Garlic is one of the most well-known spices around the world. This herb is incredibly rich in active components that can enhance your health.
A great way to enjoy all the health benefits of garlic is to take supplements with its extract. It packs a precisely measured dosage and is usually devoid of the specific garlic odor, which is a turn off for some users.
Below are our reviews of 5 best garlic supplements on the market and a detailed guide about their benefits and side effects.
- 1 Top-Rated Garlic Supplements, According to Experts
- 2 What Is Garlic?
- 3 What Are the Main Components of Garlic Extract?
- 4 Most Common Release Forms of Garlic Supplements
- 5 Health Benefits of Garlic
- 6 Tips for Picking Quality Garlic Extract
- 7 Frequently Asked Questions Section
- 8 Wrapping Up
Top-Rated Garlic Supplements, According to Experts
Kyolic Garlic Formula Caps
Kyolic is here as it’s one of the best garlic supplements for the money. The brand offers several options of garlic pills for different purposes: this option, for example, is designed to improve cardiovascular health. It contains 600 mg of aged garlic extract without any additives.
One package contains 300 capsules, which is enough for more than nine months of supplementation.
Kyolic makes its products from organically farmed garlic bulbs, which is definitely a plus. Also, it’s produced on a separate equipment line and is free from possible allergens.
The only problem with the Kyolic garlic is that the capsules are still a bit smelly, but you might alleviate the odor if you store them in a cool place.
Nature’s Bounty Garlic Extract Softgels
Nature’s Bounty delivers to you garlic extract in the form of softgels. One serving of this product is equal to one softgel and contains 10 mg of garlic extract, which is an equivalent of 1,000 mg of fresh garlic bulbs.
The softgel form ensures faster delivery and more potent effects. Also, Nature’s Bounty uses odorless garlic extract, which means that you don’t have to worry about bad breath or other unpleasant things.
The downsides of these softgels are that they aren’t vegan-friendly, as gelatine is one of the components, and they also contain soybean oil, which is a potential allergen.
Zhou Nutrition Garlic With Allicin Caps
The Zhou Nutrition garlic is the best garlic supplement on the market for several reasons.
First, the manufacturer states that they use allicin-preserving technology during the production process. Allicin is the main bioactive component of garlic, but it’s also very volatile. Preserving allicin during the extraction process makes the product more efficient and potent.
Second, the capsules are using the enteric coating, which means that they will dissolve only after they pass the stomach. The enteric coating will prevent you from getting smelly burps, heartburn, and other unpleasant effects of consuming garlic.
One serving of the Zhou Nutrition is equal to one tablet and provides you with 415 mg of garlic bulb extract supplied with 5,000 mcg of allicin. One package should be enough for three months of supplementation.
Think Remedy Aged Black Garlic Caps
Think Remedy offers you a stable and balanced formula of aged garlic extract. The serving size is two capsules, which altogether contain 800 mg of black garlic powder and are enhanced with 1.2 mg of S-Allyl-Cysteine (SAC).
SAC is a more stable and potent form of allicin with more pronounced antioxidant effects and better bioavailability. Also, this supplement has a longer shelf life, so it won’t go bad for a longer time.
The Think Remedy capsules are vegan-friendly and hypoallergenic because they do not contain artificial additives, colors, and flavors.
NOW Supplements Garlic Oil Softgels
Finally, the last option on this list of the best garlic supplements is offered by NOW. This manufacturer produces softgels filled with garlic oil, which come in 100 and 250-count packages.
One serving of NOW garlic oil is equal to 3 capsules, with the total of active ingredients being 9 mg or 4,500 mg equivalent of fresh garlic cloves. A 250-count package contains slightly more than 80 servings, which may last about three months, depending on your consumption.
The only issue with the softgels is the presence of gelatin as one of the ingredients, which excludes them from vegan-friendly options.
What Is Garlic?
Garlic is a flowering plant that comes from Allium family and is closely related to onions, leeks, and shallots. Before garlic became widely cultivated, it was native to the regions of Central Asia, Eastern Europe, China, India, and Iran, where it has been used for centuries as a spice.
Garlic is one of the most known crops for its health benefits too. It has been used in traditional medicine and was given names like ‘natural antibiotic,’ ‘Russian penicillin,’ and ‘plant talisman.’
What Are the Main Components of Garlic Extract?
Today, most manufacturers that produce garlic supplements use aged garlic extract. This extract is obtained through the fermentation process when macerated fresh garlic is put into a diluted alcohol solution or water. Typically, this process requires up to 20 months, but the main benefit of aging is that it converts unstable components of garlic into stable chemicals, which results in better potency and bioavailability.
The main components of the garlic extract are the following:
- Allicin. Allicin releases when the garlic clove is damaged or crushed. This chemical has antimicrobial effects and may work as an immune booster.
- S-Allyl-Cysteine (SAC). The most stable and well-researched component of garlic extract that has the highest bioavailability. SAC has pronounced antioxidant properties and may aid in lowering cholesterol levels and blood thinning.
- Methiin. Methiin contains sulfur and therefore is responsible for that specific garlic odor. Other than that, it doesn’t have any substantial health benefits for humans.
“The most potent concentration of the active components is located in the so-called ‘green germ,’ which is basically a sprout inside the garlic clove. The green germ is the leading cause of bloating and indigestion, which both happen when people consume a lot of raw garlic.”
Most Common Release Forms of Garlic Supplements
The modern supplement industry today can provide you with various forms of garlic extract, with the most common being pills, softgels, capsules, and even tea. Each of them has its specific benefits and downsides, which are listed below:
- Garlic tablets. Tablets are the most suitable form of supplementation for individuals that are prone to heartburn or have increased levels of acidity in their gastric juices. Such pills often have an enteric coating, which allows them to release the components only when they get into a small intestine, thus preventing you from indigestion. The problem with pills, however, lies in the use of additives that are needed to form a tablet, so this form of garlic cannot be considered clean.
- Garlic softgels. Softgels typically contain a fat-soluble form of active garlic ingredients, and this sometimes is a problem. Although softgels can offer you a much faster effect, some manufacturers skimp on the oil and use soybean or canola variations as a base, which may not suit individuals with allergies. Also, most softgel shells contain animal gelatine, so they aren’t vegan-friendly.
- Garlic capsules. Capsules provide you with powdered extract in a shell and are the most common form of supplementation for an average individual without health problems. Yet, they still aren’t perfect, because the shell can contain gelatine or other unwanted components. Also, some capsules are smelly, which can be uncomfortable for sensitive individuals.
- Garlic tea. A rather unusual form of supplementation is garlic tea. The most common ingredients for this beverage include dried or fresh garlic, honey, and lemon. You can find this tea in the supermarket or at the Chinese medicine drugstore. It makes great use as an occasional beverage, for example, when you need an immunity boost to recover from cold, but note that it has a peculiar taste.
“Although aged garlic extract has a long shelf life, it still can go bad. The best way to prevent it is to store an open bottle in a cool and dark place.”
Health Benefits of Garlic
Garlic is a well-researched herb, as its medicinal uses have long been known. Here are the health benefits of garlic that are supported by science.
Allicin is the main bioactive component of garlic extract, and it has proven antimicrobial properties. Allicin can inhibit the activity of certain types of bacteria and may even aid in preventing the common cold.
Another study that took place as a nutrition intervention suggested that supplementation with garlic extract may improve the activity of T-lymphocytes and reduce the severity of cold and flu symptoms. T-lymphocytes are the main immune cells that help your body fight illness and recover.
Has Antioxidant Properties
Oxidative damage happens naturally in your body cells, as this is one of the stages of their life cycle.
However, chronic exposure to free radicals followed by inflammation (for example, if you smoke or work in a polluted environment) may pose many threats to your overall health, including faster aging, developing different types of cancer and neurodegenerative diseases.
It turns out that garlic supplementation may reduce oxidative damage to the cells. In particular, a 2008 study conducted on older adults showed that garlic supplementation decreased the levels of oxidative markers in blood plasma.
Improves Cardiovascular Health
Cardiovascular diseases are the leading cause of death worldwide.
There are many risk factors for cardiovascular diseases with the most common being the following:
- chronic hypertension;
- high levels of cholesterol that can cause hardening of the arteries;
- increased blood sugar levels.
Numerous studies confirm that taking garlic can be beneficial for improving your cardiovascular health and reducing all these issues.
A 2015 meta-analysis of 17 studies reported that taking garlic supplements for high blood pressure resulted in 3.75 mmHg reduction in systolic BP and 3.39 mmHg reduction in diastolic blood pressure on average.
Effects of garlic supplements on cholesterol levels are also very potent. A 2000 meta-analysis of 13 clinical trials reported that garlic supplementation resulted in a reduction of ‘bad’ cholesterol levels, compared to the placebo group.
Finally, some studies suggest that active components in garlic can help manage insulin resistance in people with type II diabetes as a part of complex therapy.
Improves Athletic Performance
Another great benefit of garlic will be useful for athletes or people who work physically. This herb was traditionally used in ancient medicinal practices to boost performance and reduce fatigue, and today, this effect of garlic is backed up by science.
Although most studies have been done on rodents only, there’s a small six-week comparative study in patients with coronary heart disease. Researchers found that garlic can increase exercise tolerance and reduce the workload upon the heart in these patients.
Well, longevity isn’t precisely the factor that you can measure scientifically. But given the fact that garlic has cardioprotective properties, helps you combat oxidative damage and has immune-boosting functions, it theoretically may help you get a few more years of a happy life.
Dosage, Side Effects, and Warnings
Although there’s no exact dose of garlic, because every health concern requires a different amount of supplementation, there are some general guidelines on how much garlic you should take per day.
According to the Drugs Database, the suggested doses are the following:
- for fresh raw garlic: 2 to 5 g;
- for dried garlic powder: 0.4 to 1.2 g;
- for garlic oil: 2 to 5 mg;
- for dried aged garlic extract: 300 to 1,000 mg;
- for liquid aged garlic extract: up to 2,400 mg/day.
According to studies, the duration of supplementation may also vary. For example, a 6-16 week duration of garlic supplementation for the purpose of lowering cholesterol levels has proven to be effective, whereas garlic supplements for diabetes have shown good results when taken for an average duration of 4 to 24 weeks.
As you can see, the variations are pretty diverse, which is why it’s recommended to discuss the supplementation with your doctor first.
Although high doses of garlic (up to 2,400 mg) can be tolerated pretty well, sensitive individuals or specific groups of people can experience side effects of garlic, such as the following:
- bad breath and body odor;
- heartburn and indigestion;
- bloating and nausea;
- easy bruising or increased risks of bleeding, especially in individuals with blood-clotting disorders, such as hemophilia.
“Note that if you’re allergic to fresh garlic, you may get an allergic reaction from garlic supplements as well.”
Also, garlic may interact with certain medications and increase their metabolism speed, thereby reducing effectiveness:
- HIV/AIDS medications;
- birth control pills;
- cyclosporine antibiotics;
Tips for Picking Quality Garlic Extract
Now, here’s a little recap for you on how to choose the best garlic extract among the abundance of options:
- Consider quality. Prefer manufacturers that involve independent third-party testing and use organically farmed garlic bulbs.
- Determine your goals. Depending on the purpose of your supplementation, whether it’s for cleansing arteries, decreasing the exposure to free radicals, or immunity boost, you may want to choose supplements with different dosage and potency. Again, it’s highly recommended to discuss this with your doctor.
- Choose the supplementation form. A preferred form of garlic extract is a matter of comfort. Softgels are typically the easiest to swallow, but pills can prevent you from burping and bad breath, so consider these things before making a purchase.
“If you’re very sensitive to odors, you may want to choose an odorless garlic extract. This type of supplement has basically the same formulation as the regular garlic extract, but it goes through a more thorough filtration process that removes most of the aromatic compounds.”
Frequently Asked Questions Section
How much garlic powder equals one clove of garlic?
The best way to define this is to calculate the amount of allicin in the clove of fresh garlic. A standard garlic clove weighs about 3 grams and produces about 2.5-4.5 mg of allicin per gram when crushed, meaning that you will get 7.5-13.5 mg of allicin in total.
Can garlic kill a virus?
A 2011 study published in the Environmental Biology Journal states that garlic extract has enough potency to inactivate some types of bacteria. Speaking of viruses, several studies in the 90s showed that raw garlic has antiviral properties; however, these studies need evaluation using more modern methods.
Does garlic pills cause sleeplessness?
Since raw garlic is considered spicy food, it may be too warming and stimulating if you consume it before bedtime. As for garlic pills, they typically contain aged garlic extract, which is devoid of the spiciest components, so you can take it before bedtime if you’re prescribed to do so.
Does garlic lower blood pressure?
Yes. Allicin, which is the main active component in garlic extract, can lower blood pressure even in people with hypertension. That’s why people who have decreased levels of blood pressure initially should consume garlic in small amounts; otherwise, their blood pressure might drop too low.
How long should you take garlic supplements?
It depends on your goals, but most experts estimate that you should take garlic supplements for at least four weeks to get any noticeable effect. Supplementation with garlic for the purpose of treating hardening of the arteries or hypertension may last up to several years. Thus, the best way to determine the duration of your supplementing course is to consult with your doctor.
Garlic is one of the oldest spices around the world. This herb was cultivated not only as a spice but also as medicine in many countries.
The main active components of the garlic clove are allicin and S-Allyl-Cysteine. They have antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties and may help lower cholesterol levels and blood pressure.
Although garlic can be easily found in any supermarket, supplementation with garlic extract is a more effective way to deliver all the positive effects of this herb on your body. Pills contain a precise dosage of the active components and are devoid of irritating compounds and the repelling odor.