Garlic is such a perfect antimicrobial food. It should be on the very top of your list. Garlic protects you from, and fights against, colds, flues and various infectious diseases caused by viruses, fungus, bacteria, and protozoa .
In fact, its secondary metabolites have shown excellent health-promoting and disease preventing effects on many of our complex chronic diseases, such as cancer, cardiovascular and metabolic disorders, blood pressure, and diabetes, through its antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and lipid lowering properties, as demonstrated in plethora of in vitro, in vivo, and clinical studies (Ansary, J., 2020).
Garlic is a powerful medicinal food. The Allium family is one of the most successful genera is the plant kingdom with 700 different species in the family. One of the major reasons for their success as a genus is that they have developed a very effective means of protecting themselves from pests such as bacteria, protozoa, fungus, molds and larger critters like insects and foraging animals. Exactly what you need to protect yourself against infections. Instead of thorns, they use secondary metabolites for protection. What are these incredibly effective secondary metabolites?
“Secondary metabolites are specialized substances considered to be dispensable, although their influence on the environment of the plant can be profound, allowing the plant to survive and thrive” (Block, 2010). When the Allium genera (garlic, onions, leeks, etc.) are damaged or attacked by a pest, they produce a group of compounds (secondary metabolites) called thiosulphanates, which have very strong antimicrobial properties.
The predominate thiosulphanate in fresh crushed garlic is allicin—containing about 70% to 80%. The other thiosulphanates also have antimicrobial properties but we tend to focus on allicin because it is abundant and most importantly the best potent antimicrobial as measure by MICs (minimum inhibitory concentration).
But there is some confusion about which of the thiosuphanates is the most potent. In the following calculations I hope to dispel some of that confusion.
There are some in the marketplace that promote ajoene as the most active of the three heavily researched allicin metabolites. What they are in fact saying is that when crushed garlic reacts with oil, the bi-product of the reaction is the production of three metabolites—ajoene, dithiins and allyl sulfides; and of these three metabolites, ajoene, is the most potent. They are not saying, and can’t say, that ajoene is more potent than allicin because it is not. Crushed garlic without the oil does not have ajoene or dithiins present because the allicin would need oil to react with to produce these compounds. If you let crushed garlic sit, the allicin gradually transforms into allyl sulfides, but not to ajoene or dithiins.
Allicin is 2-5 times more powerful antimicrobial than ajoene. If we look at the MIC (minimum inhibitory concentration) for each, it becomes apparent. The MIC is the lowest concertation of an antimicrobial that will inhibit the visible growth of a microorganism. An MIC is generally regarded as the most basic laboratory measurement of the activity of an antimicrobial agent against an organism. The lower the MIC the more powerful the antimicrobial.
The MIC for allicin with Staph aureus is 27, and the MIC for ajoene is 55. Allicin is twice as potent. The MIC for allicin with E. coli is also 27, and the MIC for ajoene is 150. Allicin is five times more potent. We normally don’t consider a substance as a serious antimicrobial with an MIC of 50 and above. The reason that garlic does not kill Lactobacillus and Bifido genera is that its MIC is over 200. The genius of Nature!
MICs For Allicin
Bacteria (gram negative)—Helicobacter pylori 6-30, Klebsiella pneumoniae 8, Pophyromonas gingivalis 1.7, Pseudomonas aeruginosa 15, P. nigrescens 0.4.
Bacteria (gram postive)—E. faecalis 28, Proteus mirablis 15, Staph aureus 12-28, pyogenes 3.
Fungi—Aspergillus niger 32, Candida albicans 0.3, C. glabrata 0.3, C. krusei 0.3.
Parasitic protozoa—Entamoeba histolytica 30, Giardia lamblia 30, Leishmanial strains 5-30.
One to two capsules of garlic a day to generate a good microbial balance in your body.
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