pharmacoeial, wherein the product has been tested vigorously using standards that mimic that of the human body) yield the highest levels of allicin – check the label!
Oils: Many supplements come in the form of capsules, filled with garlic oil that has been distilled. Tests have shown that garlic in this form has higher levels of allicin than tablets, but be sure to check doses - 2.4-7.2 g/day will give you the best results!
Powder extracts: Allicin powder extracts are a much better choice because they are the only ones to deliver a standardized amount of allicin that is stable and can be used directly by the body. When choosing a powder, look for those that contain at least 180mg of allicin.
The most common side effect - the smell! The most frequently reported adverse effects of garlic supplements are breath and body odor. But there are ways to minimize the aroma – check out this post for quick tips. Whether you’re consuming garlic raw or in the form of supplements, remember that the secret to the cloves’ curing qualities is that tiny compound allicin – now go grab that garlic! To get the maximum benefits of the allicin in the garlic clove you are most definitely going to nbeed to peel the skin off. Watch our video and learn how to peel garlic the easy way.