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Garlic is more than a flavoring for food - it's been used medicinally since ancient times. In modern times, garlic is still popular for seasoning recipes, offering flavor and possibly health benefits as well. Garlic can be part of a healthy diet. It is rich in compounds with natural blood thinning properties. These compounds appear to keep platelets (blood cells that help with blood clotting) from sticking together to form clots that could trigger a heart attack or stroke. Some preliminary research suggests that taking garlic may help slow atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries) but more evidence is still needed. Studies also indicate that garlic may slightly lower blood pressure. Whether garlic lowers blood cholesterol level isn't clear. More research is needed in this area due to inconsistencies in the existing research.
What You Should Know About Garlic Tablets
There is growing evidence that garlic supplementation may be beneficial for heart health. However, more research is needed for confirmation. Taking a daily garlic tablet appears to be safe for most people. Possible side effects include nausea, heartburn, diarrhea or garlic breath or odor. However, there are garlic supplements available that are odor-free. Because it changes the way platelets function, bleeding can be a side effect for people on blood thinning medications. Don't take a garlic tablet if you have a history of bleeding from the digestive tract or if you take blood thinners. Garlic tablets can also interact with other supplements like fish oil and increase the risk for bleeding. Because garlic supplements aren't appropriate if you have some medical conditions or take certain medications, see your doctor before taking one. When choosing a garlic supplement look for one that's enteric-coated. This type of coating helps protect the active ingredients against breakdown by stomach acid.
This summary is intended for general informational purposes only, and should not be interpreted as specific medical advice. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration does not strictly regulate herbs and supplements. There is no guarantee of purity, strength, or safety of the products. As a result, effects may vary. You should read product labels. In addition, if you are taking medications, herbs, or other supplements you should consult with a qualified healthcare provider before taking a supplement as supplements may interact with other medications, herbs, and nutritional products. If you have a medical condition, including if you are pregnant or nursing, you should speak to your physician before taking a supplement. Consult a healthcare provider if you experience side effects.