Unraveling the Mystery of Garlic

Harry Hirsute

New member
Joined
Apr 12, 2006
Location
Propecia, CA
Oct. 15, 2007 -- The health benefits of garlic have been touted for centuries, but now researchers may have pinpointed at least one reason why.

A new study shows red blood cells process compounds from digested garlic and turn them into the cell messenger hydrogen sulfide (H2S), which relaxes blood vessels and increases blood flow. Therefore, eating garlic may increase our natural supply of this vital chemical and play a role in reducing the risk of heart disease.
http://www.webmd.com/food-recipes/news/20071015/why-garlic-is-good-for-you
 

Harry Hirsute

New member
Joined
Apr 12, 2006
Location
Propecia, CA
Original Poster
Researchers have widely believed that the organic compound, allicin – which gives garlic its aroma and flavour – acts as the world's most powerful antioxidant. But until now it hasn't been clear how allicin works, or how it stacks up compared to more common antioxidants such as Vitamin E and coenzyme Q10, which stop the damaging effects of radicals.

"We didn't understand how garlic could contain such an efficient antioxidant, since it didn't have a substantial amount of the types of compounds usually responsible for high antioxidant activity in plants, such as the flavanoids found in green tea or grapes," says Chemistry professor Derek Pratt, who led the study. "If allicin was indeed responsible for this activity in garlic, we wanted to find out how it worked."

The research team questioned the ability of allicin to trap damaging radicals so effectively, and considered the possibility that a decomposition product of allicin may instead be responsible. Through experiments with synthetically-produced allicin, they found that an acid produced when the compound decomposes rapidly reacts with radicals.

Their findings are published in the January 2009 issue of the international chemistry journal Angewandte Chemie.

"Basically the allicin compound has to decompose in order to generate a potent antioxidant," explains Dr. Pratt, who is Canada Research Chair in Free Radical Chemistry. "The reaction between the sulfenic acid and radicals is as fast as it can get, limited only by the time it takes for the two molecules to come into contact. No one has ever seen compounds, natural or synthetic, react this quickly as antioxidants."

The researcher is confident that a link exists between the reactivity of the sulfenic acid and the medicinal benefits of garlic. "While garlic has been used as a herbal medicine for centuries and there are many garlic supplements on the market, until now there has been no convincing explanation as to why garlic is beneficial," says Dr. Pratt. "I think we have taken the first step in uncovering a fundamental chemical mechanism which may explain garlic's medicinal benefits."
Chemists Shed Light On Health Benefits Of Garlic
 

jfh

perpetual student
Joined
Dec 3, 2007
Location
Texas, USA
I'm glad you found this Harry. I never liked it when vendors of herbs say, "we know it works. we just don't know how." That's a cop out; and places it in folklore - or placebo. Your article is better and leads to more empirical evidence.
 

Arrowwind09

Standing at the Portal
Joined
Oct 16, 2007
Did you know that over 70% of the garlic US consumes is imported from China?
 

scorpiotiger

New member
Joined
Jan 28, 2007
Location
USA
I'm glad you found this Harry. I never liked it when vendors of herbs say, "we know it works. we just don't know how." That's a cop out; and places it in folklore - or placebo. Your article is better and leads to more empirical evidence.
ditto what you said, jfh

dmso makes you smell like garlic (and taste oysters). wonder if there is any relationship?
 

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