OK, just to set the record straight, I don’t have anything against Italians, Italian cooking, or even a hefty plate of pasta. In fact, I love everything about garlic from the aroma to the taste of roasted garlic smeared over a chunk of bread and brie. But if you’re heading into military combat or other high intense situations, or you’re on the waiting list for surgery, you may want to hold off on even the best dietary supplements that contain garlic.
I’ll explain more in just a minute, but first let’s talk about the benefits of garlic (one of the first herbs documented for use in medicinal purposes) and why people take it as a dietary supplement to begin with.
The Benefits of Garlic
Garlic as a remedy for ailments has stood the test of time. For you scientific types, its botanical name is Allium Sativum. For you history buffs, Egyptian papyrus has documented garlic as an ingredient in at least 22 medicinal potions that were meant to cure various ailments such as body weakness, headaches and throat tumors. In Roman days, Pliny the Elder praised garlic for the treatment of hemorrhoids (?) (don’t ask, unless you REALLY want to know!), epilepsy, hoarseness and tuberculosis. It was also believed to give immunity from the bubonic plague.
More recently, there have been several studies that connect garlic with lower serum cholesterol levels. And, of course, strung together to adorn your neck, you can rest easy when you’re passing through Transylvania.
How is Garlic Prepared and What’s it Used For?
How the garlic is prepared and its source in the best dietary supplements determine its strength and effectiveness. Allicin is the active ingredient in garlic. When garlic is crushed, the allicin becomes unstable and can change into different chemicals. Crushed garlic releases the most allicin (this is a good thing).
The garlic that you get as a dietary supplement is common and mostly safe. Today we find people using it mostly to prevent age-related hardening of the arteries and other conditions associated with your cardiovascular systems.
For topical treatments, garlic oil applied to the skin is believed to help with fungal conditions such as ringworm, jock itch and athlete’s foot.
As a preventative measure (although this is not confirmed through a sufficient amount of research) people may use garlic to ward off certain types of cancers like colon cancer, rectal cancer, stomach cancer, breast cancer, prostate cancer and lung cancer.
Other uses for garlic supplements include treating sinus congestions, gout, low blood sugar, high blood sugar, snake bits, and fighting stress and fatigue.
What are the Risks of Garlic in a Dietary Supplement?
OK, now that we’ve talked about the good…what about the bad? With so many health benefits and its use in creating amazing meals, what could possibly be bad about taking a garlic supplement?
On the minor end, it could cause gastrointestinal problems (aka – mild tummy trouble). For others, applying garlic as a thick paste to the skin (remember the use for hemorrhoids?), could result in a burn-like reaction.
But we are concerned with how it relates to soldiers and your duties. Garlic has an anti-coagulation effect and could prolong bleeding by retarding blood clotting, especially when combined with warfarin. As a result bleeding may be extended after surgery.
So what does that mean? If you are going into a situation where you are exposed to chance of injury and the possibility of planned or unplanned surgery, you want your blood clotting system to be functioning perfectly.
To be safe, and to get the best from dietary supplements, it’s suggested that any use of a garlic supplement be stopped 2 weeks before combat deployment or surgery.
Where can you find Dietary Supplements formulated for the Unique Needs of Military Lifestyle?
Discover how science can give you the competitive edge…just when you need it most. Are you taking “generic” Dietary Supplements? Or are you fueling your body with the best there is?
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