Garlic Tablet Benefits and Supplement Advice

Discover what garlic supplements can do for you, and the importance of practicing safety in using them.

| September/October 2016

  • Garlic is delicious and healthy, but can cause some side effects in those who eat it. Consult a physician if you're concerned.
    Photo by iStock
  • When buying garlic, pay attention to safety concerns regarding imported bulbs.
    Photo by iStock

Safety and Side Effects

Garlic is an ancient herb and is almost always considered safe for culinary uses. If you plan to use garlic in therapeutic doses, consult with your health-care provider, particularly if you are pregnant or nursing; taking prescription medicines; have a clotting disorder, ulcers or thyroid problems; or have scheduled surgery or dental work. Potential issues include:

1. Medication interactions

Garlic can interfere with the effectiveness of a number of medications, including several drugs used to treat HIV infections.

2. Blood thinner

Because garlic can act as a blood thinner, you might want to avoid it if you’re planning surgery, dental work or have a clotting disorder. It can increase the risk of bleeding when taking blood-thinning medications, as well as common over-the-counter or prescription pain relievers such as aspirin or NSAIDs. Consult your physician.

3. Tummy trouble

Some people experience an upset stomach, heartburn or bloating, particularly when consuming raw garlic, which also can irritate the skin when handling. Naturopathic physician Sheila Kingsbury recommends cinnamon as a means to counteract garlic-induced stomachaches. Try sipping cinnamon tea before or just after a garlic-heavy meal.

Supplements & Buying Tips

When it comes to medicinal foods, our first recommendation is always to enjoy them as part of your diet. Some experts believe our bodies make best use of medicinal foods when they are consumed in their natural state, and incorporating healthful ingredients into our diets helps ensure our meals are packed with a range of nutrients. However, if you dislike eating raw garlic or are taking medicinal doses difficult to obtain from food, consider these supplement-buying tips.

• Aged garlic extract is made from extracts of fresh garlic that are aged over a prolonged period, and studies have shown it maintains the medicinal properties of whole garlic.

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