There are well over 1500 papers investigating various aspects of garlic's influence on one area of mammalian physiology or another. A great deal of these research papers illustrate protection against one or more diseases, often in very significant measures. As is the case with many plants, the greatest qualities arise from its efforts to defend itself-against one form of environmental pressure or another. With plants that have significant periods of time below ground, protection against mold or fungus, rodents, and insects becomes paramount. Garlic's high sulfur content and the variety of sulfur-based chemicals it generates are reflective of this great effort to survive below ground.
Phytonutrients such as allicin, alliin, and ajoene, as well as high levels of naturally occurring N-acetyl cysteine and selenium, provide incredible anti-inflammatory and antioxidative protection to our body's cells in one way or another. Additionally, the sulfur molecules collectively known as polysulfides, are used by blood vessels to generate dilation that lowers blood pressure. Allicin also blocks angiotensin II which prevents vasoconstriction, further reducing blood pressure. The plant’s allyl sulfides have often demonstrated measurable anti-cancer effects that have ranged from decreased cell proliferation to anti-angiogenesis properties that have decreased tumor size. Most notable are garlic’s protective benefits against stomach cancer. The effects of fresh garlic on blood lipids is also well documented, lowering triglycerides significantly when eaten regularly in doses as low as 1/2 clove per day and preventing lipid oxidation which ultimately serves as a primary defense against lipid-intima infiltration.
- Ban JO, Oh JH, Kim TM et al. Anti-inflammatory and arthritic effects of thiacremonone, a novel sulfurcompound isolated from garlic via inhibition of NF-kB. Arthritis Res Ther. 2009; 11(5): R145. Epub 2009 Sep 30. 2009.
- Benavides GA, Squadrito GL, Mills RW et al. Hydrogen sulfide mediates the vasoactivity of garlic. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2007 Nov 13;104(46):17977-82. 2007.
- Galeone C, Pelucchi C, Levi F, Negri E, Franceschi S, Talamini R, Giacosa A, La Vecchia C. Onion and garlic use and human cancer. Am J Clin Nutr. 2006 Nov;84(5):1027-32. 2006. PMID:17093154.
- Galeone C, Pelucchi C, Talamini R et al. Onion and garlic intake and the odds of benign prostatic hyperplasia. Urology. 2007 Oct;70(4):672-6. 2007.
- Galeone C, Tavani A, Pelucchi C, et al. Allium vegetable intake and risk of acute myocardial infarction in Italy. Eur J Nutr. 2009 Mar;48(2):120-3. 2009.
- Ghalambor A and Pipelzadeh MH. Clinical study on the efficacy of orally administered crushed fresh garlic in controlling Pseudomonas aeruginosa infection in burn patients with varying burn degrees. Jundishapur Journal of Microbiology 2009; 2(1):7-13. 2009.
- Kaschula CH, Hunter R, and Parker MI. Garlic-derived anticancer agents: structure and biological activity of ajoene. Biofactors. 2010 Jan;36(1):78-85. 2010.
- Keophiphath M, Priem F, Jacquemond-Collet I et al. 1,2-Vinyldithiin from Garlic Inhibits Differentiation and Inflammation of Human Preadipocytes. The Journal of Nutrition. Bethesda: Nov 2009. Vol. 139, Iss. 11; p. 2055-2060. 2009.
- Lazarevic K, Nagorni A, Rancic N et al. Dietary factors and gastric cancer risk: hospital-based case control study. J Buon. 2010 Jan-Mar;15(1):89-93. 2010.
- Melino S, Sabelli R and Paci M. Allyl sulfur compounds and cellular detoxification system: effects and perspectives in cancer therapy. Amino Acids. 2010 Mar 6. [Epub ahead of print]. 2010.
- Ried K, Frank OR, Stocks NP et al. Effect of garlic on blood pressure: a systematic review and meta-analysis. BMC Cardiovasc Disord. 2008 Jun 16;8:13. 2008.
- Rivlin RS. Can garlic reduce risk of cancer?. Am J Clin Nutr. 2009 January; 89(1): 17-18. Published online 2008 December 3. 2009.
- Shin HA, Cha YY, Park MS et al. Diallyl sulfide induces growth inhibition and apoptosis of anaplastic thyroid cancer cells by mitochondrial signaling pathway. Oral Oncol. 2010 Apr;46(4):e15-8. 2010.
- Tilli CM, Stavast-Kooy AJ, Vuerstaek JD, Thissen MR, Krekels GA, Ramaekers FC, Neumann HA. The garlic-derived organosulfur component ajoene decreases basal cell carcinoma tumor size by inducing apoptosis. Arch Dermatol Res. Jul;295(3):117-23. 2003.
- Wilson CL, Aboyade-Cole A, Darling-Reed S, Thomas RD. Poster Presentations, Session A, Abstract 2543: A30 Diallyl Sulfide Antagonizes PhIP Induced Alterations in the Expression of Phase I and Phase II Metabolizing Enzymes in Human Breast Epithelial Cells. presented at the American Association for Cancer Research's Frontiers in Cancer Prevention Research meeting in Baltimore, MD, July 2005. 2005.