Can Garlic Function as Supplement?

Sarah Podlasiak

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Article Summary

DASH diets, weight management, increased physical activity and medications are prescribed by doctors to help reduce the amount of people living with hypertension. There has been recent interest in the research of nutritional supplements and their effectiveness in reducing hypertension as well, which brings up this article about garlic being a potential nutritional supplement to help reduce patient's blood pressure. Garlics help in vasodilation of blood vessels and may inhibit angiotensin II, a substance that narrows blood vessels and increases blood pressure which is why it has history of being used as a medicine. There isn't a lot of evidence to back up the idea that garlic should take over prescription meds, but due to recent research studies, the results showed that garlic has a modest effect on lowering both systolic and diastolic blood pressure in hypertension patients. When garlic was used in research studies it was typically used in the form of capsules, dried garlic powder, powder extracts and macerated oils and it has no history of adverse reactions or toxicity. In the research studies the only side effects noted were: malodorous breath, gastrointestinal symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, flatulence, or diarrhea and allergic reactions. There are drug-nutrient reactions to look for as well when thinking about taking garlic supplements such as blood thinning and blood pressure medications, contraceptive drugs, tuberculosis medications and several HIV/AIDS medications.

Article Critique

This article was found on the website foodandnutrition.org and was written by Ginger Hultin. Ginger Hultin's credentials were listed on the bottom of the article and are: MS, RD, CSO and is a health writer and owner of Champagne Nutrition specializing in integrative health, oncology nutrition and nutrigenomics. In my opinion, the fact that she is a registered dietician automatically gives her the credentials to write this article and share her medical opinion using quality facts and information as her evidence to back up her claim. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics sponsor the website with all rights reserved. I think the article was extremely well written and includes some information about clinical studies done with garlic and its effects on hypertension, however it does not give specific results on these clinical studies. The conclusions of this article are not misleading and are very direct. It explicitly says in the article that there is not a lot of evidence proving the case that garlic has positive effects on lowering blood pressure, there has just been recent studies testing the effects and they are currently gathering more information on it. Although, garlic has been used for medicinal purposes in the past, it should not replace prescription medication given to you by your doctors and the article backs up this claim. Another reason why this is a well written article is because the author gives possible interactions with drugs that could occur when people start to take garlic supplements and that could be very beneficial for people who are considering trying to use garlic as a supplement. The article also gives advice for consumers looking to buy garlic supplements by suggesting independent quality assessment seals and a third-party verification about the ingredients and quantities of the supplements.