Garlic supplements in general are very popular with no sign of slowing down.
Like many herbs, Garlic has the diversified capability of being not only a potent and very therapeutic herbal medicine aid, but it’s also extensively used in cooking and by culinary enthusiasts — particularly Italian and Asian cooking.
Garlic has been used for thousands of years both as a medicine and as a culinary agent.
The philosophical father of medicine Hippocrates recommended it for almost every ailment imaginable.
It was used so extensively in the Soviet Union and came to be called, “The Russian Penicillin.” It was even prescribed in World War I as an antiseptic and vulnerary agent. What is Garlic?
Garlic is a strong tasting, pleasantly aromatic yet pungent in smell. It is actually an herb.
Its nickname is “the stinking rose.” It’s a bulbous plant of the genus allium family including shallots, onions, and even leeks.
Benefits of Garlic Tablets
Garlic has numerous benefits. It has been used in treating or preventing tumors, cancer, swollen glands, eczema, rheumatism, lowers cholesterol, heartburn, sore heart, heart palpitation, hypertension, typhus, cholera, earache, high blood pressure, athletes foot, antioxidant properties, asthma, flatulence, kidney disease, poisonous bits and stings, even in treatment of leprosy.
Now you can see why Hippocrates prescribed it for everything. This list is by no means exhaustive. It is my opinion that garlic supplement pills have probably grown in popularity due to the strong odor of garlic.
Plus, when eaten either alone or as a flavoring agent in cooking, it can leave a strong smell to the breath for hours afterward.
Garlic supplements and garlic tablets are the natural extension of modern-day man seeking to gain the benefit of something while minimizing its negative aspects. It’s understandable and not without merit, but do they provide the same efficacy to the system as raw garlic?
The benefits of garlic supplements, garlic pills, and combo garlic tablets with other herbs are believed to provide all the benefits of garlic without the offensive odor, but do they?
Naturalists say anything man creates culinarly is inherently flawed as it’s distorting something natural the way it was meant to be consumed.
Those on the opposite side say garlic supplements are a logical, scientific conclusion that retains both the therapeutic benefits of garlic without the negative odor. Who is right? Quite frankly, there is ample evidence for both sides to make a credible case.
I do believe in the therapeutic value of garlic. In my opinion, it is one of the greatest herbs on the planet. Let’s now discuss the pros and cons of garlic tablets or pills.
Pros & Cons of Garlic Supplement Tablets
The therapeutic benefits of garlic are found in the compound allicin and it is the allicin that gives garlic its distinctive odor. Purists say, if you can’t smell it, it’s lost its value. The contrary point says it’s irrelevant.
The heating that goes into most garlic pill making, some say destroys the vital allicin and other enzymes found in garlic (and in other foods or herbs as well for that matter). The best way to get the benefits of garlic are by eating it raw. This preserves the vital allicin and heat sensitive enzymes.
While this is true, there’s a downside — the strong odor and the stomach pain it causes. Just eating one bulb on an empty stomach can actually be quite uncomfortable.
The taking of garlic capsules or tablets does away with not only the odor, but the significant stomach upset of taking it raw. Quite frankly, due to these two factors, I can see why garlic tablets and garlic supplements in general have grown in popularity.
If taking garlic raw was the only option, the stomach pain and the odor are enough to thwart its use for even the most enthusiastic. Now, we come to the point and will answer our question: Can one glean the considerable benefits of garlic by taking garlic pills?
Yes, but there’s a catch. Most garlic supplements don’t have enteric coating.
What is enteric coating? It is an inert substance that is put over the excipients and ingredients of the pill to protect it from the dangerous environemnt of the stomach. “Dangerous environment?”
Yes in terms of assimilation. Gastric juices are quite potent and actually destroy most nutrients in a supplement. In fact, experts say only 20% maximum of a supplement are usually assimilated.
Enteric coating preserves the ingredients of nutraceutical supplements allowing them to pass through the upper intestine where they breakdown and are assimilated into the bloodstream.
The enteric coating, in turn, is passed out of the intestinal tract in time, doing no harm to the system as again it’s inert. The problem is though that most garlic supplements or garlic pills simply don’t have enteric coating as it’s very expensive to do so. To give you an idea of its cost, most pharmaceutical drugs are enterically coated.
My recommendation is this: Garlic is obviously a magnificent healthy, diverse, and therapeutic herb. Its value is unimpeachable. I recommend taking garlic tablets only if they are enterically encoated in the encapsulation process.
If there are not enterically coated, you are wasting money for they simply are not assimilated by the body — all the therapeutic effects are simply lost. Also, look for garlic supplements that are not heat treated in the encapsulation (pill making) process.
Once I learned of the preeminence of enteric coating, I stopped taking garlic supplement tablets and now just take our garlic in very, very small pieces raw.
Instead of taking garlic tablets, I take a vitamin supplement that is not heat treated in the encapsulation process and is enterically coated.
Yours in health,