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What Is Allicin?

Published by Dr. Venn-Watson
Highlights

Towards the end of each year, it’s natural to start recapping our accomplishments and making plans for the year ahead. From finances to personal goals, we start gaining traction for changes we’d like to make in the upcoming months. 

It goes without saying we all think about our health after the holidays. No matter your health and wellness goals, you’ve probably researched a supplement or two and considered taking it for its proposed benefits. One such supplement is garlic clove.

The reason some people supplement with garlic is because of a particular compound it contains, called alliin. Alliin, also known as S-allyl-L-cysteine sulfoxide, is converted to a compound called allicin, which can be used by the body for numerous benefits. 

Let’s talk about the benefits of using allicin, the side effects, and how one little fatty acid might be a better addition to your health stack

What Is Allicin?

Allicin is a compound that is derived from garlic, and it is a reactive sulfur species (RSS). Raw garlic cloves contain the chemical alliin. This chemical is what gives garlic its signature scent that is so powerful it can linger on your breath hours after consumption! 

How It Works

How does alliin become allicin to be used by your body? It’s a conversion process that actually happens when fresh garlic is crushed or chopped. When fresh cloves of garlic are crushed or chopped, the enzyme alliinase is activated.

This enzyme converts alliin to allicin. Allicin can then be used by the body. 

It’s important to note that allicin bioavailability isn’t just limited to fresh garlic. Allicin can be consumed in tablet form and still remains useful to the body after digestion. In fact, aged garlic extract may be a more powerful source of allicin than fresh garlic. 

Studies have shown that taking allicin in tablet form does not limit the bioavailability of the allicin compounds. It does, however, matter how you take it. Taking allicin on an empty stomach will cause your digestive system to process it faster than normal, which may make it less useful. 

Taking allicin along with proteins in a meal slows digestion, delays gastric emptying, and helps your body absorb more of the allicin in the tablets you take. 

Your body also doesn’t care if your tablet contains liquid allicin or powdered garlic. Powder-based supplements work just as well as liquid or fresh garlic.

Garlic supplements are typically available as garlic powder, garlic capsules, and garlic oil. 

Health Benefits of Garlic

Allicin has many purported benefits, which is what makes taking garlic supplements so popular. Here’s what you can expect when you take it. 

Keep in mind, the studies referenced each have their own standard for consumption: a different amount of garlic is tested in each study, and the dosing standard can range from several hundred to over one thousand milligrams. 

Blood Vessel Health

Keeping your blood vessels healthy is key to preventing cardiovascular and circulatory issues like high blood pressure and atherosclerosis. Plaque build-up in your blood vessels can lead to stroke, blood clots, and heart disease. 

A good measure of your blood vessel health is your blood pressure. Your blood pressure consists of two numbers.

  1. Systolic blood pressure. This number is the top number on your blood pressure reading and indicates how much pressure your blood is exerting on your artery walls when your heart beats. It should remain under 120.

  2. Diastolic blood pressure. This number is the bottom number on your blood pressure reading and indicates how much pressure your blood is exerting on your artery walls when your heart is resting between beats. It should remain under 80. 

People who took garlic regularly were able to maintain a healthier blood pressure by as much as 4 points lower for systolic blood pressure and 9 points lower for diastolic blood pressure. 

Participants in these studies took at least 400 mg of garlic per day for an extended period of time (15 weeks) to achieve these results. 

While many doctors would agree that the jury is still out on confirmed blood pressure benefits, some studies suggest that garlic has some potential. 

Healthy Cholesterol

Your cholesterol numbers matter. Much like blood pressure, high cholesterol numbers can indicate heart disease, an increased risk of stroke, and place you at a higher risk for a heart attack. 

Your cholesterol reading also consists of two numbers: HDL and LDL. 

  1. HDL cholesterol. HDL is often referred to as your “good” cholesterol number. Higher circulating HDL numbers may indicate a lower risk of heart disease and stroke. HDL levels of 60 or higher are what your doctor is looking for when you get your blood taken for a cholesterol test. 

  2. LDL cholesterol. LDL is referred to as your “bad” cholesterol number. A reading of 100 or lower is generally considered in the healthy range for LDL cholesterol. 

In studies, patients who took garlic for more than two months were able to support a healthy LDL cholesterol better than they could without taking garlic. 

Helps Support Gastric Health

Gastric cancer is cancer of the stomach. This type of cancer causes severe abdominal pain, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, and feelings of fullness without having eaten a meal. 

Gastric cancer can be deadly, and researchers have studied a link between increased gastric health and the consumption of garlic. Their research indicates that taking garlic can increase gastric health. The allicin content in a garlic supplement plays an important role in how cancer cell growth occurs, which may make it less likely for cancer cells to spread. 

Helps Workout Recovery

More than your usual post-workout protein shake, taking allicin can help your body recover from exercise. Because your muscles undergo tissue damage during workouts (especially weightlifting workouts) it’s important to give your body fuel to repair muscle cells post-exertion. 

Allicin helps support the healthy repair of muscle cells after a workout, especially in men, which has given it a name in the fitness community and caused it to pop up in gym bags everywhere.

Allicin has so many health benefits it might seem easy to forget about side effects. Let’s talk about those, too.  

Side Effects of Allicin

Allicin doesn’t have any remarkable side effects that make it unsafe to take. As always, your doctor should be consulted before you start any diet, exercise, or supplement. 

The most common side effect of taking a garlic supplement is gastrointestinal discomfort and a trademark garlic aftertaste. 

Much like taking an omega-3 fish oil supplement will give you fish-flavored burps, taking a garlic supplement can leave you breathing the equivalent of an everything bagel the rest of your day. While this may not bother you, it probably will bother your significant other or your cubicle buddy. 

Allicin may also increase your risk of bleeding and make it harder for your blood to clot. If you have a clotting disorder, you shouldn’t take a garlic or allicin supplement. 

How Much Do You Need?

Determining a daily dose of allicin is also a little dicey. While there’s no set amount that works or doesn’t, most studies utilize a dosage between 300-1500 milligrams per day. That’s a huge variance, and depending on your reason for taking it, it can be hard to determine how much you actually need. 

If you’re considering just eating regular, fresh garlic instead of a supplement, you should know that a single clove of fresh garlic contains just 5-18 milligrams of allicin. You’d have to consume between 16-60 cloves of garlic per day to get even 300 milligrams of allicin the old-fashioned way. 

A Better Way To Support Your Health - C15:0

If consuming 30 garlic cloves each day doesn’t appeal to you, there’s another way to support your heart health, keep cholesterol numbers in safe range, and keep your body healthy.* 

Pentadecanoic acid is an odd-chain, saturated fatty acid that a growing body of research says is the first essential fatty acid to have been discovered since the omegas over 90 years ago.  This acid, also known as C15:0, helps support your health at the cellular level.* 

To increase our health, our cells must be healthy, too. To be healthy, cells must be able to perform cellular functions and engage in cell proliferation (the creation of new cells). C15:0 helps your cells do both.* Here’s how. 

Cell Membrane Support

Our cells make up the tissues and organs that run entire systems in our bodies. If our cells aren’t healthy and protected, we aren’t healthy and protected. 

C15:0 is a sturdy fatty acid that is incorporated into our cells’ membranes to keep them fortified and strong, ensuring they aren’t taken out by external stressors that could alter the way they work.* 

Unlike omega-3 and allicin, which leaves cell walls flimsy, C15:0 helps your cells keep their structure.* 

Mitochondrial Support

Our cells are powered by mitochondria. As we get older, our mitochondrial function slows, which can lead to a decline in our organ function that ultimately results in age-related diseases. 

C15:0 helps support mitochondrial function, increasing it by up to 45%.*

Cells that get C15:0 work better and operate more efficiently, which translates to a healthier body.* 

Fatty15, No Aftertaste Required

Who wants to take a supplement that leaves you tasting garlic or fish all day? While C15:0 is only found in trace amounts in whole fat dairy products and some types of fish and plants, you can take fatty15, the first and only C15:0 supplement to give you the pure, vegan version of C15:0 (known as FA15™).

With fatty15, you won’t experience a weird aftertaste, and you won’t need to take thousands of milligrams for the same results you’d get from taking allicin. Instead, you’ll take just 100 mg per day.  

Make the decision that keeps your heart, cholesterol, and body healthy sans Emeril-style garlic infusion. Fatty15 keeps your cells healthy and lets you age on your own terms — get started with fatty15 today by clicking here.* 


Sources:

Effect of garlic on serum lipids: an updated meta-analysis|Academic OUP 

Garlic Lowers Blood Pressure in Hypertensive Individuals, Regulates Serum Cholesterol, and Stimulates Immunity: An Updated Meta-analysis and Review|Academic OUP 

Garlic: a review of potential therapeutic effects|NCBI 

Allicin Bioavailability and Bioequivalence from Garlic Supplements and Garlic Foods|NCBI 

Effects of allicin supplementation on plasma markers of exercise-induced muscle damage, IL-6 and antioxidant capacity|PubMed 

Profile photo for Eric Venn-Watson

Eric Venn-Watson M.D.

Eric is a physician, U.S. Navy veteran, and Co-founder and COO of Seraphina Therapeutics. Eric served over 25 years as a Navy and Marine Corps physician, working with the special forces community to improve their health and fitness. Seraphina Therapeutics is a health and wellness company dedicated to advancing global health through the discovery of essential fatty acids and micronutrient therapeutics.

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