In the 1940’s, scientists unearthed a surprising secret about the humble garlic clove. Although garlic was often purported to ward off colds (as well as the undead, but that’s another story…), nobody could pinpoint exactly what was so special about the herb. As it turned out, the healing properties of garlic were not merely mythical – garlic actually contains three essential compounds that give the herb its incredible abilities:
Aliin, allinase and allicin.
Together, aliin and allinase form the compound allicin. In nature, this compound is produced as part of a defence mechanism – a reaction to potential pathogens and fungi. This anti-viral and anti-fungal quality of the chemical makes it very popular in a number of treatments, however once activated, allicin has a very short life span, often fading after a few hours. This is why supplements like Allicin max are so sought-after – they contain concentrated amounts of allicin whereas the allicin in your food is often diminished by the time it reaches your plate.
7 surprising benefits of allicin
1. Great for skin infections: Did we mention that allicin was an anti-fungal as well as an anti-bacterial agent? Well this is where these qualities are put to good use. If you are familiar with a fungal skin infection like ringworm or athlete’s foot – and if you are, you definitely have our sympathy – then it is obvious that allicin can play a role in reducing the unpleasant symptoms. When applied topically or taken internally, allicin can work to kill off the candida yeast responsible for the affliction, as well as protecting your skin against a secondary bacterial infection.
2. Can ward off the common cold: We can’t vouch for the validity of claims that garlic wards off vampires, but it certainly does a great job of discouraging the common cold. Allicin is a natural anti-viral that is capable of supporting the immune system, reducing your chances of catching a winter sniffle. In fact one study found that a daily garlic supplement was able to reduce the number of colds by over 60%! Although you could try to incorporate more garlic into your diet, it might be best to also consider a supplement which might provide you with a more rigorous form of allicin.
3. Bursting with antioxidants: But what makes allicin so good at warding off colds? Well, as it turns out, garlic and by extension allicin, is bursting with antioxidants, containing decent amounts of vitamin B5 and vitamin C. Vitamin C is particularly important when it comes to your immune system, being able to attack viruses and protect against nasty free radicals. The herb also boasts respectable quantities of manganese and selenium, minerals that have been known to aid metabolism and protect the body against heart disease.
4. Useful for detoxifying the body: Are you exposed to lead or other metal compounds on a daily basis? Garlic has been shown to detox the body against metal toxicity, lowering levels of lead in the blood stream by 19%. It was also proven to reduce toxicity symptoms, even outranking prescription drugs like D-penicillamine.
5. Reduces your blood pressure: High blood pressure is a pressing concern in today’s society, often leading to an increased likelihood of a heart attack. Allicin is able to naturally lower your blood pressure, making garlic supplements very popular amongst those with cardiovascular problems, with estimations that in tablet form, garlic can reduce your blood pressure by 10%! This is because a tablet is more likely to contain more allicin than a fresh clove of garlic. However, more research is still needed in this area so it may be worth consulting your doctor first.
6. Improves bone health: Allicin is not something you would immediately associate with bone health but surprisingly, the component may help to improve the density of your bones, especially if you are a menopausal woman. A study conducted by the Department of Nutrition in the Shahid Sadoughi University of Medical Sciences revealed that allicin may help to inhibit a marker of oestrogen deficiency. As you enter the menopause, your levels of the female hormone levels oestradiol will start to lower, which is a big deal as this hormone helps to maintain the structure of your bones. By inhibiting a marker of oestrogen deficiency, it’s suggested that allicin may to maintain the density of your bones.
7. Enhances athletic performance: Allicin has been linked to your athletic performance for thousands of years, with garlic traditionally being given to workers hundreds of years ago to increase their endurance. It’s believed the compound can lower your heart rate, enhancing your blood flow so all the nutrients you need are able to reach your muscles, improving your overall performance!
When it comes to allicin supplements, our top pick has to be Allicin Max’s 100% Pure Allicin Vegetable Capsules which provide a rich serving of allicin that’s completely vegan-friendly and allergen-free and, unlike other garlic supplements, Allicin Max is a direct source of allicin that’s readily absorbed without relying on your body’s internal production of the nutrient!