10

votes

Does eating lots of garlic affect the gut microflora ?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created December 26, 2011 at 10:47 AM

Garlic has an antiseptic impact. I love garlic, I eat a lot of lamb and lamb goes together well with lots of garlic. Does a high garlic consumption affect my gut flora?

7841848bd0c27c64353c583fb7971242

(7275)

on December 28, 2011
at 02:40 PM

Anecdotes and scientific research are both sources of facts, just with different purposes. Both are useful.

50e94d7b6b01e6cb87889c6541adc90c

(813)

on December 28, 2011
at 11:09 AM

Matthew, thank you very much for these closing words and the link. I'm not afraid of eating garlic. I was just wondering what it will do to my gut flora. As you have subsumed: "I think there is no certain answer to this question." That's also my impression. Thank you all for trying to find an answer.

50e94d7b6b01e6cb87889c6541adc90c

(813)

on December 28, 2011
at 10:30 AM

As a scientist I want facts!

50e94d7b6b01e6cb87889c6541adc90c

(813)

on December 28, 2011
at 10:29 AM

How does NATURAL selection and an ARTIFICIAL medicament (the antibiotic) go together?

Cf4576cbcc44fc7f2294135609bce9e5

(3125)

on December 28, 2011
at 04:51 AM

the only testing i have read about didnt address weather the inhibitory effect of garlic were bactericidal or on the other hand bacterial static. if bacterial static one could assume that it would only afford inhibition under constant replenishment. Still i almost certain that it repels vampires.

96bf58d8c6bd492dc5b8ae46203fe247

(37227)

on December 28, 2011
at 01:54 AM

Just a suggestion, but if you're only interested in hard data you should say so in your question.

Cf4576cbcc44fc7f2294135609bce9e5

(3125)

on December 27, 2011
at 10:49 PM

you may find the term natural selection offinsive but i assure you that is exactly the correct term. also i might add the reststance mechinisms of bacteriam are historic (befor history) and quite natural. i have frozen samples of pre antimicrobic microbes to share and compare. Tell me? are you one of those that belive dead bugs can mutate?

50e94d7b6b01e6cb87889c6541adc90c

(813)

on December 27, 2011
at 10:32 AM

Nance, anecdotal ... that's it. I can't find data and everyone shows up with an anecdote only.

2870a69b9c0c0a19a919e54cb3a62137

(1520)

on December 26, 2011
at 10:27 PM

The concentration/strength is just much much lower than that of real antibiotics.

50e94d7b6b01e6cb87889c6541adc90c

(813)

on December 26, 2011
at 09:31 PM

With an artificial antibiotic you knock out the microflora drastically. I would not speak of natural selection if one attacks the gut flora with chemistry.

742ff8ba4ff55e84593ede14ac1c3cab

(3536)

on December 26, 2011
at 07:04 PM

Same here. I was reeking of garlic everywhere I went when I consumed lots of it last year.

50e94d7b6b01e6cb87889c6541adc90c

(813)

on December 26, 2011
at 06:47 PM

Haha, Mallory, who doesn't? It's for sure that I don't eat garlic if I visit my physiotherapist the next day.

50e94d7b6b01e6cb87889c6541adc90c

(813)

on December 26, 2011
at 04:11 PM

But I eat garlic, not inulin. And garlic also contains substances with antibiotic power, therefore it should also work on the microorganisms in the gut.

7841848bd0c27c64353c583fb7971242

(7275)

on December 26, 2011
at 02:52 PM

Isa, the inulin feeds the gut microflora. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prebiotic_(nutrition)

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on December 26, 2011
at 02:21 PM

penicillin I mean

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on December 26, 2011
at 02:21 PM

Raw has a far greater effect- it used to be known as 'Russian penecillin'.

50e94d7b6b01e6cb87889c6541adc90c

(813)

on December 26, 2011
at 02:10 PM

... but how does it affect the gut microflora ????

50e94d7b6b01e6cb87889c6541adc90c

(813)

on December 26, 2011
at 02:09 PM

I eat cooked garlic only, most often in combination with onions and meat.

36ba71ea8bc4f736f4113433fde572bd

(347)

on December 26, 2011
at 01:44 PM

Great question. This topic I find a little frustrating. So many people will say that natural anti-biotics are OK, but man-made ones are bad for you. But I haven't seen any data to support that. I would love to see some. Are you eating the garlic raw or cooked? I assume that raw has the strongest antiseptic impact.

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6 Answers

best answer

2
0bc6cbb653cdc5e82400f6da920f11eb

(19235)

on December 28, 2011
at 12:15 AM

I think that there is no certain answer to this question.

My opinion would be that garlic, even eaten in quite large amounts will have very little effect on you gut flora. I personally thing that any antibacterial effects of garlic inside the body are greatly overstated.

The reasons for this are as follows:

Pretty much all research on the antibacterial effects of garlic uses purified extracts that are in larger amounts than found with eating garlic. This is because the amount of antibacterial chemicals in garlic is very variable and depends of how it is prepared and whether it is cooked.

Cooking is likely to reduce a lot of the activity of compounds in garlic. link

Research is largely carried out on the in vitro or topical effects of garlic extracts and not their effects inside the body.

The length of time the antibacterial chemicals in garlic survive in the gut are unknown but it is likely that they are either degraded by stomach acid and digestive enzymes or absorbed into the body.

Antibacterial effects are also dependent on concentration. The relatively small amounts of natural antibacterial compounds in garlic are greatly diluted during digestion reducing any effect.

There is some evidence that the compounds in garlic can reduce H. pylori in the stomach, which would be a beneficial effect. However this was not carried out with whole garlic and the effect of whole garlic in the body were not studied.

Protection against Helicobacter pylori and Other Bacterial Infections by Garlic

There is also this quote from the article.

Enterotoxic coli strains and other pathogenic intestinal bacteria, which are responsible for diarrhea in humans and animals, are more easily inhibited by garlic than the normal intestinal flora

Garlic does contain some fermentable carbohydrates such as inulin that provide food for the bacteria in your colon.

Overall there seems to be little evidence so far that eating whole garlic has any real effects on your gut flora past the stomach. I would not worry about it killing off your gut flora.

  • It may have some beneficial effects reducing H. pylori in your stomach.
  • It provides some food for the beneficial bacterial in your colon.
  • Your normal gut flora are likely to have more resistance to plant compounds anyway.
  • The concentration of any surviving antibacterial compounds in the gut is probably too small to have any effect.
  • Any overall effects are probably beneficial.
  • I would not worry about eating garlic.

50e94d7b6b01e6cb87889c6541adc90c

(813)

on December 28, 2011
at 11:09 AM

Matthew, thank you very much for these closing words and the link. I'm not afraid of eating garlic. I was just wondering what it will do to my gut flora. As you have subsumed: "I think there is no certain answer to this question." That's also my impression. Thank you all for trying to find an answer.

Cf4576cbcc44fc7f2294135609bce9e5

(3125)

on December 28, 2011
at 04:51 AM

the only testing i have read about didnt address weather the inhibitory effect of garlic were bactericidal or on the other hand bacterial static. if bacterial static one could assume that it would only afford inhibition under constant replenishment. Still i almost certain that it repels vampires.

4
9a5e2da94ad63ea3186dfa494e16a8d1

on December 26, 2011
at 09:30 PM

My crazy mother-in-law eats a clove of raw garlic almost every day. She says it is good for her "system". I tried it for a while. I really like the taste of garlic, but even so, getting a raw clove of garlic down is a challenge. It is so spicy that it burns the mouth and throat. I chomp it up as much as I can and then wash it down with some red wine.

For me, it totally settles my stomach, and improves digestion. It gives me mild burps and such, but overall is not unpleasant. I don't reek of garlic afterwards, though I do notice some slightly sour breath a few hours later.

Garlic is a natural anti-fungal and if you have fungus issues in your digestive system or body, garlic may help. About 12 years ago, a friend of mine's 2 year old was diagnosed with "leaky gut" and a list of food allergies as long as your arm. She did the "elimination diet" thing for years (very difficult with a 2-4 year old) and she managed to control some of the symptoms but never cure them. Then she took her kid to a naturopath who diagnosed him with fungal overgrowth in the gut and prescribed a diet heavy in garlic. For a month they ate foods heavy in garlic -- garlic and chicken, garlic and mashed potatoes, whole roasted garlic, anything they could figure out to get the now 5-6 year old to eat lots of garlic. At first there were die-off symptoms such as cramping, diarrhea, etc. but those passed and then the kid started getting a lot better. Finally all of the food allergy symptoms disappeared and the kid was able to eat pretty normally. He is now 14 and doesn't have any food issues at all.

2
Cf4576cbcc44fc7f2294135609bce9e5

on December 26, 2011
at 08:49 PM

i eat garlic daily with no bowel issues. I can say without a doubt that my intestinal flora in now comlpeltly garlic resistant by natural selection. If one takes a man made antibiotic the same will happen. So, if a man or woman consumes garlic daily it can be of no consiquence. just remember, nature will always find a way.

Cf4576cbcc44fc7f2294135609bce9e5

(3125)

on December 27, 2011
at 10:49 PM

you may find the term natural selection offinsive but i assure you that is exactly the correct term. also i might add the reststance mechinisms of bacteriam are historic (befor history) and quite natural. i have frozen samples of pre antimicrobic microbes to share and compare. Tell me? are you one of those that belive dead bugs can mutate?

50e94d7b6b01e6cb87889c6541adc90c

(813)

on December 28, 2011
at 10:29 AM

How does NATURAL selection and an ARTIFICIAL medicament (the antibiotic) go together?

50e94d7b6b01e6cb87889c6541adc90c

(813)

on December 26, 2011
at 09:31 PM

With an artificial antibiotic you knock out the microflora drastically. I would not speak of natural selection if one attacks the gut flora with chemistry.

1
96bf58d8c6bd492dc5b8ae46203fe247

(37227)

on December 26, 2011
at 05:09 PM

I found this article fascinating.

It seems to confirm both the good and the bad effects of garlic although it cites historical/anecdotal opinions rather than scientific studies.

Personally, I've not had any problems with garlic but I don't eat it much either.

50e94d7b6b01e6cb87889c6541adc90c

(813)

on December 27, 2011
at 10:32 AM

Nance, anecdotal ... that's it. I can't find data and everyone shows up with an anecdote only.

7841848bd0c27c64353c583fb7971242

(7275)

on December 28, 2011
at 02:40 PM

Anecdotes and scientific research are both sources of facts, just with different purposes. Both are useful.

50e94d7b6b01e6cb87889c6541adc90c

(813)

on December 28, 2011
at 10:30 AM

As a scientist I want facts!

96bf58d8c6bd492dc5b8ae46203fe247

(37227)

on December 28, 2011
at 01:54 AM

Just a suggestion, but if you're only interested in hard data you should say so in your question.

1
77953c433077c7a65da802327ea7c529

on December 26, 2011
at 02:04 PM

Garlic contains inulin which has prebiotic properties.

50e94d7b6b01e6cb87889c6541adc90c

(813)

on December 26, 2011
at 04:11 PM

But I eat garlic, not inulin. And garlic also contains substances with antibiotic power, therefore it should also work on the microorganisms in the gut.

7841848bd0c27c64353c583fb7971242

(7275)

on December 26, 2011
at 02:52 PM

Isa, the inulin feeds the gut microflora. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prebiotic_(nutrition)

50e94d7b6b01e6cb87889c6541adc90c

(813)

on December 26, 2011
at 02:10 PM

... but how does it affect the gut microflora ????

0
1f8384be58052b6b96f476e475abdc74

(2231)

on December 26, 2011
at 05:54 PM

i reek of garlic when i eat t much, it is disgustiing....

742ff8ba4ff55e84593ede14ac1c3cab

(3536)

on December 26, 2011
at 07:04 PM

Same here. I was reeking of garlic everywhere I went when I consumed lots of it last year.

50e94d7b6b01e6cb87889c6541adc90c

(813)

on December 26, 2011
at 06:47 PM

Haha, Mallory, who doesn't? It's for sure that I don't eat garlic if I visit my physiotherapist the next day.

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