I’m always fascinated by the rejection of garlic for cold and flu symptoms. For the simple, stinky fact that when you’ve eaten your body weight in garlic even people with colds can smell you. You get a better cough-to-face radius, and may even send people out of the room.
So garlic is effective for that reason alone. But it also does really wonderful things to bacteria and viruses in test tubes. That lovely tangy nastiness is like a mini-flamethrower on the microscopic set. Perhaps they can smell it too and just curl up and die.
But wait, there’s more!
In a randomized, double-blind, placebo controlled trial, aged garlic takers had half the number of days lost from colds and flus. They still caught the bug, but it didn’t stay around very long and didn’t bother them very much.
So let’s stink it up, people.
Here’s the study:
Supplementation with aged garlic extract improves both NK and γδ-T cell function and reduces the severity of cold and flu symptoms: A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled nutrition intervention.
BACKGROUND & AIMS:
Earlier studies show that dietary bioactive compounds can modify proliferation of γδ-T cells. Garlic contains numerous compounds that have this potential and, in addition, has been shown to influence NK cell function. Our primary aim was to demonstrate that aged garlic extract could modify these immune cells.
A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled parallel intervention study recruited 120 healthy subjects (60 per group) to determine the effect of aged garlic extract supplementation (2.56 g/d) on immune cell proliferation and cold and flu symptoms.
After 45 d of consuming an encapsulated aged garlic extract, γδ-T cells (p = 0.039, n = 56) and NK cells (p = 0.043, n = 56) were shown to proliferate better compared to placebo. After 90 d of supplementation, illness diary entries showed that the incidence of colds and flu, a secondary outcome, were not statistically different; however, the group consuming the aged garlic extract appeared to have reduced severity as noted by a reduction in the number of symptoms reported (21% fewer, p < 0.001, z-test of proportions), a reduction in the number of days (61% fewer, p < 0.001, z-test) and incidences (58% fewer p < 0.001, z-test) where the subjects functioned sub-optimally and the number of work/school days missed due to illness (58% fewer, p = 0.035, z-test).
These results suggest that supplementation of the diet with aged garlic extract may enhance immune cell function and that this may be responsible, in part, for reduced severity of colds and flu.
Copyright © 2011 Elsevier Ltd and European Society for Clinical Nutrition and Metabolism. All rights reserved.
- PMID: 22280901
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