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Garlic - Safe to Eat or Not ?

Updated on January 2, 2014

White Garlic Bulb

The Miracle Nutrient

There have literally been and endless amount of studies performed and articles posted about the health benefits of garlic. Unfortunately, much of the public information isn't worth the paper it is printed on. For this reason, I have decided to go into my archives and pull out a little, five dollar book that I purchased about 15 years ago. The book is: Garlic - The Miracle Nutrient by Dr. Earl Mindell.

Aged Garlic Extract

According to Dr. Mindell, garlic has a documented history of about 5000 years. His book, which was published in 1994, referred to over 2000 studies completed during the past two decades alone. Garlic, once known as Russian Penicillin, was carried in the medicine bags of most physicians until the early 1900s. The Smelly Rose was more or less ignored by scientist for the next 6 decades but resurfaced in laboratories across the globe stronger and more pungent that ever. By 1994 scientific researchers of garlic seemed to agree on one major point: Kyolic Aged Garlic Extract was proclaimed to be "safe, effective and of standardized quality." (Dr. E. Mindell)

Raw Garlic

Do You Believe Eating Raw Garlic Has Health Benefits?

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The Basics of Garlic

Here are the basic components of garlic to help you understand why one garlic product may be better or worse than another.

  • Allyl Oil is the result of boiling garlic better known as Allium and is the name given to the compounds that give garlic its' odor
  • Diallyl Disulfide, Trisulfide and other Polysulfide are the results of steam distilling raw garlic
  • Antibacterial and antifungal garlic oil come from steeping garlic in ethyl alcohol
  • Allicin is the name given to the highly pungent, antibacterial, antifungal, colorless, garlic oil produced after steeping in in ethyl alcohol
  • Allicin's clinical use as an antibacterial was abandoned because of its high instability
  • Allicin is not present in raw garlic. It only appears after the clove has been cut or crushed due to a chain of chemical reactions that result in a number of sulfur compounds
  • Alliin is an odorless precurser to Allicin.
  • Allin could also NOT be used to stadardize garlic because it is a "starting material in raw garlic, not and end product in manufactured commodity" (Dr. E. Mindell)

The facts listed above are the basics and will make more sense as we go on. Save this, share it and refer to it whenever you have a question about which garlic product to use or whether or not you are getting any benefit from consuming raw garlic.

Now, let's move on to some specifics.

Water and Oil

When you think of the benefits of garlic, you have to remember this main premise. A garlic clove and garlic oil are two different substances, each with it's own set of properties. When you can wrap your brain around that fact then you will be halfway out of the woods.

The clove consist of the water-soluble components of garlic. They are divided into six categories. Water-Soluble components do not exist in the garlic oil.

  • Nucleic Acids - adenosine, guanosine, uridine, thymidine, cytidine, isosine, and adenosine the most significant
  • Minerals - 19 macro and trace minerals such as zinc, copper, iron and more
  • Vitamins - B1, B2, B3, Choline and Vitamin C
  • Carbohydrates - seven different types of natural sugars including Fructan which contributes to the growth of beneficial bacteria in the intestinal tract
  • Enzymes - allinase, peroxidase and more, all of which are made inactive when heated
  • Amino Acids - the most important category, sulfur containing amino acids, includes cystein and its derivatives

S-allyl cysteine is the most valuable derivative of cysteine. Researchers found it to be odorless, stable and safe. Garlic is believed, by many, to be a valuable weapon against coronary artery disease and it is because of the properties of cysteine. In the past decade, research has emerged claiming that garlic has no benefits to humans in this area. However, if you research cysteine, you will find researchers unanimously in agreement on the benefits of cysteine to human health. Next, if you research the validity of the presence of cysteine in garlic, you will then be able to make a well informed decision on which research you choose to believe. Cysteine is proven to exist in garlic. Cysteine is proven to lower cholesterol. You do the math... When you eat fresh garlic or use a non oil based garlic product, the water-soluble properties are totally available to your body.

The sulfur containing, oil based compounds of garlic do not exist in the clove until in is cut or crushed. After being crushed, alliin in the cloves converts to allicin. There is much confusion concerning allicin. Again, raw garlic contains no allicin until it is crushed and then allinase converts alliin to allicin. Allicin is produced by garlic to protect itself from disease-causing organisms. Allicin is highly unstable and decomposes rapidly at room temperature. "With a half-life of little more than a few hours, most allicin in commercial garlic products is completely gone within a few weeks, even when vegetable or citrus oils are added as stabilizers." (Dr. E. Mindell) The best research shows that most garlic products contain little or no allicin because once it is formed it usually is undetectable after one day. Once this was realized, manufacturers began selling their products by promoting "allicin potential". Allicin potential is realized by adding water to the garlic product which is a process that the human body does not mimic. The ph levels in the human body deactivate allinase almost immediately.

Garlic powder incubated in water produces the maximum amount of allicin. When incubated in gastric fluid only 4 percent as much was produced. When incubated in intestinal fluid 60 percent as much was produced but gastric and intestinal fluid only produced 1 percent as much allicin as when garlic powder was incubated in water. Case Closed! Very little if any allicin is produced when you eat raw garlic or when you ingest the average garlic product.

Remember, the garlic oil steeped in ethyl alcohol produced all of the antibacterial and antifungal properties. Ok, let's cut to the chase...Dr. Mindell goes on to show how the body can't use allicin and how allicin is actually poisonous to the human body. For starters, allicin oxidizes red blood cells. It turns blood from its red color to black. In the presence of allicin, human blood transforms from hemoglobin to methemoglobin, a substance that can not carry oxygen. Need I say more about allicin? There is more on this subject but you will have to spend the five dollars for Dr. Mindell's book. Needless to say, allicin is not the principle in garlic responsible for its antibacterial and antifungal properties. So, don't waste your money on allicin based garlic products.

Whew...Dr. Mindell should have charged more that $5 for this book.

Basic Choices for Garlic Products

Garlic Clove
Garlic Powder
Garlic Oil
Aged Garlic Extract
Fresh garlic juice
Dried clove garlic
Distilling garlic extracts
Organically grown garlic
Raw garlic clove
Crushing garlic and boiling it
Aged in wine or vinegar
Cooked garlic
Steeped in ethyl alcohol
Slowly processed to stabilize
the four basic choices for garlic products and how they are produced

Raw Garlic

Why pay for a garlic product when you can just buy fresh garlic and eat it?

  • Garlic smells terribly bad! Nothing can hide the smell
  • Allicin in immediately produced when you crush the garlic in your mouth
  • Allicin is an oxidant to your blood (not an ANTIoxidant)
  • Allicin kills all cells in its path both good and bad. It can't distinguish between the two

In order to receive any of the medicinal benefits from eating raw garlic, a person would have to eat so much that the allicin levels would be highly detrimental to their health. The most prevalent side effect from a continual large intake of raw garlic is Anemia because raw garlic damages red blood cells.

Dehydrated Garlic Powder

Garlic powder is simply a dehydrated clove that has been crushed into tiny pieces.

  • Most of the allicin is lost through the process of manufacturing
  • Mainly sold by promoting allicin potential
  • Most garlic powder contain no detectable amounts of allicin
  • Allicin potential is highly unlikely to be realized inside of the human body
  • If allicin potential is reached, it is toxic to the human body

Garlic powder manufacturers are stretching the truth by miles and even if they are telling you the truth then they are giving you a product that will cause undesierable effects in your body.

Garlic Oil

By now you know where garlic oil comes from but what was not mentioned was the high intensity of the odor and toxicity of pure garlic oil. This substance is so strong that it is mandatory to dilute it with vegetable oil.

  • Garlic oil does contain beneficial health properties
  • Garlic oil products are diluted 100 times by vegetable oil to reduce odor and toxicity
  • Garlic oil capsules or tablets only contain about 1 drop of garlic oil
  • Small amounts of actual garlic yield little if any benefits to the consumer
  • Processing does not allow garlic oil to yield any of the water-soluble properties

Garlic oil is not the best way to receive any of the benefits garlic has to offer.

Kyolic Aged Garlic Extract

Aged garlic extract allows garlic to be processed in such a way that the volatile sulfur compounds get a chance to stabilize. Slow aging garlic in wine and vinegar allows the beneficial properties to be captured and delivered in a close to odorless form. When the slow aging process is done without using heat, it is called cold-aging. When you cold-age organic garlic, the end product is called Kyolic Aged Garlic Extract. The cold-aging process has proven to capture the water-soluble and the oil-soluble health properties of the garlic while shedding the known toxicities of the sulfur containing compounds. It's all there in the book; Garlic - The Miracle Nutrient by Dr. Earl Mindell. I only covered twenty five or thirty pages of the book so it is well worth the read if your interested in knowing all of the details about garlic and your health.

My Personal Opinion

I have used Kyolic garlic for many years. I always thought Kyolic was a brand name until I read Dr. Mindell's book and found out that Kyolic was more of a process. I can tell you that Kyolic absolutely works for me whenever I have a case of athlete's foot or jock itch. I used to and still play lots of sports. Because I used to eat a high sugar diet, I constantly had bacterial and fungal problems in my feet and other areas. Garlic always did the trick and got rid of my problem. The best solutions to this type of problem is to control your sugar intake but sometimes you need a little help.

In the past I was also prone to acquiring strep throat. It got to the point that I knew when my strep throat was coming days before it actually would cause any trouble with my swallowing. I can say that I effectively used Vitamin C and Kyolic garlic to stay out of the sick house many times.

It's just my opinion but I would say that Kyolic garlic is a natural, safe and mild antibiotic/antifungal solution available at a relatively low cost.

Many cultures in human history have eaten lots of raw and cooked garlic while producing masses of healthy individuals. The reason being that garlic in any form has loads of health benefits. However, I feel that it is risky to ignore the research highlighting the negative effects of raw garlic, especially when there is a proven, safe and stable method of receiving the desired health benefits of The Stinky Rose.

What is your opinion?


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    • Scott P Williams profile image

      Scott P Williams 19 months ago from Miami, Florida

      I put it in the first paragraph. (The Miracle Nutrient by Dr. Earl Mindell)

      The book was written off of several studies done years ago. Its old news. Its the basic reason aged garlic extract exist.

    • profile image

      Shaz 19 months ago

      I tried looking up about Allicin turning hemoglobin to methemoglobin and found no studies, and as Kyle said, no sources were cited.

    • profile image

      Kyle 3 years ago

      No sources were cited in the argument against this book. Take articles on nutrition with a grain of salt when they come from someone whose other work includes topics like NFL lockerrooms and lucky numbers...

    • jantamaya profile image

      Maria Janta-Cooper 3 years ago from UK

      Very well written and very informative article. I learned a lot about garlic here (I thought that I knew everything about this wonderful plant :-), and I was mistaken).


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