Allicin is a compound produced when garlic is crushed or chopped. Available in dietary supplement form, it's been found to reduce inflammation and offer antioxidant benefits.
Fresh garlic contains an amino acid called alliin. When the clove is crushed or chopped, an enzyme, alliinase, is released. Alliin and alliinase interact to form allicin, which is considered the major biologically active component of garlic.
Commonly Known As
A bulb of fresh garlic yields between 3,600 to 5,400 mcg of allicin, so supplement manufacturers tend to claim allicin yield in that range.
Garlic supplements do not contain any allicin at all. They rely on your body being able to generate small quantities of allicin once you have swallowed the tablet or capsule. Garlic oil supplements are produced by distilling fresh garlic. The oil that is produced is then diluted and placed into a capsule. This process destroys most, if not all of the available allicin. A few garlic powder supplements can generate some allicin during the digestive process. This depends, however, on the prevailing stomach conditions and may take several hours. AllicinMAX® doesn't need to be converted since it actually contains stabilised allicin.
The term “allicin bioequivalence” refers to the metabolic formation of the allicin metabolite, AMS, from any S-allyl compound, without the assistance of garlic alliinase, including allyl polysulfides, alliin and possibly other S-allyl compounds, such as GSAC and SAC; the term is being used in particular for products in which garlic alliinase is inactive. Together, the terms are referred to as allicin bioavailability or bioequivalence (ABB).
According to the Phytochemicals website, garlic contains many sulfur compounds and phytochemicals, the three most important being alliin, methiin and S-allylcysteine. Together these have been shown to have therapeutic effects, including antibacterial, antifungal, hypolipidemic, antioxidant, anticancer effects and more.
Several different types of garlic supplements are now available. Levels of organosulfur compounds that these supplements provide depends on how they were produced.
Because it has a broad range of biological activities and breaks down to form other organosulfur compounds, allicin uses include:
Fighting infections, due to its antimicrobial activity
Protecting heart health, for example due to its cholesterol- and blood pressure-lowering effects
Potentially helping to protect against cancer formation
Protecting the brain from oxidative stress
Warding off insects and microorganisms
Allicin is the most abundant and characteristic sulfur-containing compound in raw garlic. It is produced from alliin. Allicin has been shown to exhibit broad-spectrum antimicrobial activity against Gram-positive and -negative bacteria, including multidrug-resistant bacteria. In addition, allicin has been shown to possess antiviral, anti-fungal and anti-parasitic activity.
Allicin supplements are sold as tablets and supplements, and are labeled either garlic or allicin. There is no standard recommended dose for allicin.
A single garlic clove has about 5 mg to 18 mg of allicin. In research, doses between 300 mg and 1,500 mg of garlic have been studied.
The very best way to obtain allicin is from eating fresh garlic that has been crushed or sliced. Fresh, uncooked garlic should be crushed, sliced, or chewed to maximize allicin production.
Heating garlic has been shown to reduce its antioxidant, antibacterial and vascular protective effects, since it changes the chemical composition of sulfur compounds. Some studies have found that during one minute in the microwave or 45 minutes in the oven, a significant amount has been lost, including almost all anticancer activity.
Microwaving garlic is not recommended. However, if cooking garlic it’s best to keep the cloves whole and to either roast, acid mince, pickle, grill or boil the garlic to help retain its nutrients.
Allowing crushed garlic to stand for 10 minutes before being cooked may help increase levels and some biological activity. However, it’s debatable how well this compound can withstand its journey through the gastrointestinal tract once eaten.
Are there any other allicin foods aside from garlic? Yes, it’s also found in onions nutrition and other species in the family Alliaceae, to a lesser extent. However, garlic is the single best source.
While it has many health-promoting characteristics, studies have not found black garlic to provide higher amounts of allicin than other types of garlic. However, eating all types of garlic is still beneficial and encouraged, since the many benefits of garlic extend beyond allicin — such as providing flavonoids, steroid saponins, organoselenium compounds and allixin.
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