Garlic has been a staple of the human diet since the dawn of civilization. Known scientifically as “allium sativum” it’s closely related to the scallion, leek and to a certain extent, the common onion. Cooks have used garlic to enliven their culinary creations since man first began to move beyond the simple kill/eat and find/eat mentality. But garlic has been also been known for almost as long for its incredible health benefits.
For that reason it may be the most studied ingredient in human history as well as being one of the oldest. From fighting inflammation and reducing your risk of heart disease, to controlling blood sugar levels and more garlic is the culinary gift that keeps on giving.
The following are the 10 best garlic supplements on the market today.
1. Nature’s Bounty Odorless Garlic
Nature’s Bounty has been around for a long time, producing high-quality supplements at reasonable prices. Their Odorless Garlic is yet another feather in their cap. The garlic they use to create their supplement is organically raised and cold processed. This allows the allicin to remain sequestered during processing. The resulting supplement is virtually odor-free.
All Nature’s Bounty supplements are also free of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) artificial colors, preservatives, fillers and flavors. Each 1000mg odorless garlic pill is also free of sugar, lactose, wheat, gluten and other common food allergens. In other words there is nothing here that will interfere with your body’s absorption of the garlic or produce any sort of contradictory effect. As sometimes happens with supplements.
2. Puritans Pride Odorless Garlic
Puritans Pride is another veteran manufacturer of dietary supplements. Their Odorless Garlic is comprised of organically grown cold pressed garlic suspended in highly pure soybean oil and nothing else. No superfluous vitamins and minerals. No flavorings or preservatives. No GMOs or other additives that might compromise effectiveness. And of course, because of the cold processing, no odor.
Each gelatin capsule contains 1000mg of pure garlic that you can use to supplement your regular diet and stave off cardiovascular problems, high blood pressure, memory loss or colds and flu. Puritain’s Pride Odorless Garlic is made in the company’s Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) facility right here in the US under FDA supervision.
3. Zhou Extra Strength Garlic With Allicin
Whereas some other garlic supplements concentrate on delivering a significant dose of raw garlic Zhou takes a slightly different approach. They focus on providing a robust 5000 microgram dose of pure allicin in each of their Extra Strength Garlic supplements. Allicin sounds like an Old School lady’s name but in this case it is the compound in garlic the gives it its distinctive odor and taste.
Allicin is also believed to provide a range of benefits related to the ability of garlic to act as a natural detoxifier. By concentrating its efforts on garlic’s abilities to cleanse your system Zhou Extra Strength Garlic helps bolster your immune system. And a good defense in the form of a strong immune system is often the best offense when it comes to preventing problems down the line.
4. Aged Black Garlic
Studies have shown aged garlic possesses all the benefits of regular garlic while in some cases actually magnifying those benefits. Aging garlic actually transforms ordinary garlic compounds into a kind of super compound known as s-allyl-cysteine (1) which is believed to have superior abilities when it comes to reducing cholesterol.
It is also thought that s-allyl-cysteine may have a role to play in the prevention of some types of cancer. Although more study is needed to verify such claims. We love the simplicity of the product here. The bottle contains nothing but 60 capsules of aged black garlic and the aforementioned s-allyl-cysteine. It’s produced in a GMP-certified facility under the watchful eye of the FDA.
5. Now Odorless Garlic
Now is another company that, over the years, has become a familiar sight on the supplement shelves of health food stores. They often show up on “best of” lists due to the reliable high-quality of their products. Their Odorless Garlic supplement features aged garlic which, we have just seen, is believed to produce enhanced cholesterol lowering and cancer prevention benefits when compared to regular (non-aged) garlic.
Now Odorless Garlic is aged for a full 18 months before being cold processed to ensure the beneficial allicin within is not released by heating. What you wind up with is a highly potent, highly pure garlic supplement that is free of food allergens while also being vegetarian-friendly, kosher and halal.
6. Pure Encapsulations GarliActive
Pure Encapsulations GarliActive is a highly processed form of garlic that is formulated to provide outstanding cardiovascular and immune system support. Each capsule contains 9000 micrograms of allicin, which is among the most potent doses in the industry.
This generous dose of allicin gets right to work ensuring cardiovascular health and robust platelet formation while also buttressing your immune system so you are better able to ward off colds, flu and other common ailments. All Pure Encapsulation supplements are hypoallergenic and formulated using a foundation of rigorous scientific research. The organic garlic in GarliActive is cold processed to preserve its medicinal properties and suspended in a vegetarian cellulose capsule.
7. Solaray Organic Garlic
Soloray earned its spot on our list of best garlic supplements by being both extremely pure and potent. There’s nothing in a Soloray Organic Garlic gel cap that is going to undermine the effectiveness of the garlic. Nothing that is going to trigger allergic reactions and nothing that was devised in a lab somewhere by tinkering with DNA. Each capsule contains 600mg of pure, organically grown garlic with no fillers or binders and no GMOs or artificial flavors.
If you’re interested in bolstering your immune system, fending off cardiovascular problems and enhancing your overall health and quality of life Soloray Organic Garlic supplements can point you in the right direction.
8. Source Naturals GarliCell
Each Source Naturals GarliCell capsule is brimming with 6000 micrograms of pure allicin. There are no flavor gimmicks or superfluous vitamin and mineral additives. Just pure, organically grown, cold processed garlic with its allicin content intact.
Allicin as we’ve seen is one of the most active organic compounds in garlic and is widely believed to be responsible for many of its amazing benefits. Such a potent dose of allicin will go a long way toward strengthening your immune system, protecting your heart from the scourge of free radicals and ensuring you always look and feel your best.
9. BRI Nutrition Odorless Garlic
You’ll forgive BRI Nutrition if they try to impress you by saying on the label that their supplement contains “enhanced allium sativum”. Allium sativum, as we saw in our introduction, is just the scientific name for garlic. Here’s it’s a bit of marketing bravura on the part of BRI
that really isn’t necessary because the quality of the supplement speaks for itself.
Each Odorless Garlic capsule contains 500mg of organically grown garlic and 100mg of parsley extract. The inclusion of the parsley creates a crude “stack” whereby the two ingredients enhance each others’ antioxidant effects. While the parsley extract provides additional anti-inflammatory benefits. BRI Nutrition supplements are made in a GMP facility under FDA supervision.
10. BioPure Organic Freeze Dried Garlic
The final entry on our list of best garlic supplements is from BioPure. While they’re not a household name like Now or Nature’s Bounty their supplements nonetheless have a growing reputation for quality and effectiveness. Here they provide you freeze dried garlic in a highly pure form that you are encouraged to mix with smoothies, protein shakes or to just sprinkle on your morning cereal.
A single serving provides 700mg of pure garlic that’s free of GMOs, artificial additives and food allergens like gluten, dairy, wheat and more. It’s a different approach to garlic supplementation and one that is likely to be appreciated by those averse to swallowing pills.
What Are the Benefits of Garlic Supplements?
Whether you’re dining in the shadow of Wat Po in Bangkok, the Spanish Stair in Rome or the Winter Palace in Saint Petersburg you can be sure the chef has plenty of garlic bulbs at the ready. Where would human cuisine be without it? At the same time garlic is known to provide an array of easily quantifiable and scientifically verified health benefits. Here are some of the most well-known:
- It bolsters the immune system – Garlic, whether in its natural form or when taken as a supplement, is actually able to prevent people from catching a cold as often (2). The exact mechanism behind this amazing ability is not fully understood. But it’s believed to be associated with garlic’s naturally high levels of selenium, magnesium, calcium and other vitamins and minerals. Allicin, a sulphurous compound that is largely responsible for the distinctive aroma of garlic, also has potent antioxidant properties believed to be the driving force behind many of garlic benefits.
- It can reduce cholesterol levels – Garlic has been put to the test and shown to have the ability to reduce harmful LDL cholesterol in high cholesterol patients by as much as 15% (3). That has all kinds of implications when it comes to preventing heart disease. Just as important, garlic has no adverse effect on HDL or “good” cholesterol levels.
- It fights oxidative stress (4) – Oxidative stress is a phenomenon caused by a fundamental imbalance between the amount of antioxidants in your system and the number of free radicals. Free radicals carry oxygen and are best known for having an uneven number of electrons. This enables them to interact easily with other molecules, often in a negative way, creating what’s called oxidative stress. This oxidative stress is believed to be at the heart of numerous diseases and conditions. The only weapon we have against the scourge of free radicals is the antioxidant. And garlic is full of them.
- It may help fend off Alzheimer’s – While the jury is still out to a certain extent a recent study has led researchers to conclude that garlic may have a role to play in fending off the development of Alzheimer’s disease. The study results indicated that by promoting the development of a healthy gut biome garlic may have a knock-on effect of improving cognitive abilities and memory in the elderly (5).
- It can lower blood pressure – A study published in 2010 indicated that aged garlic and supplements made from aged garlic can have a positive effect on lowering blood pressure (6). The overall beneficial effect of garlic supplementation may be so profound that it equals the benefits provided by current front line blood pressure medications. A pretty remarkable find.
- It can help prolong life – When taken as a whole the positive effects of garlic have the potential to prolong one’s life by shielding one from a variety of maladies. It should be noted though, that this particular benefit is almost impossible to prove. Since it’s almost impossible to say for sure why someone didn’t get sick. It might have been garlic. It might have been luck.
- A natural detoxifier – Allicin, the compound that gives garlic its distinctive odor has also shown the ability to help reduce the presence of certain toxins in the body. In one study of workers who had been regularly exposed to lead on the job and had established lead baselines in their blood, garlic supplementation reduced blood borne lead levels by as much as 19% (7). With allicin believed to be the key player in the process.
Garlic then is as good for your health as it is good for your taste buds. And that’s true whether you’re cooking with it or taking it in supplement form.
Who Can Benefit from Garlic?
While everyone can benefit in some way from garlic there are those who may have a more immediate need for garlic supplementation. Those folks would include:
- People suffering from a cold or flu – As we discussed above garlic has the proven ability to not only prevent someone from coming down with a cold or the flu, but can also minimize the amount of time a cold or flu lasts. Therefore, even if you are already sick it’s not too late to reach for the garlic supplements.
- Women in menopause – During menopause women experience a decline in the production of reproductive hormones. This has a series of cascading effects on their health including mood swings, hot flashes and more. Garlic is believed to be able to alleviate some of the most vexing symptoms of menopause including the aforementioned mood swings and night sweats as well. Garlic also plays a role in the efficient expulsion of hormonal waste.
- Those with heart disease or a history of heart disease in the family – Smoking and other high risk behavior can greatly increase your risk of a heart attack. But in many cases heart disease runs in the family (8). If you are suffering from cardiovascular problems or one of your parents has a history of cardiovascular problems it’s in your interest to make garlic or garlic supplementation part of your regular dietary routine. Garlic is known to reduce “bad” cholesterol levels and is a natural ACE-inhibitor (9).
- Older people – Evidence is beginning to accumulate that points to garlic being effective in helping older people fend off memory loss (10). A gradual loss of short term memory has long been associated with aging and remains one of the most troubling aspects of getting older. In too many cases what may seem like normal memory loss can morph into full fledged dementia. Studies suggest that regular garlic consumption can help stave off memory loss. For this reason an increasing number of doctors are recommending garlic to stay mentally sharp as you age.
- Athletes or the athletically inclined – Pre-clinical studies have shown that garlic can help improve circulation, aid in weight loss and help prevent the development of insulin resistance (11). But not only can it help athletes keep their weight down, it also helps improve muscle endurance (12). And because garlic acts as a kind of natural detox it also helps muscles recover faster after a strenuous workout while reducing soreness at the same time.
Does Garlic Have any Side Effects?
Garlic is one of the most studied natural foods in the history of mankind. What all these clinical studies have discovered is that it provides a remarkable number of benefits that should not be ignored by the health conscious individual. The icing on the cake when it comes to garlic is that it goes about its work without producing much of anything by way of side effects. What few side effects there are generally consist of:
- Garlic breath – This should be no surprise. But at the same time garlic breath can typically be dealt with via the use of simple breath mints.
- Body odor – In a very small percentage of individuals ingesting large amounts of garlic on a regular basis can cause their body odor to take on a garlicky essence.
- Flatulence – Some people develop flatulence in response to consuming even small amounts of garlic. The vast majority of individuals however never experience this.
- Upset stomach – Most people tolerate garlic well. Even if they consume it on a regular basis. A small percentage however may experience an upset stomach.
The bottom line is that there is no clinical evidence to suggest that garlic consumption – via food or supplements – generates any kind of significant short or long term side effects.
Are Supplements as Potent as Fresh Garlic?
Many people wonder if garlic supplements produce the same number of benefits as fresh garlic that’s used in cooking, or even eaten raw. There is no evidence to suggest there is any difference in the benefits you’ll enjoy. The problem (if you can call it that) with relying strictly on fresh garlic is that you can’t really tell how much you’re consuming. And that makes adjusting the amount (if necessary) more difficult.
Admittedly, though, this isn’t much of a problem. Because if you feel you’re ingesting too much garlic via the food you eat then simply use less when you cook. That said, the real advantage of supplemental garlic is one of convenience. Not everyone likes dishes heavy in garlic. And not everyone has time to cook. Garlic supplements allow you to get a fixed amount of garlic without any hassle.
Is There Such a Thing as a Garlic Stack?
Perhaps surprisingly (or maybe not considering how many other things garlic does well) garlic is actually quite stackable. Not in the bodybuilding/steroid sense. But in the sense that you can combine it with other food products to produce enhanced overall effects. For instance, there’s…
- The garlic and fish oil stack – It is commonly believed that combining garlic and fish oil will enhance the effectiveness of both. The main beneficiary of this stack will be your overall cardiovascular health.
- The garlic and green tea stack – Both garlic and green tea extract are rich in antioxidants that form the front line of your body’s defense against free radicals (13). By strengthening the number of antioxidant foot soldiers you’ll increase your chances of avoiding degenerative heart, liver or brain conditions.
The Bottom Line
Garlic is perhaps as close as nature comes to producing a true super-food. And with the body of scientific data in support of garlic growing by the day garlic supplementation is quickly becoming something of a no-brainer. Any of the garlic supplements on our list will provide the potent, pure dose of garlic you need to ensure a higher degree of overall health – and by extension a higher quality of life – going forward. Oh, and let’s not forget it tastes great too!