What is Allicin and what does it have to do with Garlic Extract?
Allicin is what is referred to as an organosulfur compound (basically organic compounds that contain sulfur) and it is obtained from garlic, usually by crushing or chopping it.
Allicin is a a defense mechanism of garlic and is produced when, for example, a clove of garlic is assaulted in some way. This produces an enzyme called alliinase which converts alliin into allicin. The result is the pungent aroma that is associated with fresh garlic.
However, allicin is very unstable and quickly deteriorates into other sulfur containing compounds which aren’t quite as helpful in the context of what we’re focusing on here which are health benefits and healthy weight loss.
The dark side of this compound is that it can produce bad breath, an odor when you sweat or urinate, and heartburn.
This is why some prefer to take aged garlic extract. The odor and therefore all those little quirks outlined above are reduced and in many cases eliminated because of the process of aging garlic. The problem of course is that most (all?) aged garlic I’ve found contains precious little allicin which is the constituent that gives us the biggest bang!
Aliases of Garlic and Garlic Extract:
- Aged Garlic Extract
- Allii Sativi Bulbus
- Allium sativum
- Camphor of the Poor
- Clove Garlic
- Da Suan
- Garlic Clove
- Garlic Oil
- Nectar of the Gods
- Poor Man’s Treacle
- Rust Treacle
- Stinking Rose
What is Garlic Extract Good For? What does Allicin do?
Garlic itself has many amazing qualities, here are SOME of the things garlic has been known to be used for:
- high blood pressure
- high cholesterol
- heart disease
- hardening of the arteries
- various cancers including colon cancer, breast cancer, lung cancer and prostate cancer
- cold and flu
- high blood pressure during pregnancy
- low blood pressure
- weight loss
- even things like jock itch and athletes foot
I’m going to stop there, suffice it to say that garlic has many beneficial qualities some well known others that are anecdotal in nature.
Allicin is specifically thought to have qualities that will boost your metabolism and encourage weight loss naturally. However, due to its unstable nature it is difficult to get in sufficient quantities, and even more difficult for it to survive the harsh environment of your stomach to be absorbed by your body.
Why is Aged Garlic Extract Different?
Aged garlic extract has lower odor, and has some benefits possibly due to the presence of something called S-allylcysteine but it lacks higher concentrations of allicin, the primary productive component of garlic! Keep that mind when people start talking about aged garlic and low or no odor garlic.
Does Garlic have any Side Effects?
Nothing in life or nature is free, there are usually trade-offs and cons to every beneficial thing, add to this the vast diversity of people, their genetics and their chemistry and you are bound to run into some adversity in anything generally thought of as good.
With garlic extract in general, some people have reported:
- bad breath – well…it IS garlic after all
- body odor – sometimes what we ingest changes our smell, be cognizant but there are ways to get around even this like drinking milk with your meal/supplement (works for bad breath too)
- allergic reaction – that would suck, I personally am allergic to many things and I don’t even know someone that is allergic to garlic, but if you are one of these unlucky folks, see a doctor (symptoms often include irritable bowl, diarrhea, mouth and throat ulcerations, nausea, breathing difficulties and even anaphylaxis (anaphylactic shock))
- thin blood – usually only in higher doses so take less!
- heart burn – garlic in general can be a bit harsh on your stomach, so if you are prone to acid reflux you may need to take measures
- animal toxicity – don’t feed garlic to your animals…geesh
I’m having a bit of fun with the list above, but in all seriousness, check with your doctor before any dietary change and if you notice anything strange, consult your medical provider. That said, sometimes experimenting may show that what is causing your concern isn’t garlic at all but something else. Just make sure you when experimenting you are doing so intelligently and with the help of medical professionals.
So How do I Have My Allicin and Eat it Too?
Great question, it’s very difficult to deliver allicin past your stomach so that it can actually be absorbed. However, some products have the capability of sustained or timed release.
This doesn’t just help deliver the allicin right where you need it, but also helps to avoid some of the nastier issues with garlic supplements like heartburn, bad breath, and other odor related concerns.
Here’s one product that might be of particular interest…
The Benefits of Aged Garlic Extract but with Timed Allicin Delivery
This product has high allicin content with a “timed” release system (called smart-release) that allows the delivery of allicin to the intestines instead of it being destroyed in your stomach.
The additional benefit is that side-effects like bad breath, “garlicy” body odor and the chance of heartburn are all reduced making this a real winner without a bunch of filler and potentially hidden carbs like so many other brands contain.